Fri, Jan 14, 2000 - Page 1 News List

Legislature in a rush to finish its business

FINAL PASSAGE A dozen laws need to be pushed through their third and final reading before the current legislative session ends. It's set to be an all-nighter

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

They're likely to be burning the midnight oil at the legislature tonight. After having pushed a total of nine out of a planned 26 laws past their third and final readings yesterday, the Legislative Yuan has scheduled another 12 for today, the final day of the current session.

But lawmakers said that the 17 bills they had not managed to pass yesterday would not be brought back today and would have to wait until the next session, which begins in February, for their final reading.

Yesterday's action was the result of marathon negotiations throughout the day, after which all three major parties and independents reached a consensus to pass 37 bills within the last two days of the current session.

That consensus, however, was briefly disturbed by KMT lawmaker Chen Hsueh-sheng (陳學聖), a spokesman for KMT presidential candidate Lien Chan (連戰), who requested that the Trust Law (信託業法) also be passed during this session.

Lien has vowed to put all the KMT's assets into trust as soon as possible and Minister of Finance Paul Chiu (邱正雄) has said that in order to accomplish such a task, new laws must be passed, as well as reviews and possible amendments made to at least six important tax laws.

Opposition parties insisted, however, that the Trust Law needs to be passed as a package along with three other related laws, including the Political Party Law (政黨法), the Lobby Law (遊說法) and the Political Donation Law (政治獻金法).

"The DPP will not allow the passage of the Trust Law alone just to boost Lien's reputation," said Hsieh Chi-ta (謝啟大), a New Party lawmaker.

Lawmakers from the DPP and New Party both threatened to filibuster the full session today if the KMT insists on attempting to pass the law today.

In the end, KMT lawmakers agreed that all four bills should be presented as a full package to be passed in the next session, which begins on February 18.

The 12 bills slated for their third reading today include five important draft laws: the Coast Guard Administration and Related Laws (海岸巡防法及相關組織法), the Defense Law (國防法), the Defense Organization Law (國防部組織法), Regulations for Establishment and Management of National Stabilization Funds (國家安定基金設置管理條例) and the Regulations for 921 Earthquake Relief and Reconstruction (921震災重建條例).

As has been the case in the closing days of previous sessions, lawmakers are planning to review bills throughout the night tonight in an effort to get through the backlog.

DPP lawmakers stressed yesterday that the 921 earthquake relief regulations should take priority, followed by the Defense Law and the Defense Organization Law.

"Most earthquake relief and reconstruction tasks cannot be accomplished until the new law passes the third reading," said Lee Ying-yuan (李應元), a DPP caucus leader.

"And the reorganization of Taiwan's defense system, which has for decades been debated among scholars and politicians, should finally be carried out," Lee said.

KMT lawmakers, however, have apparently focused their attention on the Coast Guard Administration law and the proposed law to create the National Stabilization Fund.

Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權), a KMT caucus leader, stressed that smugglers are rampant in the Taiwan Strait and that the problem could worsen unless something is done.

"We have to pass the Coast Guard Administration law as soon as possible," Tseng said.

DPP lawmakers, however, said the Coast Guard should be put under the Ministry of the Interior, not the Executive Yuan and that the rights and responsibilities of coast guard personnel should be limited.

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