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Wed, Jan 10, 2001 - Page 3 News List

New cable TV law likely to stand

COMMUNICATIONS Although local governments are unhappy with the legislation, it is unlikely that the Legislative Yuan will take matters into its own hands to reconsider the law which gives fee oversight powers to the central government

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

Technicians remove illegally installed cable TV cables in this file photo from last year. Taipei City and most local governments have expressed opposition to the passing last Thursday of amendments to the Cable TV Law, which they say centralizes authority in overseeing cable TV operators.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

Despite strong opposition from local governments, it is likely that new amendments to the Cable Television Law (有線廣播電視法) will be implemented as planned. That is, unless the Legislative Yuan makes a move on its own to reconsider the changes it has just passed.

The legislature's speaker, Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), yesterday said that instead of the Executive Yuan making a move to reconsider amendments to the cable TV law, it is better that legislators raise a motion to reconsider the amendments themselves. However, the motion must be raised in time before the amendments are sent to the president for promulgation.

"We will not send them to the president if we receive such a motion. Otherwise, we will follow normal procedures," Wang said.

The amendments are expected to be sent out by Monday at the latest.

The recent amendments, which transferred the power to supervise fee structure formulation for cable television from local governments to the central government, have triggered strong backlash from some local governments, especially the Taipei City Government.

According to the Standing Order of the Legislative Yuan (立法院議事規則), after legislation is passed, lawmakers can still raise a motion to reconsider it. But such a motion must be endorsed by at least 40 legislators and raised before the conclusion of the following Legislative Yuan meeting.

In this case, however, as the controversial amendments were passed on Jan. 4 during the final meeting of the last legislative session, the motion must be raised before the amendments are sent to the Presidential Office.

The legislature is currently in recess and will not meet again until Feb. 20.

As of yesterday, no lawmakers had expressed an intention to raise a motion to reconsider the amendments.

Ruling and opposition lawmakers said they prefer revising the law again in the future if the amendments are proven to be infeasible.

"Even if there are problems, we can still amend the law again. It is unnecessary to seek a reconsideration," said Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), chief executive of the DPP legislative caucus.

Cheng Yung-chin (鄭永金), KMT caucus whip, said the KMT expects the Executive Yuan to return the amendments to the legislature in light of the strong reaction from local governments.

"The ideal situation would be if the Executive Yuan requests the legislature to reconsider the amendments. If the Executive Yuan does not do so, there will still be chances to amend the law again in the future," Cheng said.

Though the Executive Yuan can return a bill passed by the legislature and request the legislature to reconsider it within 10 days after it is submitted to the Executive Yuan, Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) has ruled out this possibility.

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