House Speaker Joseph Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan) has named three House conferees that will work with their Senate counterparts on a compromise electronic gaming bill, while Gov. Eloy S. Inos called on lawmakers to send him revenue-generating bills that will help the NMI Retirement Fund and other programs.
The speaker appointed Ways and Means Committee chair Tony Sablan (Ind-Saipan) to once again chair the House conferees on House Bill 18-51, House Draft 4, Senate Substitute 1, along with Reps. John Paul Sablan (Cov-Saipan) and Mario Taitano (Ind-Saipan), chair of the Special Committee on Retirement Fund.
Senate President Ralph Torres (R-Saipan) said as of yesterday, he has yet to name Senate conferees on the electronic gaming bill.
Rep. Tony Sablan said the conferees are expected to include a provision earmarking gaming proceeds.
The revenue-generating bill amends the definition of gambling device to exclude electronic gaming machines.
These machines will be installed only at Saipan hotels with at least 100 rooms or those attached to a golf course.
Sablan said when he introduced the electronic gaming bill in April, his intention was to earmark practically everything to the NMI Retirement Fund to prolong its lifespan but recent events—specifically a Retirement Fund settlement agreement that includes a 25 percent deferment of retirees’ pension—require the Legislature to come up with revenue-generating bills to pay the deferred pension.
The speaker said now that the $123.4-million budget bill for fiscal year 2014 is with the governor, the House can focus more on revenue-generating bills.
In today’s House session, the House is expected to tackle a video lottery bill, a revenue-generating bill that the administration has requested.