As stipulated in the Constitution,
the Legislative Yuan is the nation's highest law-making body.
It is composed of legislators elected by the people
to make laws on their behalf.
In other words,
legislators represent the people to approve and amend laws,
review budgetary bills, supervise the administration
and voice their opinions.
Through the legislators,
the rights of all citizens are protected regardless of
their gender, religion, ethnicity, class or political party.
Everyone can thus enjoy equality, democracy, freedom and human rights,
and in this way the Legislative Yuan
stands as a strong guardian of the people.
Democracy, freedom and human rights are the essential universal values.
Through decades of struggle did our nation achieve its
current economic progress and prosperity,
as well as democracy and freedom.
Today, the protection of human rights
is an idea shared by both the government and the people.
The Legislative Yuan played a crucial role in this
by passing related laws and budgetary bills.
Its resolve to create a democracy in which the rule of law prevails
has been the driving force behind our national progress.
The power exercised by the Legislative Yuan
comes from the people,
so serving the people is its highest principle.
How to improve people's life by meeting their needs and expectations
is a constant challenge for the Legislative Yuan.
If the people desire reformation,
the Legislative Yuan must continue to push for reforms on their behalf.
Looking into the future,
there are still many tasks ahead of us.
But I do believe that by working together,
the government can function following the rules stipulated
in the Constitution.
The nation will then make further progress
and people's fortune will increase even more.
I hope the Legislative Yuan
will continue to have everyone's
support and encouragement as it pursues its tasks.
Members of the Legislative Yuan are elected by the people.
They supervise the administrative sectors of the government,
review legislative bills,
and push for increased political transparency.
They represent their constituencies
and have to research on relevant issues carefully
before making decisions.
Plenary sessions of the Legislative Yuan are held
Tuesdays and Fridays.
Committee meetings are held Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays
when all 8 committees convene.
Records are kept for all official proceedings,
and are shortly published in the official gazette.
The proceedings are released in both printed and CD-ROM versions,
and can also be found on the Yuan's website,
for public convenience.
These data bear witness to the democratic progress
and parliamentary procedures of the Republic of China.
The Legislative Yuan has the power to decide upon
statutory and budgetary bills, declare martial law,
grant amnesty, declare war, conclude peace, conclude treaties,
exercise the power of consent over
State President's personnel nominations,
and resolve important national issues.
The power of consent applies to:
President, Vice President
and Grand Justices of the Judicial Yuan;
President, Vice President
and members of the Examination and Control Yuans;
Auditor General of the Control Yuan,
members of the National Communications Commission,
and Prosecutor General of the Supreme Prosecutors' Office.
The first step of legislation is bill proposal
including bills or amendments proposed by the government
whereby the title of each bill is announced in the plenary session
and sent to relevant committees for deliberations.
This is the first reading.
The committees review the referred bill and
report before the plenary session for discussions and debates.
When the bill is discussed and decided upon,
the second reading is complete.
In the third reading,
the bill is scrutinized to ensure that it is not self-contradictory,
unconstitutional or in conflict with other laws.
At this stage, only verbal changes can be made to the bill.
Statutory and budgetary bills passed are referred to
the State President for promulgation.
Currently, the functions of the Legislative Yuan caucus are to realize their respective political ideals, to fulfill their promises to the electorate, and to integrate the viewpoints of party members. Each party elects a caucus whip to participate in inter-party negotiations in the legislature. These negotiations between different party caucuses provide an opportunity for different political positions to reconcile so as to reach a consensus. They therefore play an important role in promoting harmony and efficiency in the parliamentary procedures, and enhancing positive interactions of political parties.
Legislators have the right to interpellate the premier, the ministers and heads of commissions under the Executive Yuan. They also express their opinions regarding national issues in the National Issue Forum at the beginning of each Yuan sitting. They can introduce impromptu motions on urgent issues and refer to the session for resolution. For the purpose of reviewing bills assigned at the plenary session, the respective committees may hold public hearings in compliance with the Constitution. Minutes of hearings are kept as references for specific bills.
