January 31, 2013. 16th Session of the Duma of the 5th convocation
The session was broadcast online. The agenda of the session and the bills submitted for consideration by the deputies were published on the Duma website beforehand.
Oksana Kozlovskaya, Duma Speaker opened the session with her traditional address to the deputies (Summary of the Speaker’s speech).
Two deputies made their statements. Aleksey Fedorov expressed his concern over factory shutdowns in Tomsk. He told about an open letter by the workers of the Tomsk Measuring Equipment Factory where they expressed their disapproval of a recent statement by Deputy Governor of Tomsk Oblast Leonid Reznikov on the closure of the facility. Aleksey Fedorov called on his colleagues to recognize an adverse trend showing in the closure of industrial facilities, which deprives people of jobs.
Sergey Guba raised a concern about providing housing for orphans. He said, he had been informed that the city government had approved building an apartment block for orphans on a land plot vacated after a fire in a wooden house. He reminded the deputies about the situation which happened in autumn when orphans received flats in a house which did not meet safety requirements. Sergey Guba worried lest the situation reoccurred.
NEW DEPUTY OF OBLAST DUMA
The deputies of the Legislative Duma of Tomsk Oblast accredited a new deputy Vasily Muzaliov. In December, 2012 Vladimir Ponomarenko, United Russia, early vacated his seat. The United Russia party’s regional political council decided to pass the vacant seat to a candidate from the same candidate list – Vasily Muzaliov. The Election Commission of Tomsk Oblast passed a resolution to approve that decision and introduced the new deputy to the Duma.
CHANGES TO CHARTER
The deputies considered in the first reading a bill on making changes to the Charter of Tomsk Oblast. The bill implies amending 38 articles of the Basic Law of Tomsk Oblast and declaring one article to be no longer in force.
One of the proposed changes grants a group of deputies, at least one third of the established number, a right to introduce for the Duma’s consideration a grounded proposal to impeach the Governor of Tomsk Oblast, his First Deputy and the Deputy Governors of Tomsk Oblast whose appointment took place with the participation of the Legislative Duma of Tomsk Oblast. The current version of the article allows impeaching leaders of any division or agency of the Oblast Administration. This change is required to bring the article in compliance with the federal legislation.
The deputies unanimously voted to pass the bill in the first reading.
ACCESSIBLE GOVERNMENT SERVICES
Citizens of Tomsk Oblast staying in another region of Russia will be able to obtain information which is kept in the region of their residence and registration. The deputies modified in two readings the Oblast law On specific organizational issues related to provision of regional and municipal government services in Tomsk Oblast.
REDUCED SCOPE OF AUTHORITY
The deputies passed in two readings amendments to the Oblast law On agreements of Tomsk Oblast and Tomsk Oblast government bodies regarding foreign relations and foreign economic ties and participation of Tomsk Oblast and Tomsk Oblast government bodies in international information exchange agreements.
In accordance with the Budget Code of the Russian Federation adoption of Oblast target programs for the development of foreign relations and foreign economic ties of Tomsk Oblast was excluded from the scope of authority of the Legislative Duma of Tomsk Oblast. Also, the link to a bad law On the system of executive bodies of Tomsk Oblast and the structure of the Tomsk Oblast Administration was removed from the document.
NOTION OF ‘PUBLIC EVENT’ DEFINED
The deputies passed amendments to the Oblast law On public events in Tomsk Oblast in the first reading. The bill was developed as a follow up to the Tomsk Oblast Prosecutor’s protest.
The new version of the document clearly defines a public event and the size of the audience which makes an event public. A public event is an open-air sporting, entertainment, cultural, promotional, etc. event conducted for entertainment purposes. An event shall be deemed public if the size of the audience is or exceeds 150 people; the same audience size is stipulated by the Oblast law on processions and rallies. The new version of the document no longer allows local governing bodies to reject receipt of notice of a public event. At the same time, the local governing body has a right to propose a different venue and/or time for the public event. The organizer of a public event will no longer have to notify the local internal affairs office. Instead, that becomes a responsibility of the local governing bodies.
