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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Flashback Oct. 24, 2000-2002

Oct. 24, 2000

No conflict of interest in fed funding

Special Assistant for Administration Jose I. Deleon Guerrero yesterday maintained that the Division of Environmental Quality can still protect the interest of the Commonwealth even if it is receiving funding for the salaries of its 25 employees from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Assistant Attorney General Murphy Peterson has criticized the failure of DEQ to cooperate with the Attorney General’s Office in providing documentation concerning polychlorinated biphenyl contamination in Tanapag. Mr. Murphy said the fact that EPA is paying the salaries of some 25 DEQ personnel, including Director Ignacio Cabrera, has caused tremendous conflict of interest, a view which he said is shared by the DEQ chief.

New law grants 10-year reprieve on NMHC’s loan

The Northern Marianas Housing Corporation is hoping to finally achieve its target of sealing 1,000 home loan packages by the end of next year, following the passage of legislation granting the agency a 10-year reprieve on the payment of its $10 million loan to the Marianas Public Land Trust. NMHC Board Chair John S. Tenorio said the signing of House Bill 12-171 into public law will expand the opportunity of many Northern Marianas families to achieve home ownership through the agency’s loan programs. The new law guarantees that payment of NMHC’s loans, which was sealed through Public Law 10-29, be paid out of the revenues MPLT turns into the General Fund each year. It also grants NMHC a 10-year moratorium on the repayment of $10 million to the CNMI.

Oct. 24, 2001

New law bans phosphates use in NMI

Eight weeks after being passed by the Legislature, Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio scored one point for Mother Earth after signing into law a measure that would prohibit the use of cleaning agents containing phosphates in the CNMI. Besides banning the sale, manufacture, distribution, and use of detergents containing phosphate, House Bill 12-167 also grants the Division of Environmental Quality the power to pass rules and regulations necessary to regulate the sale and use of phosphorus base chemicals. The measure, primarily authored by Rep. Rosiky F. Camacho, now goes down the CNMI statutory books as Public Law 12-66. Before this, the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands had been actively lobbying for the passage of the bill.

NMI beefs up public housing program

First-time homebuyers can now start laying the bricks in their very first dream house, after Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio yesterday signed into law a bill that would give moderate-income earners the chance to avail of financing to buy their homes. House Bill 12-114, which establishes the Mortgage Credit Certificate Program as an enabling law to the 1984 Tax Reform Act, will now be referred to as Public Law 12-68. In his transmittal letter to legislative leaders, Tenorio said he “fully supports the concept of assisting our moderate income people in financing the purchase of their homes.” Under the new law, the program will be set up under the Northern Marianas Housing Corp., which would make available a Mortgage Credit Certificate to qualified first-time homebuyers.

Oct. 24, 2002

House to meet with MPLA on homestead moratorium

The House Committee on Natural Resources will meet with the Marianas Public Lands Authority today to tackle the moratorium on homestead applications imposed by the MPLA Board last August. Rep. Arnold Palacios, chair of the Natural Resources Committee, yesterday expressed the need to know the reasons behind the board action, which, he said, needs some clarification. “They said it’s an indefinite moratorium so we want a definition of what they specifically meant by indefinite,” added the committee chair.

CPA wants financial relief in place of port fee waiver

The Commonwealth Ports Authority is seeking the Tinian Legislative Delegation’s assistance for a financial relief in lieu of the granting of the passenger fee waiver request. This, according to CPA Executive Director Carlos H. Salas, would help the ports authority to effectively operate the Tinian seaport despite the anticipated reduction in revenue due to the requested waiver on passenger fee. Salas said the Tinian delegation proposal will be taken up in the upcoming CPA Board meeting. “The Board has to consider carefully the financial relief and where to get the funds.”

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