Mar. 5, 2004
US lawmaker backs NMI delegate bid
The Northern Marianas’ effort to get a nonvoting delegate status to the U.S. Congress has obtained backing from U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall, who openly supported the bid of Resident Rep. Pete A. Tenorio during the oversight hearing last week. Rahall, a member of the Resource Committee that conducted the hearing, expressed his support for a nonvoting delegate from the Northern Marianas to the U.S. House of Representatives. “I believe it [nonvoting delegate] to be a fundamental tenet of our republican form of government. As members of Congress, representing our respective districts is a privilege granted to us by our constituents. The right for them to be represented lies in democracy,” said Rahall.
House members debate LB expansion
A Senate resolution to increase the Legislative Bureau’s full time employees from 35 to 45 was concurred by the House of Representatives yesterday, but not before a heated debate ensued among members. Arguments raised by some lawmakers were rooted on doubts over the expansion’s aptness given the Legislature’s limited financial resources. At the last minute, Minority Leader Heinz S. Hofschneider moved that the House enter into a committee as a whole to seek justification from LB Executive Director Walter Macaranas. Macaranas affirmed before House members yesterday the need for more professional services.
Mar. 5, 2005
House approves Agingan bill
After a lengthy discussion, the House of Representatives finally approved yesterday the reprogramming of $3.3 million for the needed upgrade of the Agingan wastewater treatment plant on Saipan. Despite hesitation by some members, House Bill 14-286 garnered a resounding 13 “yes” votes and only three “no” votes from Reps. Janet Maratita, Ray Tebuteb, and Benjamin Seman. Some members only agreed to vote on the measure after it was amended to bring it back to its original version. The bill, authored by Vice Speaker Timothy Villagomez, originally sought to reprogram $3.3 million from the Kagman wastewater treatment plant project for the construction of the Agingan ocean outfall and upgrade of the Agingan sewer treatment plant.
Scholarship Office issues $350K in awards
The CNMI Scholarship Office distributed a total of $350,000 in financial assistance to over 150 Northern Marianas College yesterday. Scholarship Office administrator Meliza Guajardo said the 167 recipients got $2,100 each to help them pay for their tuition and other school expenses in the Spring semester. Another batch of the same number of students will receive checks from the Scholarship Office on Friday next week The scholarship program is also available for other local students who are pursuing post-secondary education abroad. There are about the same number of off-island and on-island students receiving help from the Scholarship Office, Guajardo said.
Mar. 5, 2006
CPA reports good, bad news
Total airport revenue declined by 14 percent during the first three months of fiscal year 2006, due in large part to a plunge in aviation and concession fee earnings. According to the Commonwealth Ports Authority, its earnings from aviation plummeted by 18 percent, while its concession fee collections went down by 9 percent. In a report to the CPA board last week, comptroller George Palican said that airport revenue in the CNMI totaled $2.8 million from October to December 2005-a 14-percent decrease from the same period in the last fiscal year. He said that aviation revenue totaled $1.6 million, or $394,232 lower than in FY 2005, while concession revenues totaled $659,896, about $67,808 less than the previous year.
NMI gets $39K for drug treatment in jails, prisons
The Northern Mariana Islands has been awarded $39,755 that will be used to fund treatment for drug and substance addiction among its prisoners and detainees. The funding is part of the $9.6 million that was announced yesterday by the Office of Justice Programs to provide substance abuse treatment to offenders at state and local correctional and detention facilities nationwide. The grants, administered by OJP's Bureau of Justice Assistance, were made through the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Program, which funds the development and implementation of individual and group substance abuse treatment programs for offenders in residential facilities operated by state and local correctional agencies.