Sen. Justo S. Quitugua (R-Saipan) has introduced a legislative initiative that will clarify that the Department of Public Lands shall receive all moneys—including rental, fees, penalties, and money from court judgments—derived from public lands.
The legislative initiative seeks to amend Article 11 Section 5(g) of the CNMI Constitution to provide for reasonable expenses by law, require the Legislature to approve and appropriate DPL’s annual budget, and to prohibit the reprogramming of DPL’s revenues.
Quitugua stated in the legislation that an amendment is needed to make DPL more fiscally transparent and accountable for its “reasonable expenses of administration and management.”
The senator said the Legislature should provide by law and clarify the meaning of “reasonable expenses” of administrative and management “in order to prevent DPL from running amok” with such expenses.
At the same time, he said, in order to prevent DPL from inflating its annual budget and unduly withholding any surplus revenues from the Marianas Public Land Trust, it is necessary for the Legislature to approve DPL’s annual budget to ensure that it complements the department’s actual personnel and operation requirements each fiscal year.