Gov. Eloy S. Inos vetoed Tuesday an anti-price gouging bill for Rota, saying there are already laws in place to prevent price gouging in the entire CNMI when there is a sudden increase in demand or a decrease in supply due to an emergency or disaster.
Inos, however, said he completely agrees with House Local Bill 18-18, Substitute 1’s goal of prohibiting price-gouging on Rota during a state of emergency or disaster.
“I have carefully considered the intent and structure of HLB 18-18, S1 and have decided to veto this legislation,” the governor said in his message to Rota Legislative Delegation chair Rep. Teresita Santos (R-Rota) and House Speaker Joseph Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan).
The governor also said the enforcement and penalty provisions in the Disaster Price Freeze Act of 1996 and the Consumer Protection Act are superior to those proposed in HLB 18-18, S1 “and will therefore better prevent inappropriate and unlawful increases in the prices of consumer products on any basis caused by a natural disaster or other emergency situation.”
Inos said these existing CNMI-wide prohibitions against price-gouging include any such transactions that would happen on Rota and therefore the proper enforcement of existing laws will better prevent illegal pricing of consumer products caused by a natural disaster or other emergency situations.