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The Riigikogu passed with 81 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the Place Names Act and the Land Register Act (362 SE), initiated by the Government. The Act updates and specifies the establishment and use of place names and improves place name data both in the national place names register and in public use. According to the explanation of the initiator, so far, place names had been entered in the place names register only when they had been submitted for registration by a names authority or when the Place Names Board had made a relevant resolution. Therefore the volume of the data in the place names register has for long years remained stable, around circa 36 000‒40 000 entries. However, there are significantly more place names in Estonia, an estimation of 200 000. The amendments enable to collect all these place names in the place names register and to ensure a functioning address data system so that rapid response teams can find rivers and lakes as well as hills and steep shorelines. It is also ensured that a place has the same name in different registers and the spelling of the name is the same on maps as well as in databases. The Act enters into force on 1 July 2013.

On the motion of the Social Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Health Care Services Organisation Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (392 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The aim of the Bill is to establish the concept of day treatment in specialised medical care, and to establish by a draft of the implementing regulation the conditions for the provision of this service, and to eliminate the concept of “care treatment” and “care hospital” in the context of specialised medical care. Upon the entry into force of the Act, the concept of “nursing hospital” will be used instead of “care hospital”, and the concept of “independently provided in-patient nursing care” will be used instead of “care treatment” in the future. The in-patient nursing care service (today “care treatment service”) is essentially a nursing activity, and the main activities include nursing operations and care activity related to nursing operations. Where necessary, the doctor gives consultations and makes treatment orders. Deciding on the need for nursing operations and the performance thereof will be within the competence of the nurse. In addition, the Bill creates an opportunity, besides special care homes, also for general care homes (regardless of the form of ownership) to apply for an activity licence for the provision of the home nursing service, and allows a nurse to certify the death of a person who dies in the course of the independent provision of nursing care services. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

On the motion of the Environmental Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Water Act (391 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The aim of the Bill is to update agricultural regulations concerning the use of fertilizers with a view to ensuring a more effective protection of the aquatic environment. Another aim is to transpose correctly the Directive 2007/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the assessment and management of flood risks. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

On the motion of the Cultural Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Copyright Act (394 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The Bill transposes the Directive 2011/77/EU and harmonises the legal provisions related to the Directive. According to this Directive, the term of protection for performers and producers of phonograms will be extended to 70 years after publication, and performers whose performances are no longer published by the original producer of the phonogram after the initial 50-year term of protection will be allowed to terminate the contract if they so wish, and to decide for themselves on the performance again. A sum corresponding to 20% of the revenue from the use of such phonograms which would have lost protection in the event of failure to extend the term will be set aside for studio musicians who have transferred their rights of fixation, reproduction, distribution and communication to the public to the phonogram producer in return for a one-off payment. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

The Riigikogu Press Service

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