At 4:08pm Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 15-3 a controversial bill repealing and reenacting in its entirety the Saipan casino law, as amended. The passage came after a lengthy public comment period and House members’ discussion on proposed floor amendments and debate on the measure itself.
House Floor Leader Ralph Demapan’s (Cov-Saipan) House Bill 18-195, HD1, now goes to the Senate.
Two of the 20 House members were absent yesterday: Reps. Janet Maratita (Ind-Saipan) and Ralph Yumul (Ind-Saipan).
The three “no” votes were from Reps. Ray Tebuteb (Ind-Saipan), Edmund Villagomez (Cov-Saipan) and Frank Dela Cruz (Ind-Saipan).
The bill seeks to correct ambiguities in the casino law, and helps pave the way for the Lottery Commission to award an exclusive Saipan casino license that would trigger the release of $30 million bank deposit to pay for retirees’ deferred 25 percent pension, among other things.
The House session is still ongoing.
Full story on Wednesday’s paper.