Lockdown extension, SBU reform, and special parliamentary procedure: news from the Government and Rada

22 May 2020
Lockdown extension, SBU reform, and special parliamentary procedure: news from the Government and Rada
Home > Monitoring > Lockdown extension, SBU reform, and special parliamentary procedure: news from the Government and Rada

Lockdown extended, regions less affected by virus allowed to lift some of the restrictions

Decision-maker: the Government.

Who is affected: citizens, schoolchildren, university enrollees, medical students, teachers, entrepreneurs, law enforcement officials, and the Government. According to the Ministry of Health, it is too early to ease the lockdown in 11 oblasts and Kyiv.

What does it change:

  • the lockdown is extended until June 22;
  • schoolchildren, university enrollees, and medical students are allowed to pass external independent evaluation, entrance examinations, and STEP accordingly;
  • to lift some of the lockdown restrictions, an oblast has to comply with the following requirements:
    • no more than 12 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents were registered in last 7 days;
    • beds in hospitals dealing with the virus are filled at less than 50% of their capacity;
    • the average number of patients tested by PCR is more than 12 per 100,000 residents in last 7 days.
  • if the requirements are satisfied, lockdown restrictions are lifted as follows:
    • starting on May 22, reopening of regular passenger road transportation;
    • starting on May 25, reopening of metro and kindergartens;
    • starting on June 1, reopening of passenger railroad and interregional road transportation, educational institutions are allowed to teach classes for small groups (less than 10 students);
    • starting on June 10, reopening of cultural institutions and restaurants;
    • starting on June 15, reopening of passenger flights.

Why it is important: pandemic and lockdown restrictions have paralyzed the Ukrainian economy, so the Government has to restart the economy and provide people with access to their workplaces without provoking new outbreaks of the decease.

What is wrong: on the shortcomings of the Government’s strategy, please read a concise post by Serhii Sydorenko, Editor in Chief of the European Pravda.

SBU reform postponed (3196)

Decision-maker: the Parliament.

Status: sent to the designated Committee for revision.

Who is affected: citizens, entrepreneurs, SBU employees, the Government, and the President.

Changes proposed by the bill:

  • demilitarization of the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine): a part of SBU employees become civil servants, the other part receive special status distinct from regular military servicemen status;
  • significant layoff of SBU staff.

What is right: the Service should have been reformed a while ago, so public debates and a draft bill on the issue is a step in the right direction.

What is wrong at the moment:

  • the Constitutional Court in its conclusion has indicated that independence of any state body is at risk if such a body is, directly or indirectly, subordinated to the President. Nevertheless, the President still has an excessive unconstitutional leverage on the Service:
    • influences appointments of deputy heads of the Service and heads of the Service oblast organizations
    • approves the provision on the Service;
    • authorizes permissions for the Head of the Service for international cooperation etc.
  • the SBU has investigative powers, which is uncharacteristic for a state security service. Such powers should be transferred to the SBI;
  • because of an excessive and unconstitutional influence from the President, the Service cannot work independently and efficiently.

What next: the bill will be revisited and once more presented to the Parliament for the first reading.

Draft bill changing special parliamentary procedure passed in the first reading (3415)

Decisionmaker: the Parliament.

Status: awaits the second reading, MPs still have time to submit their final proposals.

Who is affected: MPs, Ukrainian citizens.

Why it is important: special procedure to fight ‘junk amendments’ has been introduced to avoid a lengthy deliberation of thousands of amendments to the ‘anti-Kolomoyskyi’ bill. In theory, it should have been a one-time deal, but now the Parliament is considering a bill with new changes to the procedure.

Changes proposed by the bill:

  • the special deliberation procedure is allowed for draft bills with more than 1000 amendments (instead of 500);
  • MPs can submit an amendment to each article or point of a bill (instead of 5 total for factions and 1 total for each MP);
  • if a deliberation under the special procedure starts during the lockdown or a month after lockdown ends, it proceeds under the special procedure.

What is wrong:

  • any law adopted under the special procedure can be proved unconstitutional, because it restricts MPs’ right to initiate legislation and allows no amendments at all from the President and the Government.
  • despite the promises of the Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada, the bill now proposes to make the special procedure permanent.

To know more about the shortcomings of such an approach to bill deliberation, please read our blog Amendments from Kolomoiskyi VS parliamentary solution.

Parliament failed to appoint its representatives to contest committee for selection of the SBI Director (3067)

Decisionmaker: the Parliament.

Status: the bill has been rejected, but another one can be adopted in the nearest future.

Who is affected: the Director of the State Bureau of Investigation, candidates for the position, SBI employees, high-level officials, judges, servicemen, and policemen.

What the bill was supposed to change: three parliamentary representatives were supposed to be included in the contest committee for selection of the SBI Director. MPs Vladlen Nekliudov and Yuliia Yatsyk (both from Servant of the People faction), and Yuriy Ponomarenko, the dean of the Correspondence Faculty of Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University.

What is wrong:

  • according to the Constitution, the Verkhovna Rada has no power to appoint the SBI Director or influence the appointment. Thus, the Parliament has no right to include its representatives to the contest committee and will not get such a right even if the law is adopted;
  • if the SBI Director is appointed under the unconstitutional procedure, his or her appointment could be appealed against at any time. This will bring into question whether the SBI’s work is effective and impartial;
  • unconstitutional appointments present a real threat to state institutions. Someone will at some point appeal against the procedure of SBI Director appointment, causing a crisis for the whole bureau and impeding its work.