Covid violation fine slashed to €99; No mark on criminal record
The fine for violating the rules in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus may be lowered from 390 euros to 99 euros. Coalition parties VVD, D66 and ChristenUnie want this lower fine to be recorded in the new coronavirus law. The lower amount means that the fine will not go onto offenders' criminal record - something parliament demanded last week while debating Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus' violation of the corona rules. The fourth coalition party CDA is also "sympathetic" to lowering the fine, Nieuwsuur reports.
If you have a criminal record, you can't get a certificate of good conduct, which means you can't qualify for some jobs. The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, made very clear that this is an unreasonable punishment for someone who unintentionally stood too close to someone else. Lowering the fine automatically solves that problem, D66 parliamentarian Maarten Groothuizen said to the program. The proposal also states that the law must be stricter for companies. "For a large company that has an interest in ignoring the rules, 99 euros might be a bit of a weird amount," Groothuizen said.
Despite this change, the D66 and ChristenUnie, and a large number of other MPs, are still hesitant to support this law, which is meant to replace all the emergency regulations used to restrict freedoms since the start of the crisis. Citizens and representatives don't have a say in emergency regulations. The corona law is intended to change that.
Parliamentarians think that the duration fo the law is too long. The coalition parties are therefore also proposing to shorten the duration from six months to three months. "The measures should not last longer than is strictly necessary" ChristenUnie MP Stieneke van der Graaf said. "So in the law we must include an instruction to the Minister that he will immediately scale down the measures as soon as they are no longer necessary."
Another objection is that the Minister of Health has too much power in the law. He can impose so-called ministerial regulations without the consent of the Tweede Kamer, for example closing markets. Opposition party SGP wants the law to clearly state that severe measures must be a last resort and far-reaching decisions must pass through parliament.
And finally, there are parliamentarians who wonder whether this law is even still necessary at all. Minister Hugo de Jonge of Public Health planned to implement the law on July 1, but withdrew it due to objections. As matters stand now, the law will likely not pass through the Tweede Kamer and Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate, before November 1. "When the emergency ordinances just came into force, it was logical to have additional legislation," SGP leader Kees van der Staaij said to Nieuwsuur. "As far as I am concerned, the momentum for this law has somewhat passed."