The Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) passed with 77 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the Estonian Defence League Act and the Income Tax Act, which included the proposal of the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu to form four territorial defence districts from 2019.
During the second reading, several amendments were incorporated into the Bill on the motion of the National Defence Committee; most of them concerned the establishment of a new interim management level of the Defence League, the territorial defence districts.
According to the proposal of the National Defence Committee, four territorial defence districts that coordinate and support the activities of regional units or districts (malevad). The district commanders, who currently are directly subordinated to the Commander of the Defence League, will be subordinated to territorial defence district commanders who are active servicemen.
The main functions of the territorial defence districts that will be formed are organizing the planning and preparation of, and providing the supplies for the training of the Defence League units. The districts will continue to deal with the members, and military training and preparation on up to a company level.
The Act on Amendments to the Estonian Defence League Act and the Income Tax Act (593 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, will introduce amendments that concern, among other things, making it easier to become a member, the keeping of records on the members of the Defence League, the medical examination, the extension of the social guarantees of the youth leaders, and the provision of first aid in the Defence League.
Boys and girls who join the youth organisations of the Defence League will be exempt from medical examination. The persons who have a valid weapons permit, or who have passed a medical examination as active servicemen, police officers, prison service officers or assistant police officers, and who therefore have the right to carry a military weapon or firearm, will also not have to undergo a repeated medical examination when joining the Defence League.
Records on the members of the Defence League will be kept in a database which will be interfaced with X-Road and obtain data from the national registers. This will improve the quality of the data collected. Under the current law, records on the members are kept in the database of an agency established by the Commander of the Defence League; the data exchange with national registers is limited and is carried out through single requests. The Act will also provide for the obligation of a member of the Defence League to inform the organisation of any deterioration in their state of health, when it may no longer comply with the prescribed requirements.
Additional social guarantees will also be provided. A member of the Defence League who is injured upon the performance of a duty in the composition of the Defence League while involved in the resolution of a rescue event or emergency, in the police activities, or in the obstruction of an attack against a national defence object or of illegal crossing of the state border will also have the right to reimbursement of the costs of medical treatment. Under current law, the costs of medical treatment are covered only for active members of the Defence League who are injured during a military training.