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    Friday, March 22, 2019-11:52:08A.M.






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Saipan delegation OK’s $9M funding bill

AFTER a very long discussion, members of the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation on Friday passed a measure that will fund various projects and items, including a generator for the legislative building.

All 18 delegation members present approved the amended version of House Local Bill 20-81 which was introduced by Rep. Angel Demapan to appropriate $9.5 million. The funding source is the annual casino license fee allotted to Saipan.

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From left, Speaker Ralph Demapan, House Minority Leader Edmund Villagomez, Rep. Ivan Blanco, Legislative Bureau Director Antonio Sablan, Reps. Frank Dela Cruz and Joe Deleon Guerrero during a break from the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation session, Friday.  Photo by Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa

Rep. Frank Dela Cruz wanted to see a document that would show that there was a request to purchase  a generator and to construct an enclosure for it.

Rep. Joseph Deleon Guerrero said after Typhoon Soudelor in Aug. 2015, lawmakers had to move from one government building to another just to conduct  sessions.

For several months, he added, the legislative building could not be operated due to lack of power.

Senate President Arnold I. Palacios said funding for the generator was first proposed in the previous Legislature, yet they were still discussing whether to move forward or not.

The delegation chairman, Rep. John Paul Sablan, called for a short recess to allow Legislative Bureau Director Antonio Sablan to show  documents to Rep. Frank Dela Cruz regarding the proposal to purchase a generator.

When the session resumed, Dela Cruz indicated support for the bill which was then passed unanimously.

Absent were Sen. Justo Quitugua, Sen. Sixto Igisomar and Rep. Donald Barcinas.

The generator project will cost $225,000. Rep. John Paul Sablan said the delegation had already appropriated $75,000 for it so H.L.B. 20-81 appropriates an additional  $150,000 to ensure that the project will move forward.

The bill will likewise allot funding to the animal shelter, the street-numbering project, the purchase of a tractor truck, the Center for Living Independently, the CNMI Museum, the Board of Parole, Micronesian Legal Services, the Veterans Affairs Office, the Northern Marianas Trades Institute, Joeten-Kiyu Public Library, the Marpi landfill, Karidat, the Ayuda Network, the Legislative Bureau, the Indigenous Affairs Office, Pagan Watch, the Office of Adult Probation and Precincts 1 to 5 projects, including the reconstruction of Sugar Dock, the renovation of social halls in Precinct 2 and  the construction or reconstruction of sidewalks and ponding basins also in Precinct 2.