The vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Fiscal Affairs noted that the Senate version of the fiscal year 2019 budget is currently in the works.
Sen. Justo Quitugua (Ind-Saipan) said the Senate’s legal counsel is still working on the recommended drafts.
“So, until the legal counsel completes the recommended drafts, then the committee will act on the budget,” he said in an interview. “As soon as the legal counsel is done, and when the two gentlemen [senators] from Tinian come back, then we can [continue] work on the budget.”
Committee chair Sen. Jude Hofschneider (R-Tinian) and Sen. Francisco Cruz (R-Tinian) were off-island at the time of the interview.
Quitugua did not share any of the changes to the budget, but he mentioned that the committee expressed a desire to amend the budgets allocated to the Public School System, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., and the islands of Rota and Tinian.
“We are including sections that we believe were not included in the House version,” said Quitugua.
The House, through Rep. Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan), introduced House Bill 20-173 or the fiscal year 2019 budget proposal, which amounted to over $167 million in amounts available for allocation, on June 6, 2018. Demapan also chairs the House Committee on Ways and Means.
The bill passed at the House on first and final reading.