Key tasks for Seimas’ spring session

Seimas main hall
DELFI / Domantas Pipas

Child’s Rights. The parliament intends to adopt a new language of the Framework Law on the Protection of Children’s Rights. Submitted by the Social Security and Labor Ministry during an extraordinary session in February after lethal beating of a four-year-old boy, the bill envisages centralized children’s rights protection system and a general model of response to suspected violence against children. The parliament should also continue the discussions into President Dalia Grybauskaite’s proposals on restructuring of the foster system and mandatory presence of psychologists in questioning of minors.

Labour Code. By July, the parliament will have to decide on enforcement of the new more flexible Labour Code. Disputed articles of the code are currently being coordinated by the Tripartite Council. Ramūnas Karbauskis, the leader of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, says the document would not reach the Seimas, until all aspects have been settled. “The parliament of this term has taken the responsibility of hearing the weakest chain, the employee, this is why the date of enforcement of the Labour Code was moved. After remarks from the Tripartite Council, the Labor Code should go back to the parliament, and the laws should be adopted during this term,” Rima Baškienė, the first parliamentary vice-speaker in charge of agenda, told BNS.

Alcohol Control. LFGU, which has listed reduction of alcohol consumption levels as one of its priorities after winning the October parliamentary elections, has pledged to propose amendments on alcohol sales in specialized stores only, raising the alcohol buying age to 20 years and bans on alcohol advertisement. In Baškienė’s words, the bills should be proposed and discussed during the spring session, however, the adoption will not be rushed. “I cannot say today what the final decision will be. The task for this session is not just the pace of adopting laws but also the quality of the laws,” said the vice-speaker.

Restructuring of Forestry Companies and the Center of Registers. The spring session should mark the start of the restructuring of state-run companies, however, the adoption of relevant laws may move to the next session, says Baškienė. The government has proposed replacement of the current 42 forestry companies with a single state-run company, while Grybauskatiė is proposing an amendment to allow free access for institutions to state registers. Lithuania’s president has dubbed the railway company, forestry companies and the register as symbols of struggle against nomenclature-style management and corruption.

Trials in Absentia. The president has submitted amendments to allow Lithuania’s law-enforcement to bring charges against financial offenders who have fled the country – the changes would allow hearing trials of former bankers Raimundas Baranauskas, Vladimir Antonov and Vladimir Romanov who are suspected of squandering.

Personalities. The Seimas will open its spring session with appointment of three new judges of the Constitutional Court: the candidates include Supreme Court judges Gintaras Goda and Janina Stripeikienė and the Vilnius University’s law professor Daiva Petrylaitė. The parliament will also have to form a new Central Electoral Commission, appoint its leader and decide on resignation of Romas Valentukevičius from the leading post at the Chief Official Ethics Commission.

Other issues on the agenda of the spring session include the proposal to start elementary education at the age of 6, different bills on the spelling of first and last names in official documents in non-Lithuanian characters, the Election Code that would include all laws in connection to elections, the Constitutional amendment to reduce the number of parliamentarians to 101 and movement of general elections to spring.

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