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The Riigikogu passed with 71 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the Gambling Act and Other Associated Acts (88 SE), initiated by the Government. The aim of the amendments is to improve the technical requirements in the Gambling Act by bringing them into better conformity with practical needs. The aim of the technical requirements is to ensure that gambling games organised in Estonia correspond in the best way to the expectations of players and that it is possible to exercise effective supervision over the organisation. A major amendment is that the data registered in the electronic calculation and control system are brought into better conformity with the needs of supervision. 15 members of the Riigikogu voted against the Act and one member of the Riigikogu abstained. The Act enters into force on 1 June 2012.

On the motion of the Social Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Health Care Services Organisation Act and the General Part of the Economic Activities Code Act (188 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The aim of the Bill is to ensure better availability of primary health care services and better service quality. The Bill amends the provisions concerning general medical care in the Health Care Services Organisation Act which will centralise the function of organising primary health care to the area of government of the Ministry of Social Affairs. Thereby, the functions of the organisation of general medical care such as the competition for the compilation of the practice list of a family physician, the approving of the practice lists of family physicians, the temporary substitution of family physicians, and supervision, which so far were the duties of a county governor, are transferred to the Health Board. In addition, the maximum numbers of persons on the practice lists of family physicians which at present are regulated by a Regulation of the Minister are brought to the level of law. The Bill provides that, as a general rule, the maximum number of persons on the practice list of a family physician is 1200‒2000 persons or up to 2400 persons if, together with the family physician, at least one health care professional qualified as a doctor provides general medical care to persons entered on the list. As the third important issue, the functions related to the collection of health statistics are transferred to the competence of the National Institute for Health Development. The health statistics is transferred with the aim of increasing the efficiency and speed of the submission of reports and correction of data by elimination of an intermediate link of data transfer. The information will be submitted directly to the National Institute for Health Development who will give feedback directly to the service provider, that is, to the entity which submits the data. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

On the motion of the Constitutional Committee, the first reading of the Public Service Bill (193 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The aim of the Bill is to update public service in Estonia and to bring it into conformity with the internationally recognised general principles of public service. According to the new Bill, the definition of an official is changed, as a result of which the range of official is reduced. Another purpose is to establish a simple, clear and effective system of assessment of officials, and a transparent and fair salary system which takes into account the labour market and the responsibility and competitiveness of a person. In addition, the social guarantees of officials are decreased and, during a four-year transition period, the additional holiday of officials will also be eliminated and the duration of the holiday is established to be 35 calendar days. At the same time, the terms for advance notice in the case of lay-offs will depend on the length of service of officials. The Act in question applies to officials of the police service, prison service, rescue service, Defence Forces service, foreign service and prosecutor’s service, and officials of other specific categories of public service with the specifications provided for in special Acts. The employment relationships of persons who work on the basis of an employment contract in an administrative agency are regulated by the Employment Contracts Act. The Bill determines that the Ministry of Finance will be the institution responsible for public service, and provides provisions delegating authority, empowering the Government of the Republic to establish, by a Regulation, the main procedures concerning personnel management. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

The Riigikogu Press Service