The amendments also bring the law in consistency with Resolution of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation of May 2012 No. 30-P and specify that the law does not apply to religious events such as religious services, ceremonies, etc.
SPECIAL PROTECTION AREAS
The deputies considered amendments to the law of Tomsk Oblast On special protection areas.
The bill was developed to close a gap in current legislation by defining grounds to establish and change boundaries of special protection areas (SPA) in Tomsk Oblast.
In accordance with the federal law On special protection areas regional government bodies shall establish borders and define the level of protection of natural monuments located in the region. It is expected that regional SPA boundaries will be modified in the following cases:
– Inclusion of another SPA or an area meeting the SPA requirements in a regional SPA
– Exclusion of a portion of territory from a regional SPA due to the fact that natural areas and objects of nature located in that SPA lost their special protection status or scientific, cultural, aesthetic and recreational importance.
The deputies passed the amendments in the first reading.
TO SCIENCE'S ADVANTAGE
The Duma considered changes to the law of Tomsk Oblast On environmental protection. Article 40 of the federal law On wildlife stipulates that rules for utilization of nongame wildlife in a particular region shall be established by the government bodies of the region.
The head of the Oblast Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection explained that the Department often receives requests from scientists for permits for capturing certain animals and birds for scientific purposes. But the Oblast Administration does not have a legal right to issue such permits. The amendments will help fix the situation. Spring is approaching and scientists will soon go on scientific expeditions. They will need permits again.
The deputies unanimously voted to pass the bill in two readings at once.
HOUSING FOR ORPHANS
Last year the deputies introduced amendments to six regional laws on housing for orphans at once. This year special dwelling stock will be created in the Oblast. It will provide flats or houses for graduates of orphan houses under five-year lease contracts. Also, the list of eligible individuals was extended. Standard social dwelling space was increased from 17 to 33 sq. m.
The cost to eliminate problems with housing support for orphans in Tomsk Oblast for the next three years is 1.1 billion rubles. An ideal solution for the city would be soliciting the required funds from the regional budget. Duma Speaker Oksana Kozlovskaya drew the deputy Mayor’s attention to the fact that the city must identify its priorities first and if Tomsk government is ready to push to the sidelines other vital problems of the city, than such a solution may be brought to the table.
The deputies took that information into consideration and emphasized that this issue has always been in the focus of their attention and their will keep following up on it.
Several Duma Committees presented their reports at the session:
BUDGETARY AND FINANCIAL COMMITTEE
ECONOMIC POLICY COMMITTEE
LABOR AND SOCIAL POLICY COMMITTEE
EDUCATION, SCIENCE, AND CULTURE COMMITTEE
LAW-MAKING ACTION PLAN
“The law-making action plan that we are adopting today is not just 70 items submitted by the deputies, Duma committees and the Governor. These items are socioeconomic development priorities of Tomsk Oblast in the legislative dimension for years ahead,” said Duma Speaker Oksana Kozlovskaya in her opening speech.
Duma performs its law-making activities in accordance with an annual plan. The draft law-making action plan was developed based on proposals submitted by holders of the right to introduce legislative initiatives in the Duma. The plan describes priority areas for the calendar year.
In the field of nation-building and local government priority areas are laws on administrative offences, laws on elections and referendums, anti-corruption laws, and laws on regional and municipal government services.
Legislative priorities in the field of fiscal and tax policy in 2013 include funding assumed expenditure commitments, improving tax regulation mechanisms for a more favorable investment climate, and improving interbudgetary relations to stimulate municipal entities to find ways to increase their own revenues.
In the field of economic policy priorities include creating conditions to meet the people’s need for improved living conditions, ensuring sustainable and efficient usage of natural resources, creating conditions for the development of the road, transport, and public utilities infrastructures, and facilitating the development of the region’s agricultural sector.
Law-making priorities in the field of social policy are laws concerning education, healthcare, science and culture, implementation of mechanisms of targeted social support, creation of conditions to attract young professionals to work in the social institutions of Tomsk Oblast.
The approved law-making action plan does not prevent the deputies from developing and considering bills that were not initially included in the plan.