House OKs Faloma and Maleina bill

Posted on Dec 06 2011

The House of Representatives passed yesterday an amended bill requiring schools to notify parents within two hours after a child is recorded absent to help in the recovery of children when they go missing, almost seven months since the disappearance of sisters Faloma and Maleina Luhk on May 25.

The House also passed yesterday two other measures: a Senate initiative authorizing the Board of Regents to revise the Northern Marianas College’s mission statement, and a House bill subjecting liquid fuel distributors and retailers to the regulatory jurisdiction of the Public Utilities Commission.

By a vote of 14-0, the House passed Rep. Teresita Santos’s (Ind-Rota) House Bill 17-200, House Draft 1 or the Faloma and Maleina Parent Notification Act of 2011.

The bill now goes to the Senate.

Under the bill, if a child is absent and the school has not been notified, a member of the office staff shall contact the parent or legal guardian “no later than two hours after a child is recorded absent or as soon as possible, whichever comes first.”

It says if there is no answer at home, the emergency number of or the parent or legal guardian’s place of business or work will be called in an attempt to reach the parent or legal guardian.

The House also passed by a vote of 15-0 Vice Speaker Felicidad Ogumoro’s (Cov-Saipan) H.B. 17-238, HD1, subjecting “liquid fuel” distributors and retailers to the regulatory jurisdiction of PUC.

Rep. Ray Yumul (R-Saipan) made a floor amendment to also include “liquid propane.” Members adopted this floor amendment.

Right now, PUC has jurisdiction over public utilities, telecommunications companies, and cable television companies.

Former representative Diego Benavente, who was in the gallery when the House voted on the bill, said he’s concerned that when this bill becomes law, it may result in higher costs of fuel.

The House also passed Senate Legislative Initiative 17-12 by a vote of 15-0. The initiative seeks to amend Article 15 Section B of the CNMI Constitution to authorize the Board of Regents to revise NMC’s mission statement. The initiative is on its way to the Commonwealth Election Commission for voter ratification.

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