Controversial Emergency Act passes third reading

Riigikogu main chamber.
Riigikogu main chamber. Source: Erik Peinar / riigikogu

The controversial Emergency Act, which will regulate emergency management after the government's current emergency situation (eriolukord) expires on Sunday night, has passed its third and final Riigikogu reading by 47 votes to 42 against.

The act enables an authority managing an emergency resolution to issue a state agency, local authority or other public body with an order, taking into account the competence and authority of said agencies and bodies. 

These orders involve issuing an administrative act, or carrying out the provisions of an act, or terminating, prohibiting or suspending its performance in part or in whole, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.

Further amendments to the Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control Act provide the Health Board (Terviseamet), the main public authority tasked with dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, with legal clarity and the certainty to cope with potential future emerging situations after the current emergency situation ends. 

This should prevent the spread of infectious disease, by granting the Health Board the right to implement various requirements and measures for the control of the virus in accordance with its own competencies and powers.

In addition, two new EU regulations covering medical devices are to be gradually phased in to replace domestic law, with the aim of providing a more secure, transparent, predictable and sustainable regulatory framework for such devices.

 This should ensure better equipment safety and a higher level of health and support innovation. In connection with the application of the regulations, the Medical Devices Act ,and other related laws, need to be amended, ERR reports.

The Reform Party attempted to make two amends to the acts, one of which passed and the other voted down. Reform said the two amends only made sense in tandem.

The law must now be promulgated by President Kersti Kaljualid, who has the right to return the law to the Riigikogu unsigned. The last time she did this came as recently as the end of April, when the president opted to not promulgate amendments to the Rescue Act and Weapons Act, citing inconsistencies with the Estonian constitution.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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