Riga, February 17, 2021 - According to the Declaration on the planned activities of the Cabinet led by Artūrs Krišjānis Kariņš and in the implementation of the municipal management reform, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development has drafted and submitted to the Cabinet a new “Local Government Law”.
Minister Artūrs Tom Plešs (AP!): “New Law will provide timely management. It provides for an improved model for the organisation of local government activities, which reduces the possibility of varying interpretations and application of legal provisions and aims at more efficient governance and respect for the views of the population, as well as for extensive and regular opportunities for the involvement of local authorities."
Since the adoption of the Law on Local Governments in 1994, significant changes have been made to the general public administration, which inevitably necessitate changes to the legal framework for the operation of municipalities. Changes are also needed in the context of the administratively territorial reform, focusing mainly on the need for higher levels of public involvement in decision-making and more effective instruments to ensure that the views of the population of the administrative areas covered by the new leadership are kept to the widest possible in key issues related to the functioning of municipalities.
The draft law also provides for a clearer separation of decision-making powers and executive powers, improving the division of competences and functions, a clearer definition of the model of local government work organisation and the competence of officials. . In working on the new draft law, WE have also taken into account existing Constitutional Court judgments and State control opinions and recommendations on municipal issues.
In the light of the information referred to in State control audits, the Ministry has also supplemented the draft law with the duty of the executive director of the local government to establish the internal control system of the institution. It is also stipulated that the selection of candidates to positions in the municipal administration (including established institutions) shall take place in an open competition, except in cases where the person has agreed to the transfer. I. The draft law clarifies the restrictions on the joining of the positions of the City Council Member.
The draft law sets out mechanisms for ensuring the participation of the population in the work of the local government, thereby increasing the quality of the work of the municipality and its relevance to the interests of its residents. . As one of the forms of population involvement, the implementation of the participation budget is envisaged, thus ensuring a democratic process that enables citizens themselves to determine how part of the local government budget is spent on the development issue. s. This will encourage a targeted cooperation of citizens with the municipality.
The draft law provides for the organisation of population councils in municipalities, which would be elected at general meetings of the population and maintain a dialogue between the population and the council. . The possibility for residents of the local government to submit a collective submission to the City Council is also specified.
In order to make jobs more smooth, as well as to reduce the administrative burden in the Ministry, THE draft law has identified areas where pre-control of binding regulations issued by local governments is to be carried out, while the post-control of the rule of law of binding rules is maintained for the Ministry, including the right of the Minister to suspend the illegal operation of binding regulations or their points.
The draft law provides for the definition of the draft rules binding on the local authorities' duties and for the publication of the statement of the statement of the statement prior to issuance on the official website of the local government for the purposes of clarifying the public opinion.
In turn, in order for each person to know his or her rights and to have a comfortable access to the regulatory enactment which prescribes it, the binding rules prescribe a uniform procedure for coming into force after publication in the official publication “Latvijas Vēstnesis”, as well as will systemise them in the portal likumi.lv, which will also facilitate the work of local government operating supervisors. The draft law also includes an exact explanation of local government information expenses.
The issues of the organisation of the work of the City Council and committees which concern the holding of meetings, the resolution of which in the current law is unclear, outdated or inconsistent with other regulatory enactments.
In the drafting of the draft law, the Ministry has introduced clear indications regarding the cases in which emergency meetings can be convened in the City Council, and in the future, the need for emergency meetings will have to be clearly justified, indicating the specific adverse consequences for the postponement of the matter.
The availability of modern solutions, and also the challenges posed by Covid-19, have allowed the draft legislation to specifically address specific cases where, through the online video conference negotiating tool, the council meeting can take place remotely. . Anticipating such cases would already provide the possibility, for example, for urgent consideration of public safety decisions, if an emergency situation occurs in a given local government or there are announced restrictions on assembly.
The new draft law clarifies the wording of the autonomous functions of municipalities on the basis of proposals made by sectoral ministries and clarifies the responsibility of municipalities, for example by making it clear that local government police should be established in each municipality from 2024.
The Ministry stresses that active work has taken place in the drafting of the draft law with local government representative organisations and sectoral ministries, as well as non-governmental organisations have been heard regarding issues of public involvement in the work of local governments.
According to the information report prepared FOR the adoption of the Law on Local Governments on 14 July 2020, the working group set up to hold more than 10 meetings, with representatives of the Ministry of Justice, the Latvian Union of Local Governments and the Latvian Association of Great Cities, as well as representatives of other organisations being invited to the thematic meetings of the Working Group. such as “Providus,” “Civic Alliance.” The draft law was then released for public consultation on 24 September 2020, with around 450 proposals, objections and views on the drafted draft law. VARAM considered all the comments we have received and clarified the draft law with the most valuable suggestions.
Information was prepared by
Minister's Councillor for Communications and Public Relations
Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development