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Last updateFri, 19 Oct 2018 12am

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    Thursday, October 18, 2018-8:59:20P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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House panel OKs pay-hike bill for government employees affected by austerity measures

THE House Committee on Ways and Means has endorsed the passage of a bill that will cover the salary increases of government employees affected by the austerity measures instituted when the economy was still in a downturn.

Angel Demapan

House Bill 20-12, which was introduced by Vice Speaker Janet Maratita, will cost around $4 million, according to the  committee chair, Rep. Angel Demapan, citing a report from the Office of Personnel Management.

The figure may still go up. “They [OPM] are still working on the final numbers. It might go up from 907 employees to around a thousand,” Demapan said.

The committee also approved the following:

  • • House Bill 20-156, introduced by Rep. Leepan Guerrero, to establish the level of funding for the Legislature and provide the Legislature with control of the expenditure of funds appropriated for its operations;
  • • H.B. 20-160, by Rep. Larry Deleon Guerrero, to provide tax incentives for employers who hire individuals with special needs;
  • • H.B. 20-170, by Speaker Ralph Demapan, to allocate 20 percent of the beverage-container tax to fund the operations of the Commonwealth Museum of History and Culture; and
  • • Senate Bill 20-58, by Sen. Sixto Igisomar, to remove the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.’s obligation to repay its debt to the Marianas Public Land Trust with interest.

Demapan said the goal  is “to help CHCC so we can help it improve its healthcare services.”

The committee deferred action on House Bill 20-151, by Rep. Larry Deleon Guerrero, which will increase the fees for heavy-equipment vehicles and certain other vehicles.

Demapan said the committee wants to seek more comment from the agencies.