Local councilors from political parties banned by the court may lose their seats and charity funds helping the Armed Forces of Ukraine may get tax relief.
Dismiss local councilors from banned political parties
Draft bill # 7476 of June 20, 2022
Sponsor: the Cabinet
Who is affected: members of political parties banned by the court and local councilors nominated by these parties, local governments, employees of military administrations, and voters (over 28 million)
Summary of the bill:
- local councilors nominated in the last election by political parties banned by the court and members of factions of those parties will be dismissed. Their seats will remain vacant
- local councils where more than a half of the councilors represent political parties banned by the court will be dissolved
- dissolved councils will be replaced by military administrations until the next early local election.
What is right: councilors nominated by parties banned by the court will be dismissed since they represent pro-russian, pro-aggression, and pro-war political forces that assisted or are still assisting the occupation of Ukraine.
What is wrong:
- a provision to dismiss representatives of the parties banned by the court is too severe. Membership in a political party does not make a councilor a criminal, offender, or collaborator
- councilors represent their voters in local governments, so the state can deprive them of their mandates only in exceptional cases. In local elections, voters often vote for the candidates not because they represent some political party but for their contribution to the development of the community. At the current stage of the party system development in Ukraine, party membership is often a fulfillment of a formal requirement and does not mean by default that all councilors nominated by the banned parties are potential traitors.
Alternative solution: councilors who collaborated with the enemy or committed treason have to be punished by imprisonment, not by dismissal.
Background: since martial law was declared, courts banned twelve parties that are overtly pro-russian.
Introduce additional requirements for the Commissioner for Human Rights
Draft bill # 7472 of June 17, 2022
Cosponsors: a group of MPs from factions Servant of the People and Trust with Maryna Bardina as the first signatory.
Who is affected: candidates for the Commissioner position, Ukrainian citizens (over 41 million), suspects, defendants, prisoners (over 50 thousand), employees of the law enforcement agencies (over 130 thousand), and penitentiary service (over 22 thousand).
Summary of the bill:
- additional requirements will be introduced for candidates for the Commissioner position:
- must have deep knowledge and professional experience in human rights of at least 10 years
- be a recognized authority in the field, have competence and integrity
- the minimum age of 40 will be removed from the list of requirements for candidates for the Commissioner position.
What is right:
- the Commissioner has to be a professional and understand problems in the sphere. A requirement to have experience in human rights will guarantee that the newly-elected Commissioner can start working at once
- authority, competence, and integrity will ensure that the newly-elected Commissioner has a solid background in the field and is able to bear political pressure. These are the prerequisites to ensure human rights protection.
What is wrong: the bill does not define what constitutes “experience in human rights,” so practically any activity could be interpreted as “experience in human rights.” Thus, this new requirement will be nominal and have no practical consequences.
- make the procedure for appointing the Commissioner for Human Rights open, engage human rights activists in it, and ensure public discussions of candidates
- provide a clear definition of “experience in human rights” to prevent its misuse and misinterpretations.
- on May 31, MPs dismissed Lyudmyla Denisova as the Commissioner for Human Rights
- on June 21, the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk submitted the candidature of MP Dmytro Lubinets for the Commissioner for Human Rights position.
Introduce tax relief on charity donations
Draft bill # 7492 of June 27, 2022
Cosponsors: Oleh Makarov and Andrii Osadchuk from the Holos faction.
Who is affected: volunteers and volunteer organizations helping the Armed Forces and IDPs.
Why this is important:
- since 2014, Ukraine maintains the Register of the Volunteers of the Anti-Terrorist Operation. People included on the Registry are relieved from paying income tax (18%) and military fee (1.5%) on the money they receive if this money is used for the benefit of soldiers in the Anti-terrorist Operation Zone (Joint Forces Operation), people injured during the Revolution of Dignity, or IDPs from the Anti-terrorist Operation Zone (JFO) and Crimea
- after February 24, 2022, the Verkhovna Rada has not updated the law by covering other expenses where tax exemption for volunteers should be applied. Also, aid to IDPs from Kherson, Kharkiv, Sumy, and other oblasts affected by the war is still taxed.
Summary of the bill:
- volunteers will be relieved from paying taxes on money they receive as charity donations conditional on them being included in the Registry and using the money to cover the needs of Ukrainian soldiers (anywhere in Ukraine), employees of civil defense, members of their families, or persons fleeing from the hostilities
- extends the tax-free period that starts after a person is included in the Register.
What is right: donations for the Armed Forces of Ukraine and internally displaced persons will be used more effectively.
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