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Federal Council: Federal Council proposes organ donation reform

Federal Council: Federal Council proposes organ donation reform
Federal Council: Federal Council proposes organ donation reform

In the last Federal Council meeting before the summer break, the states say no to two federal laws. Numerous other proposals are waved through. The Federal Council also starts its own initiatives.

The Federal Council is pushing for a change in organ donation rules to enable more transplants. The Chamber of States decided to submit a bill to the Bundestag for the introduction of an opt-out solution. A similar initiative has already been made there.

In its last session before the summer break, the Federal Council approved numerous laws that had already been passed by the Bundestag, including the new rules for the post office and for cannabis limits while driving. However, the Fertilizer Act and the Building Statistics Act failed for the time being.

Countries want opt-out solution for transplants

According to the draft bill by the states, all people with a registered address in Germany should be considered organ donors after death – unless there is an objection declared during their lifetime or an “opposing will” of the deceased. Currently, organ removal is only permitted with explicit consent. In the Bundestag itself, a cross-party group of MPs recently presented a similar draft bill.

More organs such as kidneys, livers or hearts for seriously ill patients have been urgently needed for years. Last year, 965 people released one or more organs for others after their death, according to the coordinating German Organ Transplant Foundation. At the same time, however, 8,400 people were on waiting lists.

Cannabis limits for drivers

Following the legalization of cannabis, the limits for drivers have now been set – similar to those for alcohol behind the wheel. The law specifies a limit of 3.5 nanograms per milliliter of blood for the intoxicating substance THC. There are stricter rules for novice drivers and for the consumption of both cannabis and alcohol.

Anyone who intentionally or negligently drives with 3.5 nanograms of THC or more generally risks a fine of 500 euros and a one-month driving ban. If alcohol was also consumed, the penalty is generally 1,000 euros. For new drivers, the same applies as for alcohol: there is an absolute ban during the two-year driving license probation period and for those under 21.

Reform of the outdated postal law

The postal law is being comprehensively revised for the first time since 1997 and adapted to the new circumstances. These include the fact that people write far fewer letters today. Everyday communication takes place via emails and chats. As a result, Deutsche Post will be under significantly less time pressure to deliver letters in the future. Up to now, 80 percent of mailed items have to reach the recipient on the next working day, but this requirement has been dropped. Instead, the following now applies: 95 percent of letters must have arrived on the third working day after posting and 99 percent on the fourth working day.

Thumbs down on the fertilizer law

With the rejection by the Federal Council, changes to the fertilizer regulations for farmers to protect groundwater have failed for the time being. The traffic light coalition’s law is intended, among other things, to create a basis for checking and evaluating fertilizer data from farms. Monitoring is intended to determine how effective the fertilizer requirements are. Brandenburg’s Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) criticized the large amount of bureaucracy and expressed doubts about the necessity of the planned data collection. If the federal government still wants to save the law, it would have to call on the mediation committee of the Bundestag and Bundesrat.

Mediation Committee on the Building Construction Statistics Act

The Federal Council itself called in the mediation committee on the Building Statistics Act. The states want the federal government to fundamentally revise the law. They welcome the fact that a better overview of developments in housing construction is to be obtained. However, they do not believe that they and the municipalities are in a position, in terms of organization, personnel and technology, to implement the law within the transitional periods provided for. A main point of criticism in this case too: additional and more frequent reporting requirements lead to a considerable additional bureaucratic burden.

Dispute over digital pact for schools

The states are keeping up the pressure on the federal government in the struggle to further equip schools with digital technology. In a resolution, they called on the federal government to immediately conclude the necessary administrative agreement for a Digital Pact 2.0. The federal government must ensure funds of at least 1.3 billion euros annually for the entire funding period from 2025 to 2030.

“If we really want to continue the joint success story of the Digital Pact for Schools, then we now need a clear commitment from the federal government – at least on the scale of the first digital pact,” said Bremen’s head of government Andreas Bovenschulte (SPD). “It’s about the necessary digital education boost. The federal government must not delay implementation any longer,” stressed Hesse’s Minister of Education Armin Schwarz (CDU). On behalf of the federal government, State Secretary for Education Jens Brandenburg (FDP) played the ball back into the states’ court: “It is not the federal government that is putting the brakes on.”

Maternity protection also in the event of miscarriages

In a resolution, the Federal Council called on the federal government to introduce protection periods for women who have miscarried in accordance with the Maternity Protection Act. This should be a voluntary entitlement in order to take into account the individual circumstances and needs of those affected. Maternity protection in the event of miscarriages should begin well before the 20th week of pregnancy and be extended depending on the length of the pregnancy. To date, there is only a right to 18 weeks of maternity protection and maternity benefit if the child weighs at least 500 grams or if the 24th week of pregnancy has been reached.

Source: Stern

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