With the clock ticking, Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association has renewed its clamor for the passage of a bill that would give the group the important tools to help promote and develop CNMI sports.
House Bill 18-111, which is also known as the “Northern Marianas Sports Act of 2013” was pre-filed by Rep. Antonio Sablan (IR-Saipan) on Aug. 13, 2013 and as of press time has been sitting in the House. It aims to repeal Executive Order 94-3, which placed NMASA under the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs through the Division of Sports and Recreation.
Once approved and become law, NMASA will be called the Northern Marianas Sports Association, a private non-profit corporation, and DCCA will be required to transfer to NMASA unobligated appropriations for the Division of Sports and Recreation, which essentially will be defunct after decades of managing and operating the Oleai Sports Complex.
NMASA will assume the management and operation duties at the Oleai Sports Complex. The takeover is set for Oct. 1 and NMASA moved closer to that goal after Gov. Eloy Inos signed the $123.4-million budget last Wednesday. The budget for fiscal year 2014 includes the P193,228 appropriated to NMASA. The NMASA budget is divided into three with $84,660 going to its personnel (4), $72,568 for operations, and $36,000 for utilities. The amount is higher than the $130,266 NMASA initially requested.
Though the budget has already been approved, NMASA president Michael White said that House Bill 18-111 should be enacted soon to avoid any complications about the Oleai Sports Complex takeover.
“If HB 18-111 is not enacted, that will raise complications which may make it impossible for NMASA to take over on Oct. 1, even if a budget is passed. We hope that the House will act on this important bill without any further delay,” White said.
Besides giving NMASA independence from both DCCA and DSR, the bill will also allow NMASA to raise funds for its operations and other functions. NMASA can get funds through fees from the usage of the facilities and vending and advertising rights at the complex and operation of public lottery. NMASA will also be allowed to accept donations, gifts, legacies, devises, and government appropriations, as stated in Section 105 (Power), lines 22 and 22 of the House Bill 18-111.