The decisions of Wednesday, September 15th
Speeding fines: In the future, anyone who commits a speeding offense will no longer necessarily have to serve a term of imprisonment. After the National Council, the Council of States has also repealed the minimum penalty. This means that speeders can again be sanctioned with pure fines. The decision was made with 33 votes to 7 with one abstention. With this, “a mistake” of the “Via sicura” bill will be reversed, it was said to justify in the small chamber. More discretion for judges is necessary.
The speeding article, which came into force in 2013, was mainly criticized by middle-class circles. The large chamber already lifted the minimum limit of one year in prison in the summer session and wanted to allow fines again. The Council of States has now followed suit.
Counter-proposal to arms exports: After the Council of States, the National Council also surprisingly deleted the exception clause for the Federal Council when authorizing arms exports. The councils thus largely meet the demands of the authors of the correction initiative.
These are now withdrawing their referendum, as announced by the alliance against arms exports to civil war countries. Today is a big day for a credible Swiss peace policy: “Since the counterproposal represents a good compromise, the Alliance is refraining from a referendum and withdrawing the initiative to correct it.”
Compulsory test on completion: Rejected asylum seekers should in future be able to be forced to take a Covid test if this is required for deportation. Parliament approved this proposal by the Federal Council. Despite criticism from aid agencies, the Federal Council stuck to this approach. Now the Council of States followed the National Council and approved with 31 votes to 10 with one abstention.
Access to cell phone data: In future, the federal government will have the right to evaluate cell phones, tablets and other electronic data carriers from asylum seekers. After the National Council, the Council of States also approved a corresponding proposal from the Zurich SVP National Councilor Gregor Rutz. He adopted the amendments to the Asylum Act with 30 votes to 12. The store is ready for the final vote.
The decisions of Tuesday, September 14th
Allowances for affected age groups: Compared to the National Council, the Council of States wants to support more women who will be affected by the increase in the retirement age to 65 after the AHV reform comes into force. With 27 to 15 votes, the small chamber decided in favor of the proposal made by the majority of the social commission. Now the National Council is again dealing with the compensation. However, the councils have agreed to increase the VAT rate by 0.4 percentage points.
Compulsory test on completion: People who have to leave Switzerland should be able to be forced to take a Covid test in the future. That was decided by the National Council – against the votes of the left and the Greens. They criticized that this was a disproportionate interference with the physical integrity. Many states and airlines would only accept expelled people if they tested negative, argued Federal Councilor Karin Keller-Sutter. But many would refuse to take the test. Now it is the turn of the Council of States.
Federal prosecutors longer in office: The age limit for federal prosecutors is to be increased to 68 years from the beginning of 2022. After the Council of States, the National Council also approved the increase. Today, federal prosecutors and their deputies have to leave office at the end of the 64th and 65th year respectively.
On the Wednesday of the last week of the session, the plenum elects a successor to the resigned Federal Prosecutor Michael Lauber. The court commission recommends Stefan Blättler. He is 62 years old.
More time for adoptive children: Those adopting a child under four years of age are entitled to two weeks of paid leave. After the National Council, the Council of States also approved a corresponding bill. Various cantons already have adoption leave. Now there is a national solution.
Cohesion billion to the EU: It is still unlikely that Parliament will make a final decision on the release of the EU cohesion billion in the current autumn session. The Council of States has rejected a motion by Council of States Carlo Sommaruga (SP / GE) to bring the business into the first or second week of the session, with 30 to 14 votes. So it is clear that the small chamber will deal with the deal on September 30th.
The National Council will debate the approval that same afternoon. However, the current session will only be concluded if there are no differences between the two chambers.
The decisions of Monday, September 13th
Path towards the energy transition: Like the National Council, the Council of States also wants to promote new wind energy, small hydropower, biogas, geothermal and photovoltaic systems from 2023 with one-off investment contributions. He accepted the bill without a dissenting vote and essentially followed the National Council. The proposal initiated by National Councilor Bastien Girod (Greens / ZH) brings a temporary solution and is limited to the end of 2030. Because biogas, small hydropower, wind and geothermal energy have so far mainly been supported with the cost-oriented feed-in tariff (KEV). The KEV expires at the end of 2022.
The purpose of the proposal is to prevent a loophole in the funding instruments. Some details have not yet been settled; the proposal therefore goes back to the National Council.
Change in the aviation law: Parliament wants to increase passenger safety with unannounced alcohol controls on aircraft personnel. Today, such controls are only possible on suspicion. The introduction of a notification right for doctors was controversial in the Council of States. These should in future be able to forward information about possible acute mental or physical illnesses among flight personnel to the Federal Office of Civil Aviation without having to be released from professional secrecy. The Council of States voted 31 to 11 in favor of the right to report. Because the National Council deleted this from the bill in the summer, it has to decide on it again.
Controversial arms exports: Who decides to which countries war material may be exported? The National Council opened the autumn session with the debate on the popular initiative “Against arms exports to civil war countries (corrective initiative)”.
He ended the debate after four hours, but not yet closed it. The Federal Council’s counter-proposal, which provides for certain exceptions, is controversial. The Council of States had deleted the exceptions, the advisory commission of the National Council recommends a compromise. The vote is expected to take place on Wednesday.
Annual goals of the Federal Council: Fighting the Covid-19 pandemic is an urgent goal for the Federal Council in 2022. This is what Federal President Guy Parmelin said about the Federal Council’s annual targets. The focus is on three goals: maintaining prosperity, national cohesion and security. The entire annual planning of the Federal Council is based on these aspects, he declared in the National Council.
The state government will undertake a total of 120 projects in the next year. Financially, the goal is not to get into new debt. For the whole of 2022, coping with the pandemic is and will remain important, according to Parmelin. A message on the intergenerational relationship and a proposal to cut healthcare costs are also planned. Also on the list is the cohesion billion.
Certificate requirement in the councils: In the office of the President of the National Council, Andreas Aebi, the introduction of the certificate requirement was a topic, as he explained at the beginning of the session. This has been the case since today in the restaurant and café in the Bundeshaus, but not in the council chambers.
“From an epidemiological point of view and because of our role model function, the office advocates compulsory certification,” says Aebi. But the legal basis is missing. That is why his office applied to the security policy commissions (SPK) to use a commission initiative to prepare the legal basis for a certificate requirement in the parliament building so that it can be introduced “as soon as possible”.