House panel approves NMD legislative initiative

THE House Committee on Natural Resources has approved a legislative initiative that proposes to create a special fund that will provide direct benefits to people of Northern Marianas descent or NMDs.

The committee headed by Rep. Alice Igitol resumed its meeting on Wednesday morning and deliberated on House Legislative Initiative 20-1 which she introduced.

The legislative initiative, which will amend Article XI of the CNMI Constitution, was amended and endorsed for passage by the committee.

One of the amendments will allow the Department of Public Lands to use public-land funds for the development of power, water and sewer infrastructure for homestead projects.

Igitol said she introduced the legislative initiative to give the NMDs direct benefits by establishing a special account separate from the general fund.

Besides Igitol, those who attended the committee meeting on Wednesday were Reps, Joe Itibus, Frank Aguon and House Minority Leader Edmund Villagomez.

Absent were Reps. Edwin Aldan, Joseph Leepan Guerrero and Donald Barcinas.

A legislative initiative must be passed by an affirmative vote of three-fourths of the members of each house present and voting, and ratified by voters in a special or general election. A legislative initiative passed by the Legislature “may not be vetoed by the governor,” according to the Constitution.