Senate OKs Judiciary mold remediation bill

The CNMI Senate has unanimously supported a bipartisan compromise that included funding for the Judiciary’s mold remediation and air-conditioning purchase.

Rep. Angel Demapan’s (R-Saipan) House Bill 20-164 sailed through the Senate with a vote of 7-0 in its favor last Wednesday. Sen. Justo Quitugua (Ind-Saipan) and Sen. Paul Manglona (Ind-Rota) were absent.

H.B. 20-164 appropriates $15 million for different projects in the CNMI, including $7 million for the Judiciary to resolve its mold problem and to purchase new air-conditioning units. The combination of problems caused the Judiciary’s building, the Guma Hustisia, to close in mid-March 2018.

Previous Senate amendments, which included cutting a $700,000 appropriation for the Sugar Dock rebuilding project to only $200,000, plunged the legislation into conference committee negotiations after the House rejected the amendments in a previous session.

House conferee chair Rep. John Paul Sablan (R-Saipan) said that Saipan would now receive about $1.7 million, including the restoration of the Sugar Dock rebuilding funding back to $700,000. Tinian and Rota would be allocated $1.2 million each.

H.B. 20-164 also includes payment to private telecommunications company Docomo Pacific. The company is allocated a total of $815,000 for the connection of Rota and Tinian to their fiber optic cable.

With the Senate unanimously adopting the conference committee recommendation, the House would also need to pass the conference committee report before the bill goes to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres for enactment.

Neither the House nor Senate may propose amendments to the conference committee report and may only vote on its adoption as a whole.

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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