The Senate is hoping to act on House Bill 20-120 once the Fiscal Affairs Committee finishes finalizing its draft report on the legislation that would provide payment on the salary increases that were suspended during the government’s financial austerity measures.
House vice speaker Janet U. Maratita (R-Saipan) introduced H.B. 20-120.
The Senate deferred action on H.B. 20-120 during its session last Oct. 9, with Senate President Arnold I. Palacios (R-Saipan) referring the bill back to the FA committee headed by Sen. Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian).
Palacios, in last week’s session, asked Senate floor leader Francisco M. Borja (R-Tinian) to leave the bill on the calendar where they hope to act on it. “When I assigned this legislation to the committee, there’s an understanding that the committee make efforts to act on [H.B. 20-120].”
“I will give [the FA committee] time to brief the [Senate] members where we are in this particular legislation. I ask the floor leader to leave it on the calendar as we defer action on this.”
Hofschneider and the FA committee was supposed to meet yesterday to further discuss the bill and finish the draft report. Hofschneider said that his committee already met with the CNMI Office of Personnel Management and Civil Service Commission.
“It was a considerable amount of discussion that produced information for us to provide additional provisions and clarifications. We certainly did not do that to prolong the passage of the bill,” said Hofschneider.
“There’s a grave concern on the financial impact of the liability of the legislation. It is not clarified and the committee called a meeting the following week for any amendment, but Super Typhoon Yutu came and we weren’t able to meet.”
He added that the committee had already came out with a draft report with some amendments. “We’re going to adopt a proposal and sign off with the committee report. We’re trying to pass it [H.B. 20-120].”
“We want to make sure that we really take a look at the legislation. If the bill becomes law, we want everyone to be sourcing out funding to settle this obligation, which I support. We want everybody on the same page when it comes to financial impact.”
Sen. Sixto K. igisomar (R-Saipan) said the government should act on the financial impact of H.B. 20-120. “Because these people also deserve an increase. And… they were not given the same opportunity.”
“I do hope our Fiscal Affairs chair would finalize the draft committee report,” added Igisomar, who is also a member of the committee.