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    Friday, December 14, 2018-10:46:46A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Governor still upbeat about NMI workforce bill

GOVERNOR Ralph D.L.G. Torres said he is pleased that the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, Congressman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, will re-introduce the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“I wrote him a letter prior to his announcement that he will be re-introducing the bill in the House,” Torres said in an interview on Monday. “Of course I am thankful to him for his support, but with the CW petitions of our nurses not being approved, there are a lot of uncertainties. I continue to be optimistic though, and I still look forward to the passage of the bill that will address our workforce issues here in the commonwealth.”

Torres said “having Congressman Bishop re-introduce the bill is an indication that they are willing to make it work, and for that, I want to thank him.”

The delay in the passage of the bill “is not something that we want, but we are still thankful and appreciative that it continues to move forward,” Torres added.

He noted that the bill is supported by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Bishop who chair committees that have jurisdiction over issues affecting the territories.

 “That’s another positive thing for us,  I hope that whatever clarification  needs to be done can be done as soon as possible. And I just want to thank Chairman Bishop for his willingness to re-introduce the bill which is critical for the CNMI,” the governor said.

The bill, S.2325, was already passed by the U.S. Senate, but because it includes a revenue-raising provision, it has to be reintroduced in the U.S. House.

“The Constitution requires that bills generating revenue must originate in the House,” U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan said in a statement on Sunday. “And the House Parliamentarian has ruled that the [bill’s] anti-fraud fee is revenue.”

He added, “Although this parliamentary issue has slowed down the progress of the bill, I feel that we are still on track to get it out of the House in the next few weeks and, eventually, signed into law.”