Senators confirmed yesterday two of Gov. Eloy S. Inos’ appointees to the soon-to-be revived Commonwealth Utilities Corp. board of directors as well as one governor’s appointee to the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. board of trustees. The Senate also passed a total of 11 bills, resolutions, and an initiative during a morning-to-afternoon session.
By a vote of 9-0 each, the Senate separately confirmed David J. Sablan and Adelina C. Roberto to serve on the CUC board.
But the senators’ nod on Roberto’s appointment hinges on her resignation from the NMI Retirement Fund board of trustees.
Pursuant to law, the chairman of the Commonwealth Development Authority board of directors, currently held by Diego M. Songao, automatically becomes a CUC board member.
Senate vice president Victor Hocog (R-Rota) urged fellow senators yesterday to confirm the governor’s appointees “so we can stop once and for all the governor’s CUC emergency declarations every month.”
At least five CUC board members are required to constitute a quorum. Hocog said this means at least two more appointees need to be confirmed before a CUC board can be reconstituted because there are now three members: Songao, Sablan, and Roberto.
The Senate also confirmed by a vote of 9-0 the governor’s appointment of Phillip Mendiola-Long to serve as a member of the CHC board of trustees.[B]Bill to prevent shutdown[/B]
The Senate also adopted five resolutions and passed five bills.
By a vote of 9-0, the Senate passed Sen. Jovita Taimanao’s (Ind-Rota) bill providing a penalty provision in the CNMI Planning and Budgeting Act if the House or Senate fails to pass a budget “on or before August 30 each year.”
The expenditure authority of the members of the Legislature—House or Senate—shall terminate until such time that the required legislative action is completed by the Legislature, the bill says.
Taimanao said a penalty provision will help deter partial government shutdown, like what was experienced a few years back, over the Legislature’s failure to pass a budget on time.
The budget penalty provision measure or Senate Bill 18-37, Senate Draft 2, which passed at 1:07pm yesterday, now goes to the House for action.[B]4 other bills[/B]
The first bill to pass the Senate yesterday was Rep. Tony Sablan’s (Ind-Saipan) House Bill 18-20, allowing the Department of Public Lands to grant revocable consent without fees to individuals, businesses, or organizations to build and maintain structures on public property such as driveways and sidewalks. The bill, which passed at 12:34pm, now goes to the governor for action.
At 1:10pm, the Senate also passed by a vote of 9-0 Taimanao’s SB 18-28, establishing a Criminal Offender Registration Act. The bill goes to the House for action.
Eight minutes later, senators also passed by a vote of 9-0 Rep. Larry Deleon Guerrero’s (Ind-Saipan) HB 18-103, HD3, imposing higher fines on those who fail to register their vehicles on time and those who do not have liability insurance coverage for their vehicles.
Late renewal of registration, for example, will have a fine of $30. Senators amended the three-day window period to 10 days after the last day of the month designated for vehicle registration renewal.
Senators also passed at 1:23pm Sen. Pete Reyes’ (Ind-Saipan) SB 18-31, SS1, SD1, HD1, establishing a new CNMI Scholarship Office as an autonomous agency rather than an agency headed by an administrator within the governor’s office.[B]Resolutions[/B]
At 11:50am, senators adopted Senate President Ralph Torres’ (R-Saipan) Senate Commemorative Resolution 18-14, promoting and supporting the abolition of human trafficking in the CNMI.
A minute later, the Senate also adopted Sen. Paul Manglona’s (Ind-Rota) Senate Resolution 18-26, supporting alternative regional transportation between Guam and the CNMI through ferry service or similar vessels.
Senators also adopted Senate Resolution 18-24 honoring Sgt. Maj. Herman Atalig for his contributions to the community, as well as Senate Resolution 18-25 honoring and paying tribute to the late former Saipan mayor Jesus “Gere” Sablan Deleon Guerrero, who passed away on Valentine’s Day.
“The people of the CNMI will forever remember [Deleon Guerrero] not just for his community services…but [also] his wonderful personality, diligence, and great leadership which inspired many in the community,” SR 18-25 partly reads.
At 12:26pm, senators also adopted Senate floor leader Ray Yumul’s (Ind-Saipan) SR 18-20 requesting the Department of Public Works “to close road access to the public in Chalan Galaide and to make it accessible only to immediate area residents if roadways are not safely and properly repaired.”