IRL Faction Leader Reflects on Parliament's Spring Session ({{commentsTotal}})

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The head of IRL's faction in Parliament, in looking back at the session that ended last week, said that passing the new Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act was the most important achievement.

"Under the amendments to the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act adopted, schools have been given more decision-making power in organizing their work," Kaia Iva told uudised.err.ee.

Other key amendments enacted by legislators in the spring session, according to Iva, were a change to the Aliens Act that made it easier to bring specialists and researchers to Estonia, and a streamlining of misdemeanor procedure.

"I also consider it important that key issues on changes in party financing and the electoral act are now in process," said Iva.

In terms of legislation passed earlier and now entering into force, said Iva, the year saw the exemption on property tax on the land under people's primary homes kick in, a parental benefit that is like a 13th month of pension, a rise in child allowances and free higher education.

A negative was initiatives labeled by critics as the "Berlusconi bill," she said, referring to a package of amendments seen as tailor made to protect the Center Party from government investigation and from prosecution.

Along with many changes such as better specifying the limits of searches and seizures, that draft law proposes changes to the Code of Criminal Procedure, such as scrapping the right of prosecutors to appeal acquittal (as was done in the recent land swap case) and restricting use of wiretaps in the case of  "soft crime" such as corruption.

"In this case, we couldn't convince our partners that the bill introduced by the Center Party should be excluded from proceedings immediately, even though when it comes to fundamental personal liberties, the draft law contains changes that will hinder justice."



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