Belatedly, laws may pass

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Belatedly, laws may pass

The government and opposition parties are set to open a “one-point National Assembly meeting” on March 18. The single-day session will be held to pass bills related to public welfare that were not handled at the provisional session in February. Legislation of sexual assault-related bills such as the electronic ankle bracelet law connected to the case of Kim Kil-tae will be considered.

It is extremely unusual for the current National Assembly, which holds provisional sessions once every other month, to open such a meeting. However, this is already the second one this year. In January, a one-point National Assembly session was held to take care of the “income-contingent loan” bill when public opinion grew heated as the date for registration of new students got closer. Considering the background of the two cases, it is difficult not to lament about how insensitive the National Assembly is to public welfare.

The only thing the National Assembly did in February was verbally spar over the Sejong City problem. On March 2, the last day of the provisional session, Democratic Party assemblymen left because the “school physical education bill” was voted down, and the Grand National Party was left with a lack of members to meet quorum and was not able to do anything about it.

As a result, the 39 public welfare bills proposed at the session were left pending for no reason. As public opinion has stirred since then, the Assembly is now saying it will open a one-point session. Will lawmakers work only under such pressure?

If the National Assembly had passed the “electronic ankle bracelet law” earlier, an innocent young child might have escaped rape and death. In December 2008, when the Cho Du-sun case happened, the government and opposition parties presented numerous bills to prevent child sexual assault. However, except for the gene bank law, around 20 bills rest on the desk of the Judiciary Committee. Lawmakers simply tried to cater to public opinion but were ultimately insensitive to the pains of children.

Of course, a thorough examination is necessary because even a debate on whether the ankle bracelet law constitutional has arisen. Some say it is unclear whether the issue will be handled at the one-point session because of this.

However, the Assembly has not reviewed the issue. Lawmakers started political battles whenever they were idle, yet are suddenly acting busy now because of a controversy. The judgment of the people will follow. Mistrust of the National Assembly and assemblymen is sky-high. Aren’t the lawmakers ashamed to walk around wearing their assembly badges?

They really have to change.
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