According to the media, the Chairperson of the Parliament, Dmytro Razumkov, and the First Deputy Chairperson, Ruslan Stefanchuk, have contracted the coronavirus. For a time, the plenary meetings will be presided over by the Deputy Chairperson, Olena Kondratiuk. This week, probably, only one plenary meeting will be held, on Tuesday. The Parliament has to make decisions on issues of state importance: lockdown restrictions introduced by the Cabinet, support for sole proprietors, and new publication procedure for official versions of legislative acts.
Defining procedure to inform citizens about lockdown restrictions (4320)
Status: ready to be passed.
Who is affected: Ukrainian citizens, business, government bodies, local governments, and the Cabinet.
What does it change: the resolution defines a procedure of how the Cabinet should introduce lockdown restrictions (e.g., prohibit regular or irregular passenger road transportation, restrict the freedom of movement, etc.):
- to introduce 2 or more restrictions, a Cabinet’s resolution has to be announced and published 7 days prior to the restrictions coming into effect
- 7 days prior to the restrictions coming into effect, the Cabinet has to inform about programs or measures that will be implemented to help vulnerable groups or businesses, in particular how employees’ transportation to their workplaces and back home will be organized
- 7 days prior to the restrictions coming into effect, the Cabinet has to submit a draft bill on state aid and subsidies for people and enterprises that will suffer from a stricter lockdown.
What is wrong:
- according to the Constitution, government bodies can exercise their authority only on the grounds, within the powers, and in the way determined by the Constitution and the laws of Ukraine. Cabinet’s powers have to be defined by laws and not resolution by the Verkhovna Rada. Thus, the Cabinet can ignore the resolution and proceed with its unconstitutional activities
- the Parliament should have acted in accordance with the Constitution and declared an emergency state until the end of the pandemic. Instead, they have shifted their responsibilities to the Cabinet members
- MPs de facto legalize Cabinet’s unconstitutional lockdown resolutions that restrict human rights and freedoms instead of doing their job of controlling the Government’s work.
Proper solution: the Constitution allows to restrict constitutional human rights and freedoms only through two mechanisms: by passing a law or declaring an emergency state/martial law. Since lockdown restrictions infringe a number of human rights, the Parliament and the President should have declared an emergency state.
To know more about the shortcomings of the “weekend lockdown”, please check an article by the analyst of the Centre of United Actions Oleh Savychuk Weekend lockdown: walking into the same wall.
Postponing mandatory requirement for sole proprietors to use cash registers (4313)
Status: revisited by the committee, once more awaits the first reading. If there will be a consensus in the Parliament, MPs can pass the bill.
Who is affected: business, sole proprietors, and the State Tax Service.
What does it change: according to the Head of the Parliamentary Committee on Finance, Taxation, and Customs Policy, Danylo Hetmantsev, the committee recommends MPs to adopt a compromise version of the bill:
- to postpone the mandatory requirement for sole proprietors to use cash registers until January 1, 2022 (except for certain groups like online retailers, jewelry, second-hand shops, etc.)
- to lower fines, cancel the requirement to report on electronic cash registers, and exclude the total area of floor space as a criterion for mandatory use of cash registers.
What is right:
- better conditions for small and medium-sized enterprises during the pandemic
- fewer chances that the requirement to use cash registers will increase the number of untaxed payments for provided services.
What is wrong:
- without cash registers and, thus, fiscal receipts, it is often impossible to protect customers’ rights
- a part of the economy will remain in shadow because some operations without cash registers will remain untaxed. Local budgets and the government budget will receive less revenue.
Changing publication procedure for adopted legislation (4334)
Status: awaits the first reading, MPs can substantially revise it.
Who is affected: Ukrainian citizens, business, government bodies, local governments, the President, the Government, and the Parliament.
What does it change: resolutions by the Verkhovna Rada and laws signed by the President will be published in the newspaper Voice of Ukraine (Голос України) and on the official site of the Parliament. Both online and paper versions will be recognized as official.
Why this is important: at the moment, no law defines where official versions of the adopted laws and other legislative acts passed by the Verkhovna Rada have to be stored. Versions of laws published on the official sites of the Parliament and other government bodies are not recognized as official, so, in theory, they should not be referred to as a legitimate data source.
What is right: the Parliament will finally define which versions of adopted laws and other legislative documents are official.
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