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Friday, April 18, 2014

Governor signs 3 local laws, 1 customs law

In the presence of lawmakers and other government officials, Gov. Eloy S. Inos signed into law yesterday afternoon a bill establishing the exit of the U.S. Post Office as an official customs entry point so that taxable goods and prohibited contraband coming in via mail will be subject to customs checks. The governor also signed three local laws naming a beach in San Antonio, renaming a street in Chalan Kanoa, and amending the Saipan Zoning Law of 2013.

Rep. John Paul P. Sablan’s (Cov-Saipan) House Bill 18-160, which establishes an official customs point of entry, is now Public Law 18-33.

Customs Services Division officers have limited authority to inspect mail when it arrives at the airport. When a package or letter is delivered to the U.S. Postal Service, it remains under the custody of the U.S. Postal Service until it is delivered to the rightful addressee.

As such, for customs purposes, a package or letter entering the CNMI through the U.S. Postal Service does not officially enter the CNMI until it is until it is out of the U.S. Postal Service custody.

To address this, Sablan, along with eight others, introduced the bill establishing the exit of the U.S. Post Office as an official customs point of entry.

Customs Director Joe Mafnas, in a separate interview at the signing, said the authority to inspect mail is now by law and this makes the Customs Services Division more confident, compared to previous authorization only by regulation.

Local laws

The governor also signed Reps. Ralph Demapan (Cov-Saipan) and John Paul Sablan’s (Cov-Saipan) House Local Bill 18-30, renaming the newly-merged “Haiguas Lane” and “Niyok Drive” in Chalan Kanoa the “Tun Ben Kappon Road” in honor of the late Tun Ben Kappon and his contributions to Precinct 2 and the people of the CNMI.

The measure is now Saipan Local Law 18-11.

Inos also signed Rep. Tony Sablan’s (Ind-Saipan) House Local Bill 18-33 into Saipan Local Law 18-12.

The new local law names the public beach behind San Antonio Elementary School the “San Antonio Village Beach Park.”

The governor also signed Rep. Ray Tebuteb’s (Ind-Saipan) House Local Bill 18-38 into Saipan Local Law 18-13, amending the Saipan Zoning Law of 2013. It rezones an area from “village commercial” to “tourist resort.”

Besides Reps. Tony Sablan, John Paul Sablan and Tebuteb, the other lawmakers present were Reps. Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan), Christopher Leon Guerrero (Cov-Saipan), Mario Taitano (Ind-Saipan) and Felicidad Ogumoro (R-Saipan). Also present were Finance Secretary Larrisa Larson, Customs director Joe Mafnas, customs officers, and members of the Saipan Zoning Board.

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