House expected to discuss SOCA bill today


Ralph N. Yumul

The House of Representatives is expected to discuss in a session today, Wednesday, a bill that seeks to establish a process for the delivery of the governor’s State of the Commonwealth Address.

In response to Saipan Tribune’s inquiry, House Speaker Edmund S. Villagomez (Ind-Saipan) said last night that Rep. Ralph N. Yumul’s (Ind-Saipan) House Bill 22-119 will be discussed at the session scheduled for today at 10am. He did not elaborate.

The bill proposes to establish a process for the delivery of SOCA to the Legislature by the governor. The legislation, which Yumul pre-filed early this month, was supported by House majority members.

The legislation is the only one in the agenda under the introduction of bills.

Yumul stated in the bill that clear legislation is needed to set out some of the basic steps in scheduling the annual delivery of SOCA to the Legislature.

Yumul said in order to address this need to establish a straightforward process for scheduling a SOCA in place of traditional methods that can be inconsistently applied, this legislation creates a statutory, yet flexible, process for scheduling the annual delivery of a SOCA, particularly when the SOCA is delivered live.

Under Yumul’s bill, the governor shall deliver an annual SOCA to the Legislature no later than March of any calendar year, and may present the SOCA live, recorded or in writing.

A written or recorded SOCA shall be transmitted by the governor to the Senate president and House speaker for delivery to the members.

Prior to any live SOCA, the governor shall give written notice of a proposed date and time to both the Senate president and House speaker no later than 45 days prior to the proposed date in order for the Legislature to consider a joint resolution setting out the time and place for the SOCA.

If such a joint resolution fails to pass in both house of the Legislature, the governor shall submit only a written or recorded SOCA.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres originally planned to hold a SOCA at Kensington Saipan Hotel on Oct. 21, 2022, but moved it to Oct. 31 after the House majority and others have complained about not being invited.

The Senate and House, however, were at an impasse after adopting different dates and venues for SOCA. This prompted Torres to cancel the SOCA indefinitely.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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