The House of Representatives’ Judiciary and Governmental Operations Committee will be among the busiest this year after 15 bills were referred to the legislative working group in Tuesday’s first regular session on Capital Hill. A total of 37 bills were introduced.
Each House committee shall consist of no more than seven members, with an elected chair and vice chair. Besides JGO, the other committees are Commerce and Tourism, Education, Federal and Foreign Affairs, Gaming, Health, Natural Resources, Public Utilities and Communications, Rules Ad Hoc, Social and Human Services, Transportation, and Ways and Means.
Rep. Ivan A. Blanco (R-Saipan) is JGO’s chair with Rep. John Paul Sablan (R-Saipan) as vice chair. The neophyte lawmaker said he is up to the challenge.
“We are looking forward to begin the work. My fellow JGO members and I are honored to work on these bills, hold public hearings, solicit stakeholder inputs, and get the bills out of the committee at the soonest,” said Blanco.
Blanco, despite being a new face, was the GOP’s bet in Precinct 3 and earned the most number of votes. He has years of experience as press secretary of the late governor Eloy S. Inos and incumbent Gov. Ralph DLG Torres.
Reps. Francisco C. Aguon (R-Saipan), Edwin P. Aldan (R-Tinian), Glenn L. Maratita (R-Rota), minority leader Edmund S. Villagomez (Ind-Saipan) and Blas Jonathan T. Attao (Ind-Saipan) are the other JGO members.
Bills involving civil and criminal law, traditional rights, judicial administration and organization, governmental organization, judicial and executive appointments, suffrage and elections, citizenship, statute revision, civil service, inter-island relations, labor and immigration conditions of employment, conditions of entry into the CNMI, deportation, and other related matters are under JGO’s jurisdiction.
Attao, Maratita, Villagomez, House Speaker Rafael S. Demapan (R-Saipan), independent Reps. Vinson F. Sablan, Edwin K. Propst, and Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero, and GOP Reps. Angel A. Demapan and Joseph Leepan T. Guerrero were the lawmakers that either authored or re-introduced bills that were referred to the JGO.
Propst re-introduced a House bill to prohibit the cruel treatment and theft of animals. The measure got held up at the Senate in the previous legislature.
The CNMI is the only U.S. state or territory that has no animal protection law.