Coming into force: new laws for 2009

As of January 1, 2009

As of January 1, 2009

Crime prevention law

Defines the organisation and power of public bodies in the area of crime prevention. Previously there was no legislation covering the power of these public bodies to prevent criminality and the system was based on voluntary actions.

The law will contribute to a more balanced relationship between prevention and prosecution in preventing crime.

An information centre to fight human trafficking and to prevent criminality will be established at the Interior Ministry. The centre will process and provide data about crime from public authorities. It will focus mainly on information about various human trafficking crimes.

The law also establishes rules for more rational financing of projects.

Financial support for parents

The law on allowances for the care of children introduces a financial allowance for parents who decide to work instead of taking maternity leave and who use the care services of another legal or natural person.

According to the amended law the monthly allowance per child will be €21.24 (Sk640) beginning January 1, an increase of €3.3 (Sk100).

Amendment of the law on political parties and movements

Allows political parties to accept a financial gift of not more than €5,000 (Sk150,630) from a single donor only once per year.

Parties will be able to accept gifts of any type only on the basis of a written agreement. The donor’s signature must be verified on the day of the signing or at the latest when the transfer of the gift is made. If the gift does not exceed €500 (Sk15,063) the agreement can be signed by a representative of the party. Donations by party members exceeding €5,000 cannot be accepted in cash.

In addition, parties will be obliged to publish a list of donors quarterly on their websites, no later than 30 days after the end of the quarter.

TASR law

From the beginning of 2009 the Press Agency of the Slovak Republic (TASR) becomes a public service institution, meaning that TASR will receive finance from the state as a contribution to its income. The Culture Ministry believes this will make TASR more effective, independent and competitive among the news agencies.

Slovak audiovisual fund law

Intended to help to revive Slovak cinema. According to the law, this audiovisual fund will be financed from the state budget and by users of audiovisual works.

The fund will support filmmaking in Slovakia through grants, subventions, loans, stipends or loan guarantees. A subvention cannot exceed half of the budget of the production but this restriction does not cover low-cost movies which can receive up to 90 percent of their overall budget.

As of February 1, 2009

Amendment of the law on names and surnames

Will allow citizens of the Slovak Republic who are at the same time citizens of another state to ask for a change of their name in a manner which is in accordance with legal rules or traditions of another state. The aim is to unify the form of the name in both countries. The amendment was brought forward because of an increase in the number of mixed marriages and more children born to parents of different nationalities.

The Slovak law on names and surnames does not allow a derogatory or non-personal noun to be used as a name. It also does not allow use of a male name for a female or vice versa. The restrictions do not apply to foreign names. In such cases, the applicant must provide a statement from an official representative of a foreign state to prove that the requested name is normally used in that state. However, this is required only when the name is very unusual and has not been used before.

Amendment of the law on road traffic

Introduces several changes of which the most significant is a lower speed limit of 50 kilometres (km) per hour in cities and villages. On highways or motorways within cities the speed limit will be 90 km per hour. The speed limit on roads outside cities and on highways remains the same – 90 and 130 km per hour respectively. Buses and trucks cannot drive more than 100 km per hour on Slovak highways. Trucks cannot overtake other vehicles on highways and their use is restricted on weekends and holidays.

The new law requires drivers to use headlights year-round.

All cyclists must wear helmets outside villages and cities and children must ride with helmets everywhere. The law also raises fines, with the basic fee for small violations being €60 (around Sk1,800).

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