Rota lawmakers passed yesterday six local bills that included a $200,000 appropriation for the Rota Casino Gaming Commission, $49,500 in poker license fees to be used for Rota government and private programs, and a Rota resident identification card program.
The six local bills now head to Gov. Eloy S. Inos for action.
The three other local bills that passed would amend the Rota Dog Control Act, repeal the law establishing a Medical Assistance Board for Rota, and amend a local law to remove reserved fund for retroactive payment as the fiscal year 2014 law already gives $200,000 for such a purpose.
The Rota Legislative Delegation chaired by Rep. Teresita Santos (R-Saipan) passed each of the local bills by a vote of 3-0.
Sen. Juan M. Ayuyu (Ind-Rota) was absent from the delegation on his last day as a member of the 18th Senate yesterday. Senate President Ralph Torres (R-Saipan) said he will be sending the governor a certificate of vacancy in the Senate today.
Besides Santos, the two other delegation members at the session were vice chair and Senate Vice President Victor Hocog (R-Rota) and Sen. Jovita Taimanao (Ind-Rota).
The first measure to pass at 3:06pm was Hocog’s Senate Local Bill 18-1 that dissolves the Medical Assistance Board on Rota.
This was followed, at 3:19pm, by the passage of Hocog’s SLB 18-2, to remove a provision that reserves half of poker license fee increases for retroactive salary payments. Santos, Hocog and Taimanao approved the bill as $200,000 is already reserved for this purpose in the 2014 budget law.
After a long discussion, the delegation also passed at 3:39pm Santos’ House Local Bill 18-17 Draft 1, establishing a Rota Resident Identification Card Program.
Hocog’s amendments to the local bill included raising the fee for a new or renewal ID card from the original $5 to $10, as well as adding a U.S. Social Security card to the list of documents that an applicant can show or provide while applying for an ID card.
A minute later or at 3:40pm, the delegation also passed Santos’ HLB 18-23, amending the Rota Dog Control Act to include a $5 fine if dog owners do not register their dogs within five days from receipt of a warning from the Rota Municipal Council, among other things.
$200,000 mostly for commissioners’ salaries
Rota lawmakers also passed at 3:51pm Santos’ HLB 18-28, appropriating $200,000 for the Rota Casino Gaming Commission’s operations and activities for fiscal year 2013.
Most or $163,520.14 of this amount is appropriated for the salaries of past and present commissioners and executive director. Salaries owed range from $6,923.07 to $41,225.93.
Based on the bill, Ephrem S. Taimanao is owed the most at $41,225.93, followed by current chair Laura I. Manglona with $39,015.23.
Also owed are Abelina T. Mendiola, $23,014.40; Kelvin O. Hocog, $17,884.60; Vicente M. Atalig, $15,225.95; Alfredo Antolin, $11,000; Diego M. Songao, $9,230.96; and Justin S. Manglona, $6,923.07.
The bill also appropriates $26,000 for the Torres Brothers Law Firm; $6,000 for operation; $1,479.86 for a digital camera and recorder; and $3,000 for communication.
At 4:02pm, Rota lawmakers also passed Santos’ HLB 18-31, D1 appropriating $49,500 from poker license fees on Rota for patients’ monthly subsistence allowance, different programs and activities on the island.
Of the total amount, $30,900 is for the Department of Finance to provide monthly subsistence for Rota residents undergoing dialysis and treatment for terminal illness outside Rota.
Another $10,000 is for the Rota mayor’s contingency fund for the annual fiestas.
Rota lawmakers also approved $5,000 for the Rota Municipal Council for fly traps and other programs.
They also approved $1,000 for Grace Christian Academy and $1,000 for Eskuelan San Francisco De Borja School. The remaining $1,600 is for the Rota Annual Fishing Derby.