Laws Returned to the Saeima for Repeat Consideration
Law “Amendments to the Micro-enterprise Tax Law”
President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis returned the Law “Amendments to the Micro-enterprise Tax Law” adopted on November 23 to the Saeima for reconsideration on 2 December 2016, which provided termination of the micro-enterprise tax regime. The President of Latvia believed that the proposed regulation was deficient and opposite of previously made decisions, on which entrepreneurs and the public relied.
Raimonds Vējonis indicated that decision of the Cabinet of Ministers taken on 22 September 2015 was not implemented to develop a regulation substituting micro-enterprise tax that would determine introduction of a specialised and simplified tax regime for small and micro-enterprises with a low annual turnover by providing for a simplified accounting, reporting, and payment of taxes.
“Failure to meet previously made decisions undermines the trust of the population in state power as a whole, as well as it reduces security and stability of the business environment,” wrote the President of Latvia in his letter to Madam Speaker of the Saeima Ināra Mūrniece.
Law “Amendments to the Maritime Code”
The President of Latvia returned the Law “Amendments to the Maritime Code” adopted at the parliamentary session on 2 June 2016 to the Saeima for reconsideration on 11 June 2016, because the weaknesses found in that Law questioned its quality and clarity and opportunities to apply the Law.
Having read the text of the Law, one concluded that the Law contained a new type of recreational watercraft, sports sailing yachts, but the Law did not provide any particular feature that would characterise sports sailing yachts and would allow distinguishing them from other watercrafts. At the same time, the Law stipulated a special certification procedure for sports sailing yachts providing for an exception to the current ship registration policy and powers of an individual to perform it, id est, a sailing sports federation recognised in the Republic of Latvia.
However, the Law prevented the previously mentioned sports federation from fulfilling the regulatory provisions of the administrative procedures, because the Law did not contain any provision that would regulate the certification process. The Law also did not include any provision, which one could see as a legal basis for recognising a sailing yacht be a sports sailing yacht by establishing the basis to participate in water transport traffic under different rules than other participants of water transport traffic.
In his letter to the Saeima, the President of Latvia emphasised that he supported initiatives revoking unjustified administrative burden and capable of facilitating the development of sailing in Latvia. However, while reviewing the amendments to the Maritime Code adopted at the parliamentary session on 2 June 2016, one concluded that the shortcomings of the Law prevented any possibility to apply the Law efficiently according to its purpose. Having returned the Law to the Saeima for reconsideration, the President of Latvia urged the Saeima to improve particular Law.
Law “Amendments to the Immigration Law”
“Amendments to the Immigration Law revealed weaknesses in the legislative process, when unthoroughly drafted proposals creating controversies both in the text of the Law and jeopardising law enforcement according to its purpose are hastily proposed in the third reading and supported by the Saeima (Latvian Parliament),” stated President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis, when he decided to return “Amendments to the Immigration Law” to the Saeima for reconsideration on 29 April 2016. Having read the text of the Law and the materials for drafting the same, the President of Latvia stated that the shortcomings present in the Law were so essential that they should be eliminated before the promulgation of that Law.
While returning the amendments to the Immigration Law for reconsideration, the President of Latvia pointed to at least seven provisions of the Law that should be improved to ensure accurate application of the Law. For example, the Law did not set the base state budget program, where to payments of 5,000 EUR of the foreigners should be made for applying for repeated temporary residence permit, and the right of the Cabinet of Ministers to suspend the issue of repeated temporary residence permits in the interests of public safety or economic development of the country was not set forth.
The President of Latvia did not challenge the parliamentary right to impose additional requirements for applications for repeated temporary residence permits, but he indicated to the necessity to ensure a clear and precise transition to the statutory regulation. “The proposal supported in the third reading on new requirements for applying for repeated temporary residence permit caused a series of contradictions in the text of the adopted amendments to the Immigration Law. Those contradictions must be eliminated to ensure successful application of the Law,” concluded the President of Latvia.
Law “Amendments to the Electronic Mass Media Law”
Concluding that the Law “Amendments to the Electronic Mass Media Law” was adopted in breach of good legislation practice and deciding on a quick solution regarding the issue of high significance for statehood and the public of Latvia, President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis returned the Law to the Saeima for reconsideration on 7 November 2015. The Law “Amendments to the Electronic Mass Media Law adopted by the Saeima envisaged changes in the requirements for transition to radio broadcasting of the electronic mass media in one language only, that is, the state language or a foreign language.
Having read many petitions not to promulgate the Law adopted by the Saeima, the materials for drafting the Law, and the opinions voiced during the meeting devoted to a reconsideration of the Law, the President of Latvia concluded that the Saeima did not assess the impact of the decision appropriately. The statutory provisions are currently undergoing amending were only adopted on 23 October 2014 with clearly defined objectives to strengthen the constitutional status of the Latvian language and its role in the cultural environment. Justification why such urgent changes were needed in the matter of primary importance for the public and what changed in only a little more than a year after the regulation was adopted, was not found during the meeting devoted to a reconsideration of the Law either.
“The legislative process, in particular on the issues of great importance for the statehood and the public of Latvia may not be hasty and non-transparent,” stressed the President of Latvia. Therefore, R.Vējonis proposed the Saeima to exclude the controversial amendments. If the Saeima still considered that such changes were necessary, the President of Latvia urged them to railroad them as a separate bill for consideration by good legislative practice. “Under Latvian geopolitical situation, the impact of extraneous information space on Latvia should be diminished. It requires a determined and clear national policy on the use of the state language and foreign languages in electronic mass media. The Saeima has a broad discretion for finding the solutions matching the interests of the state and the public interest,” indicated the President of Latvia.