Magofna wants more flexibility for governor to impose price caps


Sen. Corina L. Magofna (Ind-Saipan) wants the governor to have more flexibility to impose caps on increases in prices which businesses may charge for consumer goods indexed to consumer prices.

For this reason, Magofna introduced Tuesday a bill, which she calls the Price Control Act of 2023, that would amend the Commonwealth Disaster Price Freeze Act of 1996 to provide for a flexible response to the economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 healthy emergency.

The existing law permits the governor to implement a temporary price freeze in the event of a typhoon or natural disaster.

Under Magofna’s Senate Bill 22-16, upon the governor’s declaration that the CNMI is in Typhoon Condition II, or Tropical Storm Condition I, or in case of a gubernatorial declaration of a State of Significant Emergency or a State of Major Disaster, including a Public Health Emergency, pursuant to his or her constitutional power to do so, the governor may declare a price freeze or cap that shall last until the governor rescinds the prize freeze or cap, or the declaration of emergency or disaster is terminated.

Upon the declaration of a price cap, all prices of items for sale, and housing rentals, including apartments and condos, shall be permitted to increase by no more than the increase in the consumer price index of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in a given month, until the governor rescinds the price cap or the declaration of emergency or disaster is terminated.

Corina L. Magofna

The bill also imposes criminal and civil penalties on violators.

While imposing price caps is a significant interjection into market transactions, Magofna stated in the bill that times of crises call for extraordinary measures to safeguard the community.

She said inflation, rising fuel costs, the ongoing economic fallout from the pandemic, reduced tourism, and other factors have contributed to a difficult fiscal environment for the people of the Marianas.

To ensure that key consumer goods necessary for the people’s livelihood remain within their reach, she said this legislation amends the CNMI Disaster Price Freeze Act of 1996 to permit the government to respond to the economic challenges of health emergencies.

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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