The National Assembly is Discussing Amendments to the Measures and Actions during the State of Emergency Declared with a Decision of the National Assembly from 13 March 2020 Act

A draft bill for amendment and supplementation of the Measures and Actions during the State of Emergency Declared with a Decision of the National Assembly from 13 March 2020 Act has been tabled in the National Assembly.

Briefly, the amendments include:

  • Preliminary execution of the order of the Minister of Health for imposing restrictions and measures. This discards the necessity to include an explicit provision for preliminary execution in every subsequent order.
  • The provision for suspending procedural time limits is further specified, by way of legislative delegation of the relevant panel of the Supreme Judicial Council for determining proceedings. This harmonizes the provisions of the law and the already issued decision of the Judicial Panel of the Supreme Judicial Council determining which cases are subject to hearing.
  • Suspension of limitation periods will include only those time limits, the expiry of which extinguishes rights of private persons. The initial provisions is amended so that it no longer includes the suspension of time limits, the expiry of which terminates rights or creates obligations for private persons, and neither does it include the provision regarding time limits under the Penal Code and the Administrative Offenses and Sanctions Act. Under the amended provision, the following time limits are not suspended and continues to run: time limits under the Public Procurement Act, the Concessions Act, the Municipal Property Act, the State Property act, as well as other laws which establish time limits, the expiry of which extinguishes or terminates rights, or creates obligations for private persons. The time limits suspended under the existing law shall begin to run again 3 days after the amendments are promulgated in the State Gazette.
  • A new provision extending by one month the state of emergency is added, and it states that this term can be additionally extended upon a reasoned request showing good cause, such as compulsory isolation, hospitalization, absence from work due to the state of emergency or other unforeseen circumstances.
  • The provision regarding measures in enforcement proceedings is amended with an exception, according to which the fulfillment of an obligation to surrender a child shall not be suspended.
  • The scope of the provision providing for non-application of the contractual effects from delay in the execution of a monetary obligation until the state of emergency is lifted is limited only to the obligations of individuals under credit agreements and other forms of financing provided by banks and financial institutions, including when receivables have been acquired by other banks and financial institutions. In these cases, early collection, contract termination and seizure of items are not applicable. Until the amendment, the effects of the delay in the fulfillment of a monetary obligation by a private entity were excluded for all types of contractual and non-contractual relations.
  • A new provision has been created to give grounds for state and local authorities to hold distance meetings or make absentee decisions. Until now, the work of the municipal councils has been suspended due to the inability to make present decisions.
  • A new provision creates an opportunity for the State Reserve to release wartime stocks for gratuitous satisfaction of the needs of the population, as well as to provide hospital-household or other reusable property for temporary gratuitous use.
  • The State Property Act has been amended to allow, with an act of the Minister of Health, to provide movable items in the form of medical equipment for temporary gratuitous use, as well as non-proprietary consumables – personal protective equipment, disinfectants, hygiene materials.
  • After the amendment, the annual declarations of senior government officials shall be submitted within one month of the lifting of the state of emergency.
  • The amendment to the Tax and Social Insurance Procedure Code provides for an extension in the scope of the debtor’s non-securitized claims, and in addition to work remuneration, compensations under an employment relationship, pension or scholarship, any other remuneration for work has been added, and instead of the current threshold of BGN 250, the non-securitization limit is formulated by a total amount up to the minimum monthly work remuneration.

The bill is scheduled to enter into force on the date of its promulgation.

Expect up-to-date information on whether other amendments to the proposed bill will be adopted.