Chapter III: Major Bills
The Legislative Yuan has worked with great efficiency in recent years in making new laws and amending existing ones. In this way, it is the advocate for social improvement. The 5th Legislative Yuan, for instance, has passed 611 bills between 2002 and 2005, including 1 constitutional amendment, 471 statutory bills, 17 budgetary bills, 9 final accounts bills, 5 involving conclusions of treaties, 66 abrogation bills, 6 exercising the powers of consent, 3 reconsiderations of bills, 4 internal regulations and 29 others. In addition, 1,154 public petitions were handled.
Important statutory bills passed since the 4th Legislative Yuan are numerous:
In the domain of political reform, the 4th Legislative Yuan passed the "Enactment of Referendum Law" to hold public referendums on issues of national importance. This permits the direct participation of the people, thus realizing the democratic principle of popular sovereignty. The political rights of the people therefore have evolved from indirect participation to direct participation. The "Political Fundraising Law" was also passed around the same time whereby political donations were properly regulated and managed to assure fair and just political activities and the healthy development of democracy.
A constitutional amendment was passed on August 23, 2004, and resolved at the National Assembly on June 7, 2005. From the 7th Legislative Yuan, the seats of legislators shall be reduced to 113 and the term changed to four years. The electoral system shall be changed to a two-vote, single-constituency model, and the National Assembly was dissolved. In the future, all constitutional amendments shall be subject to referendums.
Regarding statutory and budgetary bills, the Legislative Yuan passed the "Equal Employment Law for Both Genders" to protect the rights of female workers, and the passage of "Provisional Statute for the Welfare and Sustenance Allowance for Senior Citizens" permits senior citizens to be better provided for. In the domain of public health, the Legislative Yuan has passed the "Enactment of Provisional Statute for the Control, Prevention and Relief of SARS," whereby a special budget of 50 billion NTD was allotted that contributed to the swift control of the epidemic.
The Legislative Yuan passed the "Child and Juvenile Welfare Law" to promote physical and mental health of children and adolescents, and protect their rights and benefits. The "Statute for Implementing Alternative Military Service" assures the better operations of the alternative military service system. 7 laws regulating the financial sectors were amended and passed, augmenting penalties to prevent financial crimes.
To protect retired workers, boost the economy and increase employment opportunities, the Legislative Yuan passed the "Statute for Laborer's Pension" and the "Special Statute for Expanding Investment in Public Construction Projects." The "Law Protecting the Physically and Mentally Disabled" was passed to create fair opportunities for the underprivileged to participate in society. The "Special Statute for Tackling Flooding" and "Special Statute for Dredging Shi-Men Dam and its Catchment Area" were passed to accelerate flood and landslide controls in flood-prone areas, aiming to protect water resources for residential and industrial consumptions, and to improve the daily life of the people.
Chapter IV: Serving the people
In addition to their efforts to supervise the government, legislators frequently visit their constituencies to understand the needs of their electorates. Concerned about the severe damages brought about by the September 21 earthquake and Typhoon Nelly, they worked almost round-the-clock to help the victims and bring timely relief. They also passed special budgets within a short time for the prevention of SARS, so as to stabilize society, greatly shaken by the threat of the epidemic.
Legislators have also shown concerns for sporadic outbreaks of avian flu worldwide and urged the government to tighten control against bird trafficking, prepare for the epidemic, and educate the people about its prevention. Legislators traveled around the world to drum up support for Taiwan's bid to join the WHO, so that Taiwan can work with the international community to fight the epidemic.
Legislators also assisted the people to make petitions, taking as their priority the need and request of the people. They take the lead in public welfare events, fund raising, and donations to charity groups. They advocated the "Unburdening Your Schoolbags" campaign to release school kids from excessive and unnecessary pressure, for their mental and physical health. We also see legislators at the sites of major construction projects, inspecting the progress and demonstrating their concerns for the quality and safety of the projects. They pay attention to community infrastructures and urban development plans. They feel the pain of the people and fight for the rights of minority groups.
They designed better social welfare programs for senior citizens by allotting pensions and building more senior housing to better take care of them. For the benefit of women and children, they held press conferences and called for more public space and facilities for nursery care and baby feeding. They showed their concerns for new immigrants, assisted in their naturalization and fought for their rights. Legislators also pushed for the passage of the Basic Law of Agriculture to take care of farmers and promote agricultural development. They taxed their brains to help farmers market their products and gave Taiwan's agricultural industry a fresh start. They fought to ensure a proper share of the budget went into national sports so that Taiwan could excel in international sport events and our national banner may fly in the international arena.
