Besides passing a modified version of a House bill increasing cigarette tax, senators also approved on Wednesday three other measures that included a bill authorizing the assessment of parking meter fees and segregation of those fees collected by senatorial district. If this bill is signed into law, parking meters sitting idle in Garapan for several years would finally be used to generate revenues.
By a vote of 8-0, the Senate passed at 3:30pm Wednesday House Bill 18-39, House Draft 1, giving the Department of Public Works and the Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority statutory authority to assess fees associated with parking, among other things.
The fees will be deposited according to which senatorial district generated the fees—Saipan, Tinian, or Rota.
Fees collected would also be subject to appropriation by the respective legislative delegations. The bill is authored by Rep. Ray Tebuteb (Ind-Saipan), chairman of the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation.
HB 18-39, HD1, which now heads to the governor for action, also gives COTA the authority to create regulations so that it may effectively use and administer fees to operate a transit system.
Under the bill, the Department of Public Safety commissioner, in consultation with the DPW secretary, will designate areas along public roadways appropriate for the installation and operation of parking meters.
DPS will also be responsible for enforcing the time limits imposed by parking meters, including but not limited to issuing citations and fines of not more than $100.
The Senate also passed Rep. Christopher Leon Guerrero’s (Cov-Saipan) HB 18-134, designating as law enforcement officers the sergeant-at-arms of the House of Representatives and the sergeant-at-arms of the Senate, “with full authority to enforce Commonwealth laws and shall have all the powers, authority, and benefits of other law enforcement officers…” The bill also now heads to the governor for action.
Senators also passed by a vote of 8-0 Sen. Frank Cruz’s (R-Tinian) Senate Bill 18-51 that seeks to address copper wire thefts in the CNMI.
Under Cruz’s bill, which now goes to the House for action, there would be a 10-day waiting period on recycling businesses’ payment of copper wire worth $50 or more.
The recycler is also required to provide the Department of Public Safety commissioner with a copy of copper wire sale within three days of the transaction.
Cruz said the waiting period provides DPS some time to investigate the sale, especially those involving frequent sellers of copper wire.
He hopes that the reporting and waiting period requirements “will help deter copper wire theft.”