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Last updateTue, 22 Oct 2019 12am

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    Sunday, October 20, 2019-9:01:58A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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2 Rota appropriation bills vetoed

ACTING Gov. Arnold I. Palacios on Wednesday vetoed two appropriation bills for Rota.

Rep. Donald Manglona’s House Local Bill 21-7 proposes to appropriate over $1.4 million in the Saipan casino license fee for the medical subsistence allowance of Rota’s hemodialysis patients and medical referral stipend for other patients and their escorts.

Arnold Indalecio Palacios

“While Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and I offer our full support for this bill, in particular, its intent to allocate funding for the medical subsistence allowance for the First Senatorial District’s hemodialysis for terminally ill patients and its inter-island medical referral costs, I have confirmed with the Department of Finance that these funds have already been appropriated in previous legislation and therefore cannot be appropriated again,” Palacios said.

“If it is the intent of the delegation to re-appropriate these funds for the purposes stated in the bill, the delegation must clarify that these funds are being re-appropriated and that the previous appropriation have been suspended,” the acting governor added.

But the chairman of the Rota Legislative Delegation, Sen. Paul A. Manglona said Finance informed him in January that there was still $1.4 million available for Rota.

He said Finance had also not released the checks for Rota patients due in January.

Moreover, he said $70,000 appropriated by Rota Local Law 20-10 remains “idle.”

“We understand the technical concern raised by Finance and this was addressed in H.L.B. 21-7 which was vetoed. Even with the veto, this money is available and should be released to help with the essential medical needs and alleviate the daily struggles of our patients. The veto should only affect the supplemental funding,” Manglona said.

The vetoed bill, he added, included additional funding for Rota medical referral patients who are on Saipan and are not receiving their referral stipends.

“We continue to respectfully appeal to Finance to please give priority to our people’s medical needs,” the senator added.

Another local bill vetoed

Acting Governor Palacios also vetoed H.L.B. 21-6 which would have appropriated $100,000 for the Rota Island Specialty Crop Association or RISCA, a non-profit organization. The bill was likewise authored by Rep. Donald Manglona.

The money, which is a portion of the Saipan casino license fee allotted for Rota, had been appropriated for Afanelos Marianas, Inc. under Rota Local Law 20-08.

H.L.B. 21-6 proposed to amend RLL 20-08 to transfer the $100,000 to the newly created RISCA.

In his veto statement, the acting governor said he and the governor support the intent of the bill but, “I must express my sincere concern for what appears to be this legislation’s encroachment of a critical executive function, more suitably fit for the secretary of Finance, in its mandate that any proposed use of the funds for a loan or grant program or other expenditures be submitted to the Rota delegation chairperson for review and approval by delegation resolution.”

Palacios recommended that H.L.B. 21-6 be reintroduced and amended to grant the Finance secretary expenditure authority over the funds.