Gov. Ralph DLG Torres has signed into law a Senate bill that will require a special election to fill a Board of Education vacancy.
Torres informed Senate President Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian) and House of Representatives Speaker Edmund S. Villagomez (Ind-Saipan) Friday that he signed Senate Bill 22-26, SD1, into Public Law 22-04.
The new law clarifies when an elected member of the BOE must resign from his or her Public School System employment.
Sen. Justo S. Quitugua (R-Saipan) introduced the bill last Feb. 19. The Senate passed it on March 12. The House Committee on Education chaired by Rep. Leila Staffler (D-Saipan) recommended its passage. Last July 6, the House unanimously passed the bill.
Under the bill, any vacancy in the BOE caused by the death, resignation, or removal of an appointed member shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment to serve the unexpired term of that vacancy.
Upon the creation of a board vacancy due to death, resignation, or removal of an elected member, the governor shall appoint the candidate who received the next highest number of votes in the same election or district where the former board member was elected, regardless of the time remaining in the term of office.
If no candidate is interested in filling the vacancy or no person is certified as a candidate during a general election, a vacancy on the BOE shall be filled by a special election.
The Commonwealth Election Commission shall conduct a special election to fill such a vacancy within 30 days after a vacancy on the board is declared or the general election results are certified if not person is certified as a candidate during a general election.