Yumul reintroduces SOCA bill
Rep. Ralph N. Yumul (Ind-Saipan) has re-introduced a bill that he had introduced in the previous 22nd Legislature, which establishes the process for the delivery of a governor’s State of the Commonwealth Address.
Yumul stated in his legislation, House Bill 23-4, that given the competing interests and the absence of a formalized process to schedule a SOCA, particularly a live SOCA, clear legislation is needed to set out some of the basic steps in scheduling the annual delivery of a SOCA to the Legislature.
In order to address this need to establish a straightforward process for scheduling a SOCA in place of traditional methods that can be inconsistently applied, he said his legislation creates a statutory, yet flexible, process for scheduling the annual delivery of a SOCA, particularly when the SOCA is delivered live.
Under the bill, the governor shall deliver an annual SOCA to the Legislature no later than March of any calendar year, and may present the SOCA live, recorded, or in writing.
A written or recorded SOCA shall be transmitted by the governor to the Senate president and speaker of the House of Representatives for delivery to legislative members.
Prior to any live SOCA, the governor shall give written notice of a proposed date and time to both the Senate president and House speaker no later than 45 days prior to the proposed date in order for the Legislature to consider a joint resolution setting out the time and place for the SOCA.
If such a resolution fails to pass in both houses of the Legislature, the governor shall submit only a written or recorded SOCA.
Last Nov. 30, the House passed similar legislation, House Bill 22-119, that Yumul introduced and was co-sponsored by House majority members.
An impasse, however, occurred last October when the Senate and House adopted different dates and venues for SOCA. This prompted then-governor Ralph DLG Torres to cancel his planned SOCA at Kensington Hotel Saipan indefinitely.