Controversial grain bill put directly to plenary meeting for vote

A controversial grain bill requiring government intervention to stabilize rice prices was put directly to a plenary meeting Thursday after a parliamentary standing committee controlled by the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) unilaterally passed it. The DP-controlled parliamentary agriculture, food, rural affairs, oceans and fisheries committee railroaded the motion to table the revision to the Grain Management Act to a plenary session, along with four other bills, while the ruling People Power Party boycotted the vote in protest. The bill requires the government to take measures, such as buying surplus rice or releasing government stocks, if rice prices fall or rise sharply. It is a toned-down version of a similar bill that President Yoon Suk Yoel vetoed and was ultimately scrapped last year. Since February, the bill has been pending at the parliamentary legislation and judiciary committee. A bill pending at the judiciary committee for over 60 days can be sent to a plenary session with consent from t hree-fifths of standing committee members. Source: Yonhap News Agency