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Bill Introduced to Allow Citizens to Send Petitions to Parliamentary Committees

One of the citizen's parliament ideas made it on to the floor of Parliament this week in the form of a bill. If the measure is passed, in the future Parliamentary committees would be required to discuss petitions signed by at least 1,000 people.

Members of the Constitutional Committee said they were not concerned about a possible flood of petitions, saying that they felt it was a needed extra means of engagement besides the current option of sending a memorandum to Parliament.

"People certainly do need this [new] option. I think that Estonia is a sufficiently open society and open political system that reasonable proposals make it to Parliament in some form. Why not have a separate mechanism for directing a signed petition to the relevant committee," MP Andres Herkel (IRL) told ETV.

Most of the discussions to this point have revolved around the choice of the threshold. As Rait Maruste, the committee chairman put it, "if we raise the number too high we will kill the initiative with bureaucratic roadblocks."

In April, the citizen's parliament (aka People's Assembly) submitted 15 ideas to Parliament.

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