The Senate passed Thursday a legislative initiative that would give it power of the purse—the authority to introduce appropriations bills—an act that is constitutionally reserved for the House of Representatives.
Senate Legislative Initiative 19-04 authorizes the introduction of appropriation and revenue bills in the House of Representatives or the Senate, except for the appropriation bill to provide for the fiscal year budget of the CNMI, which will originate from the House.
Right now, the NMI Constitution allows for all appropriation and revenue bills to be introduced “only” in the House of Representatives.
“The Legislature finds that the power of the purse should not be limited to the House of Representatives because great ideas relating to revenue generations and economic enhancements can also originate in the Senate,” the initiative states.
“Rather than waiting for the House of Representatives to initiate appropriation and revenue bills, it is important to allow the Senate to promote ideas that will benefit the Commonwealth as a whole,” the initiative states.
All nine members of the Senate voted to pass the initiative, which would also require an affirmative vote of three-fourths of the House in order for the constitutional amendment to be placed before the public at the next general election.