Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang said a bill seeking to amend the Commonwealth Litter Control Act is good but he recommended “improvements” before its passage.
House Bill 19-26, introduced by Rep. Angel Demapan (R-Saipan), wants to amend certain sections of Public Law 6-37 or the Commonwealth Litter Control Act of 1989.
Apatang said he supports the bill as it is the Saipan Mayor’s Office’s priority to beautify the islands.
However, he said that while his office doesn’t object being made responsible for picking up, removing, and disposing of road kill that the Department of Public Safety has moved from traffic, the operation needs to be funded.
“The bill does not provide for funding this added responsibility that our office will be charged with should the Legislature pass the bill and the governor enacts it into law,” he said.
“Despite the bill granting the administrator of the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality control over the funds to be deposited in a special account for the purpose of carrying out the intent of the bill, we believe the Legislature should define how the deposits should be allocated among the agencies listed in the that have similar responsibilities,” he added.
Agencies included in H.B. 19-26 are the apprehending officers that include employees from BECQ, Department of Lands and Natural Resources, Department of Public Works, Division of Public Health, Office of the Mayor, DPS, and Department of Public Land.
In other words, Apatang means that funding should be provided to fund the operation of the mayor’s office for pick up, removal, and disposal of carcasses.
Apatang also said that as part of one section on amending the Litter Control Act, one could “competently perform” without the assistance of the other. As part of the H.B. 19-26 amendment, DPS should inform the Saipan Mayor’s Office after removing the carcass of a dead animal in traffic.
“We believe the concern for the safety of the employees of the Office of the Mayor is not the real compelling reason for including it in the removal and disposal of carcasses, as the employees [mayor’s office] still pullover alongside busy roadways, exit from their vehicles, and pick up carcasses,” Apatang said.
“We recommend increasing the not-to-exceed eight hours penalty that a business and others, as described in the bill, must perform upon being found to have committed an infraction…setting a not-to-exceed ceiling might result in the government picking up the tab for cleaning up the remaining litter after a business or others have performed eight hours of clean up,” he added.