Chapter V: e-Parliament:
According to the "Global Information Technology Report" compiled by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2005, Taiwan ranked 7th in global information technology competitiveness, champion of East Asian Tigers. The Legislative Yuan has turned to advanced technology to facilitate the process of legislation with positive results. Technological initiatives include:
"The Conference Multimedia System ," which consists of two large screens located on both sides of the podium. When governmental officials present themselves to be interpellated by lawmakers, the screens provide a multi-media choice for legislators to display the contents of their interpellations. During review sessions, the names of bills, number of articles, lists of members lining up for the floor, and pending statements are displayed on the screens. When statutory and budgetary bills are decided upon with electronic voting, the results are displayed instantly with precision. As such, quality and efficiency of parliamentary proceedings are significantly improved.
"The Committee Conference Multimedia System " allows multimedia display screens to be installed in the committee conference rooms showing lists of lawmakers who register to speak in their accorded order. Lawmakers can broadcast the contents of their presentation via multimedia transmission. They can also access the system in the legislature via PCs, information service stations or PDAs, to gain the most updated information about the speaking order. This system helps lawmakers arrange their schedule and check the progress of the sittings, so as to enhance their performance and efficiency during parliamentary sessions.
By linking their PDAs with the "The Broadband and Wireless Network System ," lawmakers can access "The Legislative Yuan Mobility System " for applications and personal information management to enhance service to their voters.
"The Video on Demand Multimedia System " allows lawmakers to monitor the progress of plenary sessions and committee meetings via PCs, PDAs and the Internet. This promotes the facility and transparency of parliamentary proceedings.
"The Legislative Yuan World Wide Web " connects the parliament with the public. Here, profiles of lawmakers, lists of bills they proposed during their terms, updates, live bulletin boards, audiovisual data, message boards, online forums and related information are provided. It enables further public participation, opens up another channel to collect public opinion, and familiarizes the public to be familiar with the work of legislators.
The "Work of Research by Organic Laws and Statutes Bureau " provides online information about research, analysis, evaluation and consultation on policies and statutory bills for the reference of legislators.
The "Work of Research by Budget Center " contains online information on the budgeting, final accounts and related bills of the central government for the reference of lawmakers.
The "Agenda and Gazette Management System " contains digital information on the agenda of sessions and various contents, including bills in readings, minutes, particulars and resolutions of the committee sessions for index searches and file downloads so that users may access the latest announcements.
"The Voter Service System " provides directories of the electorates, itineraries, general requests, expense requests, and election campaign information to assists lawmakers in building up a complete database to follow up and manage petition files. This system can also connect with GIS for path finding and other resource searching. The " Voter Service Knowledge Management System ,"a smart data analysis system that applies knowledge management technology, complements the Voter Service System and serves as a great reference for lawmakers in their decision-making process.
The "Legislators' Career in the Parliament " and "Multi-Databases Access System for the LEGISIS ," provide lawmakers with another channel to search for parliamentary proceedings in the Legislative Yuan Library's databases. The "Legislators' Career in the Parliament " offers information on interpellations, statutory bills, impromptu motions and debates on national issues of all legislators from the 1st to the 6th Legislative Yuan. It gives detailed and complete information of each lawmaker's contribution to the country. The "Multi-Databases Access System for the LEGISIS " integrates the parliamentary proceeding system, interpellation system, law system, impromptu motion system, news and knowledge management system, and periodical system of the library for reference search-a convenient way for lawmakers to search for parliamentary proceedings.
The "Legislative Yuan Global Legal Information Network " offers the most authoritative and complete official information network so that lawmakers can exchange relevant information and know-how with other governments at the initial stage of legislation.
The Legislative Yuan is the highest legislative body of the Republic of China. Therefore, the application and security of its information are safeguarded with the highest priority. Accordingly, the "Auxiliary Information Center " has been installed to prevent system failure due to hardware failure or system interruption resulting from natural disasters. The system can be switched or interchanged very quickly and this allows uninterrupted use of information service, with backup support from a remote site.