The session started with consideration of the agenda issues including the draft resolution on authority substitution of the MP with terminated authority, Shota Shalelishvili with that of Levan Mgaloblishvili.
According to the Chair of the Procedural Issues and Rules Committee, Giorgi Kakhiani, following the termination of Shota Shalelashvili's authority as an MP, the CEC submitted Levan Mgaloblishvili's documentation to the Parliament to substitute the vacated member. Upon perusing the documents, the Committee found it expedient to recognize the authority of the newly appointed MP.
The Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, Giorgi Vashakidze, presented the draft law on Amendments to the Law of Georgia on “Higher Education” for accelerated consideration, which was endorsed with no contextual remarks.
Any failure to repair, reconstruct, rebuild or dismantle a building that distorts the appearance of a municipality will be subject of administrative responsibility – the Bill on Amendments to the Law of Georgia “On Product Safety and Free Movement” was presented with the II reading by the Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure, Mzia Giorgobiani.
The draft law on Amendments to the Organic Law of Georgia on Common Courts, prepared for the fourth wave of the judicial reform, was introduced by the MP, Irakli Kobakhidze.
The rapporteur briefed on the planned reforms in a capacity of the I reading and noted that the legislative amendments prepared within the framework of the reform were highly appreciated by the US Embassy and EU Delegation.
As for the content of the Bill directly, pursuant to Irakli Kobakhidze, the amendment concerns three main directions: the activities of the High Council of Justice, the reform of the High School of Justice and the issues of disciplinary proceedings. Each direction of aforementioned changes was scrutinized by the rapporteur.
The discussion resumed with questions.
Notwithstanding numerous fundamental changes, the draft law has been criticized by the opposition and independent MPs.
The Chair of the Legal Issues Committee, Anri Okhanashvili, dwelt upon these assessments: "Turn out in inconsistency with the key standards set forward by our vital accomplices that mean more noteworthy straightforwardness, responsibility and autonomy of the judiciary. We know very well that you have no interest in or desire for the judiciary to be further enhanced by a number of guarantees of independence. It is an objective reality and thusly you have fizzled with your emotional speeches. The public knows that you are centered around pushing for even more democratic reforms and you certainly would not be sympathetic to this idea. Hence, I urge the “National Movement” and “European Georgia” not to support this undertaking”.
In a concluding speech, one of the initiators of the draft law, Irakli Kobakhidze, once again elucidated the importance of the draft law, noting that the project involves fundamental changes.
He also echoed to critical remarks regarding the reduction of the limitation period and stated that the amendment was prepared on the recommendation of the EU Council.
"This was definitely the recommendation EU Council, and furthermore, when we had a final discussion on the bill, the Council reaffirmed its firm position and confirmed that it was this initiative that reflected the relevant change in the bill", - the Former Speaker noted.
According to Irakli Kobakhidze, there was a very broad consensus on all three issues and a very detailed bill is being drafted on the issues of disciplinary proceedings.
“The draft enshrines the detailed view of the types of disciplinary proceedings, which provides a solid basis for conducting disciplinary proceedings objectively. Significant changes have also been made to the process of disciplinary proceedings”, - Irakli Kobakhidze noted.
Voting process followed the consideration of the Bill, during which the MPs voted and approved the issues discussed at the plenary session, including the draft resolution on recognition of Levan Mgaloblishvili's tenure, which was unanimously endorsed by 104 votes in favour.
Following the break, the floor was given to the Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, Nino Tandilashvili, who harped on the Forest Code of Georgia and a package of draft laws, respectively.
According to the rapporteur, the Ministry has been working on the Code since 2013 with the aim of regulating the forestr sector and drafting the relevant legislative act. Outlining the basic principles of the draft Code, the Deputy Minister noted that the adoption of the law will provide for the principles of forest management, proper care, registration and inventory. Pursuant to her, the Code envisages classification and exploitation of forests for recreational and tourism purposes as well as for creating the forest farms.
The novelty also lies in the right of forest ownership, the criteria of which are strictly reviewed.
"Before the second reading of the Code, we are ready to scrutinize each article of the document with stakeholders in order to provide for creation of a Code that will protect the forest massifs and on the one hand, promote their development", - the Deputy Minister noted.
The MPs advanced their opinions regarding the presented draft and appealed to preparation of the document. On behalf of the Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Committee, the Chair, Kakhaber Kuchava evaluated the draft law and thanked the authors of the project for the preparation of a complex and comprehensive document.
“During the meetings in the highlands, one of the prevalent problems of residents living there is that with timber. This issue is to be resolved! We need to get to the point where we will enjoy the most out of the forest, but at the same time, it will be protected. For this purpose, structural changes and appropriate funding is important alongside with the congruous law", - Kakhaber Kuchava commented.
Nino Tandilashvili presented 22 draft laws entailed in the legislative package of the Forest Code, including the Bills: on Amendments to the Law of Georgia “On Environment Protection”, on Amendments to the Law of Georgia “On Ambient Air Protection”, on Amendments to the Law of Georgia “On Creation and Management of Javakheti Protected Area”.
The last issue discussed at the sitting was the report on the activities carried out by the Regional Policy and Self-Governance Committee during 2018, presented by the Chair of the Committee, Zaza Gabunia. The rapporteur emphasized the importance of decentralization reform while addressing the main issues and focuses of the report.
“The prevailing issue is the reform itself in the process of implementation of which the Committee stands out as one of the main subjects together with the Ministry of Regional Development supplementing the decentralization reform. For us, this is the tie 1 issue. The reform has been elaborated so that our municipalities, cities are granted with new opportunities, competencies and abilities to better serve our citizens in place”, - Zaza Gabunia noted.
In presenting the report on the activities carried out, the Chair of the Committee dwelt on the activities embarked within the framework of oversight functions along with the legislative drafting process.
At the end of the plenary session, Tamar Chugoshvili, the First Vice Speaker of the Parliament, informed the MPs about the decision of the Bureau, according to which, on October 4, instead of plenary session, the MPs will be discussing the draft on State Budget 2020 in Committee format.