After over a two-hour emergency session, the Senate followed—at exactly 6pm Friday—the House of Representatives’ adoption of a new resolution that would pave the way for the disbursement of over $40 million in remaining defined benefit plan employee contributions.
Senators adopted House Joint Resolution 18-11, House Draft 1, almost three hours after the House adopted it.
The Senate vote came only after senators dissolved into a committee of the whole to ask Attorney General Joey Patrick San Nicolas about the original joint resolution, particularly one of its “Be it resolved” clauses that attorneys for plaintiff Betty Johnson find unacceptable.
Sen. Pete Reyes (Ind-Saipan), during discussion, said he finds it “unusual” and “unheard of” that the lawyers for a plaintiff suing the CNMI government and billing it exorbitant fees would “dictate” what the Legislature can and cannot put in a resolution that is deemed meeting “legislative approval” under the Fund settlement agreement.
The AG made it clear that the removal of the problematic clause makes it clear that the Legislature has approved the settlement agreement.
Passage of the new resolution that does not contain the problematic clause also does not take away the Legislature’s authority or rights, senators were also assured.
The NMI Retirement Fund is expected to disburse the DB employee contributions next week, as a result of the House and Senate’s adoption of a new resolution.
Full story on Monday.