Sat, Jan 14, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Legislature passes slew of amendments

BUSY DAY In a frantic last day, the legislature passed amendments to a number of laws, including one which allows enforcement officers to investigate or indict the president

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Frank Hsieh, center left, meets Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, center right, yesterday to thank the legislature for its efforts.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

The legislature passed amendments to a number of laws yesterday, including amendments to the Organic Law of the Courts (法院組織法), which allow enforcement officers to investigate or indict the president, the vice president and the five presidents of the Executive Yuan, Legislative Yuan, Control Yuan, Examination Yuan and the Judicial Yuan.

The amended Organic Law of the Courts will also stipulate that any future choices for the position of state public prosecutor-general, usually nominated and assigned by the president, must be authorized by the legislature before they can take the oath of office in the future.

A new body, called the "special investigation task force," will be established under the Supreme Court Prosecutors' Office, according to the amended law.

The idea for the "special investigation task force" came from the "independent counsel" mechanism in the US.

The task force will consist of more than six but less than 15 senior prosecutors and the director will be assigned by the state public prosecutor-general. The task force will be in charge of investigating all cases that concern the president, vice president, the presidents of the five government bodies, Cabinet members and general-level military personnel.

As for the four-year term state public prosecutor-general's position, the president will also submit his nomination to the legislature for final approval in the future. There is no re-nomination for this position but the state public prosecutor-general will be allowed to return to his or her former office if he or she is not due to retire.

Minister of Justice Morley Shih (施茂林) yesterday welcomed the amendment.

flood bill passes

The Statute Governing Flood Management (水患治理特別條例) also passed, for which a budget of NT$116 billion (US$3.6 billion) will be allocated over eight years for construction of anti-flood infrastructure and management.

Amendments to the Public Officials Election and Recall Law (公職人員選舉罷免法) were also passed yesterday, which stipulate that for future legislative elections, the Central Election Committee must submit any changes to constituencies to the legislature for approval before they are carried out.

Further more, the submission must be made 20 months ahead of election day.

The amended law also stipulates that the candidate who comes second in a constituency will automatically succeed the winner if they should be convicted of vote-buying or related crimes.

"I think these two amendments will definitely help to further eradicate corrupt practices from elections," said Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip William Lai (賴清德).

The amendment of Article Eight of the Business Tax Law (營業稅法) was also approved yesterday. It stipulates that products that are sold and displayed at markets owned by farm and fishing associations will not be charged business tax.

The approval of the amended Company Law (公司法) yesterday will help companies simplify and speed up the process of re-construction measures, so that companies can continue with their business as soon as possible, instead of going bankrupt.

The Organic Law of the Indigenous People Committee (原住民委員會組織條例) was also amended, which ensures that all of Taiwan's 12 indigenous tribes will possess at least one seat on the committee.

According to amendments made yesterday to the Railway Law (鐵路法), train drivers must carry their driver's licenses to work in the future.

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