Summary of the 13th Session of the Sejm

Tourist vouchers, facilitating car registration, and the anti-crisis shield 4.0, among other topics, were discussed by the MPs during the 13th session of the Sejm, which took place on Friday, June 19. The House also paid tribute to the victims of German death camps and decided that the statute of limitations for communist crimes shall not expire.

Laws enacted:

Support for the Polish tourism industry and for Polish families in the difficult time of the coronavirus pandemic is the goal of the Polish Tourism Voucher Act proposed by President Andrzej Duda. The legislation passed by the Sejm provides that the electronic A voucher worth PLN 500 will be granted for each child in the family. It will be possible to pay for travel events and hotel services with it until the end of March 2022. Children with disabilities will be entitled to an additional benefit worth 500 PLN. As Jadwiga Emilewicz, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development, assured during the first reading of the draft, the government is ready to start implementing the benefit as early as in July this year. In the vote on the bill as a whole 424 MPs supported it, 16 were against and 12 abstained.

Communist crimes will not be subject to the statute of limitations. The deputies by a large majority amended the bill on the Institute of National Remembrance - Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes Against the Polish Nation. 443 deputies voted for the bill, 4 deputies were against and 4 deputies abstained from voting.

People born in 1953 will receive pensions higher by PLN 202 on average thanks to the amendment to the Act on retirement and disability pensions from the Social Insurance Fund adopted by the Sejm. The Constitutional Court ruled that the 2013 provision requiring that benefits be reduced by the amounts paid for early retirement with respect to the 1953 vintage is unconstitutional. The accrued benefits will be recalculated by Social Security ex officio, and eligible individuals will receive, in addition to an increase, compensation for the time they received the reduced pension.

And reading:

A number of improvements for drivers are contained in the government draft amendment to the Act on Road Traffic Law and certain other acts. Among other things, the obligation to carry a driving license document will be abolished. All necessary data will be obtained by an officer performing a roadside inspection in the electronic driver register system. The vehicle registration procedure will be much simpler and cheaper. It will not be necessary to have a vehicle card or a sticker with a registration number on the window. A new owner buying a used car will be able to keep the registration number assigned to it. When buying a new car, registration formalities will be handled by the car dealer. The Seym has carried out the first reading of the draft and passed it to the Infrastructure Committee for further work.

Senate Positions:

The House considered Senate resolutions containing amendments to two bills. Members decided to reject most of the amendments proposed by the other chamber in An Act on the Solidarity Allowance Granted to Counteract the Adverse Effects of COVID-19 - The Sejm, on the other hand, agreed with the Senate on most of the amendments to Crisis shield 4.0. Among other things, the MPs decided to change the title of the Act - it will read as follows: "Act on interest subsidies for bank loans granted to entrepreneurs affected by COVID-19 and on simplified proceedings for approval of the arrangement in connection with the occurrence of COVID-19". The Sejm, at the request of the Senate, also clarified, among other things, the definition of commercial space, and the application to the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) for parking benefits will also be able to be submitted by the interested parties themselves when the application is denied by the principal. In total, the Seym supported 91 out of 126 amendments passed by the senators.

Amendment of the Rules of Procedure of the Diet:

The Sejm decided on extending the ability to conduct remote deliberations both the full House and committees and subcommittees. The amendment to the Rules adopted in March this year related to the coronavirus pandemic was to be in effect until June 30. However, the persistence of the outbreak has necessitated the extension of special arrangements that allow Members who are particularly vulnerable to the negative consequences of possible infection, as well as Parliamentarians in quarantine, to participate in deliberations.

Other House decisions:

The House by acclamation adopted a resolution on the occasion of 80th anniversary of the first transport of prisoners to Auschwitz. They also commemorated the National Day of Remembrance for the Victims of German Nazi Concentration and Death Camps, which falls on June 14. They also observed a moment of silence in memory of Józef Gruszka, 2nd, 3rd and 4th term MP, who died on June 7.

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