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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

The Council of State also voted to veto the law against the harmful measures of the previous government: Use of the so-called omnibus approach is not justified

By: C. R.,STA

At the extraordinary session, the Council of State voted with 17 votes in favour and 13 against a suspensive veto on the law to reduce inequality and harmful policy interventions and ensure respect for the rule of law. Supporters of the veto are convinced that it would be better to amend each law separately and not with the so-called omnibus approach.

The law prepared by the March 8th Institute would otherwise restore 11 laws that were changed during the government of Janez Janša. Last Thursday, the National Assembly adopted the law with 52 votes of support. Among the regulations that are being returned to the past state are those in the field of councils of educational institutions, staffing in the police, and the exclusion of non-governmental environmental protection organisations from procedures for dealing with environmental issues.

They filed a proposal for a suspensory veto in the Chamber of Engineers of Slovenia, where they are primarily concerned about interfering with the Construction Act. Members of the National Assembly Commission for state regulation gave the green light to the initiative at the morning meeting of the said commission.

The commission warned that the law interferes with 11 very different laws in terms of content, so the use of the so-called omnibus approach is not justified, the initiative was presented to councillors at an extraordinary meeting of the National Assembly by the president of the commission, Rajko Fajt. They believe that the proposed solutions should be considered separately, i.e., each legislative amendment separately, which would significantly contribute to legal certainty. The committee found that some of the proposed changes are appropriate, but they cannot support certain issues, so they propose that the law be decided upon once again.

According to Fajt, they are particularly critical of changes to the laws on corporate income tax, on the organisation and financing of education, on weapons and on road transport. They also drew attention to the opinion of the Chamber of Engineers of Slovenia regarding interference with the Construction Act.

Among the regulations that are being returned to the past state are those in the field of councils of educational institutions, staffing in the police and the exclusion of non-governmental environmental protection organisations from procedures for dealing with environmental issues, the director of the March 8th Institute, Nika Kovač, reminded at the meeting. According to her, the law under discussion is something radically different. “The law was not written by a small group of men in suits, but by lawyers and civil society organisations with the aim of restoring democratic standards,” she said.

The representatives of the March 8th Institute left the meeting of the state council early because, as Kovač said, “it is obvious that they are not welcome here”. In a statement to the media after the meeting, they emphasised that they were “shocked by the level of debate and accusations that appeared at the meeting itself”.

At the same time, Kovač rejected accusations that they are introducing a radical change, grossly interfering with the legal order and that they pose a threat to the democratic system. “The law was created because democracy in Slovenia started to tear apart,” she said.

Regarding the accusations that they are suddenly changing the political scheme, Kovač said: “Yes, we are changing it, there were elections, and the purpose of the elections is to change Slovenian politics and to change measures”. According to the Institute, the so-called omnibus approach is justified, since all the included laws have in common that “the changes during Janez Janša’s government were adopted in an undemocratic way, according to quick procedures, hidden from the public eye, and the opinion of the profession was not taken into account when making decisions”.

The veto proposal was supported by the interest group of local interests, where they are bothered by interference in the management of educational institutions, explained the head of the group, Milan Ozimič. The current legislation also allows the state, as the founder of the institution, the possibility of co-management.

On the other hand, the veto was opposed by an interest group of employees, which, according to Lidija Jerkič, opposed the considered provisions already at the time of the adoption of the laws, therefore they support the content of the law against harmful measures of the previous authorities.

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