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    Tuesday, September 17, 2019-6:47:31P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Blanco thanks House colleagues for supporting his 4 bills

ASIDE from the casino-license-fee spending measure, the House of Representatives also unanimously approved three other bills. Three of the four were authored by Ways and Means Chairman Ivan Blanco who said he is very grateful for his colleagues’ support.

“First and foremost, I extend my appreciation to House Tourism & Commerce Chairman Joseph Leepan Guerrero and the members the committee for their due diligence on these bills,” Blanco said.

Click to enlarge
House Ways and Means Chairman Ivan Blanco and Speaker Blas Jonathan Attao confer with House Clerk Linda Muna and legal counsel Joe Taijeron during a House session on Tuesday.  Photo by Emmanuel T. Erediano

He noted that the committee’s research and endorsement of the passage of House Bills 21-19 and 21-70 “paved the way for all my colleagues to accept the committee’s hard work and voted for passage.”

Blanco also thanked Speaker Blas Jonathan Attao and House Floor Leader John Paul Sablan for ensuring that House members and the administration would agree on a compromise regarding H.B. 21-78 which appropriates $15.5 million in annual casino license fees based on the recommendations of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres.

H.B. 21-70 clarifies the Commerce secretary’s authority to promulgate regulations in issuing permits to tour company vehicles.

H.B. 21-27 is a “recycled” bill that missed the passage timeline last year. It proposes to amend the law that prohibits the production of tuba or fermented coconut milk and other home-made brew, and imposes jail sentences on violators. The bill would lift the prohibition and allows for home-brew tuba for personal consumption only.

Blanco said he was pleased that Commerce’s Alcohol Beverage Tobacco Commission supported the bill.

As for H.B. 21-19, which was introduced by Rep. Joseph Leepan Guerrero, it would allow the Department of Commerce to increase its fees imposed on businesses in the Commonwealth.

Blanco said the fee hike would fund the establishment of an “online portal system.”

He said this will address the concerns of “several businesses regarding the cumbersome system of driving to various offices to apply or renew business corporate documents, apply for workers compensation clearance, apply and renew non- profit documents, query business records, and so forth.”

In her written comment, Saipan Chamber of Commerce president Velma Palacios said: “The business sector is still recovering from Typhoon Yutu, and tourism has declined… Organizations and entrepreneurs are utilizing their resources to help their businesses recover and employ our residents — the business sector is not in a position to endure fee increases in this current economy.”

All the 16 members present voted yes to all of Blanco’s bills. Vice Speaker Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero, Reps. Marco Peter, Shiela Babauta and Joseph Flores were absent.