Retroactive payment bill on hold


House Bill 20-108, the bill that addressees the long-awaited retroactive payment of wages that were frozen at Step 12, is on hold due to technical concerns surrounding the language in the bill.

Authored by Rep. Angel Demapan (R-Saipan), HB 20-108 is currently on hold after the Office of the Governor sought the opinion of Attorney General Edward Manibusan on the bill.

According to a statement from the administration, HB 20-108, which it referred to as “an important piece of legislation,” is a significant step toward supporting the “hard working public servants” of the Commonwealth government.

“… We look forward to working with the Legislature and the Attorney General’s Office on addressing these concerns effectively so that these employees receive what they deserve.”

According to interim press secretary Kevin Bautista, a request for a recall of the bill would follow should there be a need.

“The administration remains committed to making sure the lump-sum payments to our remaining frozen civil service employees are met,” reads part of the administration statement.

HB 20-108, passing both upper and lower chambers in the form of House Draft 1, seeks to allocate $1.4 million as lump-sum payment for the 330 active or inactive government employees who had their wages frozen at Step 12.

The Senate discussion had focused on whether to pass the bill or not, as the legislation did not specify a source of funding. Sen. Paul Mangloña (Ind-Rota) pointed out the problem during discussions in mid-August 2017.

Despite the opposition, the Senate unanimously passed the bill; many senators leveraged their vote on future bills in exchange for discussions on subsequent House appropriation bills.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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