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National Assembly passes 89 bills on people's livelihoods, economy

The National Assembly passed 89 bills related to people's livelihoods and the economy Tuesday in the midst of lingering partisan tensions over key reform proposals.


A plenary session was held to put the non-controversial bills up for vote amid persistent political wrangling over key political and judiciary reform bills that were placed on the fast-track despite objections from the main opposition party.

It was the second plenary meeting dedicated to passing legislation during the ongoing parliamentary regular session.

Among the bills the parliament passed were six bills designed to change the status of firefighters to that of central government public servants. The legislation is aimed at operating the fire service policy in a systemic manner and improving treatment of firefighters.

Currently, they belong to provincial governments, and their treatment depends on city and local governments' financial status.

The bills will take effect starting next year.

The National Assembly also passed a bill designed to expand financial support to companies that relocate their overseas operations to South Korea.

Under the so-called U-turn act, the knowledge-based services and tech industries will also receive benefits, on top of manufacturers, and the scope of financial support will be expanded.

But a set of three "big data" bills failed to be put up for vote as they have yet to reach the legislation and judiciary committee, a key panel in charge of the passage of bills.

The proposals are aimed at easing regulations on the use of personal information to promote the advance of the big data economy.

The national human rights watchdog recently raised concerns about the potential infringement of people's privacy, calling for legislative efforts to protect personal information.

 A revised bill of the labor law was submitted to parliament in March in an effort to back up the smooth operation of the 52 hour workweek system. But the bill is still pending.

National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang called for more  legislative efforts to pass key remaining bills during the current regular session that will end on Dec. 10. (Yonhap)