Secretary of State finds no fault with crisis situation bill

State Secretary Taimar Peterkop.
State Secretary Taimar Peterkop. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The State Chancellery (Riigikantselei) has found nothing defective in an act aimed at amending the law as it relates to the coronavirus crisis situation, which was voted on at the Riigikogu on Monday evening. The opposition Reform Party had said the draft was defective as it is presently.

Secretary of State Taimar Peterkop analyzed the text of the bill amending the Emergency Act and the Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control Act, as it appeared in its second reading at the Riigikogu on Monday.

As reported on ERR News the Riigikogu adopted only one of the two amendments proposed by the Reform Party, which only work in conjunction with each other.  Reform said this meant either a defective act would have to go through, or the law should be ripped up and started on again.

However, Peterkop says that the text does not exhibit deficiencies, though it may not be in accordance with the will of the legislature (i.e. the Riigikogu).

"The amendment decided by the Riigikogu yesterday does not contain any contradictions or impede the implementation of the law. The Health Board will be given some powers, and we can come out of the emergency smoothly so the state can respond quickly and effectively, " Peterkop told ERR.

The law is passing through parliament just days ahead of the end of the emergency situation (eriolukord) which has been in place since March 12 in response to the coronavirus crisis.

The emergency situation will be replaced by the less severe, constitutionally-defined crisis situation (hädaolukord), in which the coalition's powers will be reduced.

Critics, including those from the Reform Party, said that the bill which Peterkop examined Tuesday was smuggled through in the atmosphere of the emergency situation and will grant excessive powers to the Health Board (Terviseamet) in particular, and enable it to interfere in the private sector, citing public health concerns.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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