House passes SOCA bill


Ralph N. Yumul and Christina E. Sablan

The House of Representatives passed yesterday a bill that establishes the process for the delivery of the governor’s State of the Commonwealth Address.

All 19 House members present vin yesterday’s session voted “yes” to the passage of House Bill 22-119, which was co-sponsored by House majority members. Floor leader Rep. Ralph N. Yumul (Ind-Saipan) introduced the legislation.

The bill now goes to the Senate for action.

Under the 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.

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.

Before the voting, Rep. Christina E. Sablan (D-Saipan) thanked Yumul and her colleagues for taking the initiative to establish the SOCA process.

“It put some, I guess, common sense and order into how the State of the Commonwealth Address should be delivered and received,” Sablan said.

She believes that recent events highlighted the need for a SOCA process and for some clarity and how this is conducted.

Sablan was referring to an impasse when the Senate and House adopted different dates and venues for SOCA. This prompted Gov. Ralph DLG Torres to cancel his planned SOCA at Kensington Hotel 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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