One more approval and Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association can move forward.
NMASA will need only the Senate’s nod after the House passed House Bill 18-111 last week. The measure which is known as the Northern Marianas Sports Act of 2013 and introduced by Rep. Tony Sablan (IR-Saipan), will allow the association to take over the management and maintenance of the Oleai Sports Complex and be recognized as a private non-profit corporation.
The bill would also repeal Public Law 4-66 that created NMASA in 1984 and Executive Order 94-3, which placed NMASA under the wing of Department of Cultural and Community Affairs’ Division of Sports and Recreation.
Staffs from DSR, which has been dissolved after it was not included on the budget for fiscal year 2014 passed by the lawmakers last month, have already moved out of the complex, while NMASA has designated acting executive director Tony Rogolifoi to manage the facilities. Rogolifoi is seen at the complex almost every day, but he and NMASA have yet to go full blast on its plans and program for the facilities, as they do not want to risk complications that may arise without the approval of House Bill 18-111.
“NMASA is pleased that HB 18-111 has passed the House, and thanks the House and its members for their rapid and favorable consideration of the bill. This bill is urgently needed by NMASA in order to enable us to carry out the duties and responsibilities assigned to us by law, and to provide programs and facilities for the sporting community of the CNMI. We urge the Senate to act favorably on this bill as soon as possible,” NMASA president Michael White said in an email to Saipan Tribune.
Sablan introduced the NMASA bill in August this year and before that two more similar measures were drafted about two years ago. Sablan’s bill retained majority of the provisions in the public law that created NMASA such as the group’s exclusive jurisdiction (directly or through constituent members or committees) on the CNMI’s participation to regional and international competitions. However, the Oleai takeover, independence from DCCA, levying of fees for usage of facilities, awarding of vending and advertising rights, and operation of a public lottery provisions are keys to NMASA’s bid to function on its own, raising funds to support its operations and programs.
NMASA will initially operate on the allocated $193, 228 approved under the fiscal year 2014 budget bill that was turned into Public Law 18-18 on Sept. 18.