The Rift between Legislative Drafting Standards and the Facts in Presenting Information on Evaluating Impacts and Involving Interest Groups
Regulatory analyses of the content of explanatory memoranda to draft legislation show to what extent Estonian ministers and ministry officials are able to implement principles of knowledge-based policy and Better Regulation in legislation that impacts the lives and jobs of Estonians.
The article is based on results of the seventh analysis of the regulatory content of explanatory memoranda to draft legislation (170 draft legal acts) carried out from September 2007 to March 2009, pointing up changes in the quality of information on the background of a deepening economic crisis (budget cuts) and studies conducted from 1995–2003. The author views the conflicts between the content of explanatory memoranda entered into the “eÕigus” system by ministries, on one hand, and the government and Riigikogu’s standards pertaining to the rules on regulatory techniques to be used in the drafting of legislation of general application.
The objective of the last analysis of draft legislation explanatory memoranda was to study how public sector institutions and cuts in the state budget are reflected in the structure of information in the explanatory memoranda to the draft legislation. Compared to last year (1.9.2007–1.9.2008) the share of legal acts directly tied with the European Union law decreased in the comparison period (1.12.2008–28.2.2009), along with the share of information on evaluation of socio-demographic impacts (–4 %), information on environment impact assessment (–1 %), assessment of the organizational impacts of public administration (–12 %) and information on involvement of interest groups (–14 %). At the same time, information that treats entrepreneurial and economic impacts increased (+4 %), as did information treating changes in the state budget (+5 %), references to studies and other information sources (+21 %) and information on documentation of coordination of draft legislation with state and local government agencies (3 %). The positive changes are reflected in the increased importance, as the recession began, ascribed to the situation of the business environment, the state budget, supporting evidence for analysis findings (references to studies) and showing support for other state agencies). The share of information on assessment of organizational impacts and involvement of interest groups is on a negative trend. This shows the inner insecurity of ministries regarding the future, the frequent “involvement fatigue” and the weakening of partnership relations between government agencies and interest groups.