July 9, 2001
Budget cuts threaten other PSS programs
A significant slash in the Public School System’s budget would put not only the kindergarten program under peril but also other essential services offered by PSS, said Education Board Chair Anthony Pellegrino. PSS has asked the government a $59 million budget for Fiscal Year 2002. “We have not made a decision yet about the kindergarten program. We’re just looking at scenarios and our options, if we are given an X amount of dollars for the next fiscal year,” said Pellegrino last week.
234 lbs of banned medicine seized
Customs personnel confiscated 234 pounds of banned pharmaceutical products last month, slightly down from May’s seizure of 238 pounds. Pubic Law 11-40 restricts the entry of non-English labeled pharmaceutical products into the Northern Marianas. The Airport Branch of the customs division reported that agents have also confiscated unsealed medicine bottles that are suspected of being tampered.
July 9, 2002
Legislature to try breaking three-year jinx on budget
With less than three months to go before the fiscal year ends, the House of Representatives will reportedly act this week to pass the proposed $213-million spending plan for 2003, as lawmakers attempt to break the three-year jinx hounding the budget. With such a close deadline, however, it would help much to smooth the measure’s passage in the Legislature if both chambers meet first in a sort of joint conference this week to iron out any differences. Thus, when the bill goes to the floor of both houses, it will not be hobbled by arguments and unexpected amendments. Senate Vice President Jose Dela Cruz stressed these points yesterday, saying that House Speaker Heinz S. Hofschneider had told him the other day that the lower chamber is planning to pass the budget at the end of this week, Friday.
New Senate rules now allow for $5K stipend for Saipan senators
The newly adopted Official Rules of the Senate has already addressed the concerns that Sen. Ramon S. Guerrero had earlier raised over the $5,0000 monthly stipend of Saipan senators. Guerrero said the new amendments to the rules now allow Saipan senators to draw into that fund for use when attending sessions or public hearings on Tinian or Rota. “At the same time, any Third Senatorial District senator who holds a chairmanship will automatically get $2,000 and if you are a member of other committees, then you are entitled to $1,000 per membership,” said Guerrero.
July 9, 2003
FY04 budget proposal remains at $213M
Gov. Juan N. Babauta has informed the Legislature that his April 1 budget submission for Fiscal Year 2004 remains unchanged at $213.953 million. And if the Legislature enacts the proposed tax increases and fee hikes outlined in the administration’s proposed Integrated Fiscal Proposal, then next fiscal year’s projected revenue would be at the same level it had estimated in its first budget submission-$228.963 million. These were outlined in a July 1 letter the governor sent to legislative leaders, as required by law. For the current year’s projected revenue, Babauta said that actual FY03 revenue collections through May-the most recent month for which complete records are available-totaled $133.660 million.
NMI joins other states in campaign vs lead
Acting CNMI Attorney General Clyde Lemons yesterday expressed support for a legislative measure that seeks to ban the importation, sale and use of lead pipes and plumbing fixtures for water systems, in consonance with the national campaign against lead poisoning. Lemons also disclosed that the Commonwealth has joined 47 other U.S. states and jurisdictions in reaching an agreement with the National Paint and Coating Association, which would require paint manufacturers to affix warning labels on paint containers. In a recent compliance order issued by the Division of Environmental Quality against the Commonwealth Utilities Corp., the regulatory agency cited the utility firm for failing to monitor lead and copper tap samples for two consecutive six-month periods from targeted sample sites. These periods were from January 1 to July 1 in both 2001 and 2002.