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Regional News

FSM Congress confirms consul nominee

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Congress) — The third regular session of the 20th Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia finally convened on Jan. 29.

The Congress adopted Congressional Resolution 20-66 and confirmed Joe-Silem Enlet to serve as the consul general for the newly established FSM consulate office in the state of Oregon on the United States West Coast. Enlet’s background is a cornucopia of experiences and services to people of diverse socio-economic backgrounds and varying ethno-cultural groups all underpinned by an impressive educational foundation.

Also confirmed were two nominations to the board of directors of the National Oceanic Resources Management Authority: Peter Garamfel of the State of Yap who was confirmed through CR 20-67 and Yuko Nakasone from the State of Pohnpei through CR 20-71.

Through CR 20-78, Congress expressed its congratulations and appreciation to Bishop Julio Angkel for his ordination as Coadjutor Bishop with the Right of Session of the Diocese of the Caroline Islands.

Another resolution of note is CR 20-75 which approved a grant of $816,106 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, to fund the project entitled: “To Accelerate the Prevention and Control of HIV, Viral Hepatitis, Sexually Transmitted Disease and Tuberculosis in the FSM and Pacific Islands,” including all the terms and conditions of the assistance.

And finally CR 20-75, set the ceiling of total funds estimated to be available for appropriation for fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2018.

Along with the resolutions, the following acts were passed and transmitted to the FSM president for his appropriate actions:

• Congressional Act 20-67, changes the use of certain funds previously appropriated for priority infrastructure projects and other programs in the state of Pohnpei, and for other purposes.

• On a similar note, CA 20-68, also changes the use of funds previously appropriated for priority infrastructure projects programs in the state of Pohnpei, and for other purposes.

• CA 20-69, is an Act to change the use and allottee of funds previously appropriated for public projects and social programs for the people of the state of Kosrae, and for other purposes.

• CA 20-70, is for a supplemental budget of $4,451,203 to make changes to certain section sub-titles and change the allottee of a particular line-item, and for other purposes.

• Through CA 20-71, an amount of $1,440,000 is appropriated for public projects and social programs in the states of Kosrae, Pohnpei and Chuuk, and for other purposes.

The FSM Congress passed two measures to address continuing concerns in the areas of health and marine resources. Through CA 20-72, Congress called for changes to Title 52 of the FSM Code to officially change the name of the national insurance plan along with other minor administrative amendments. The National Government Employee’s Health Insurance Plan has long been known as the “MiCare” plan which was an informal name change that came into use ten years ago when the plan had expanded to allow enrollment of private sector employees.

The new Act proposes for MiCare Health Insurance Plan as the plan’s official name along with a few other administrative amendments such as: the expansion of eligible participants to include previously covered dependents provided they pay 100 percent of the premium; the requirement for claim audits to identify and report claim fraud and abuse for action; and the establishment of a medicine and pharmaceutical supply price formula for uniformity across all healthcare providers.

The other recurring concern on fisheries is addressed through CA 20-73, which proposes several changes to Title 24 of the FSM Code on Marine Resources to allow the National Oceanic Resources Management Authority or NORMA the proper implementation of its administrative penalties. The current penalties for citable offenses stand at $40,000 up to a maximum at $100,000 and the Act as passed proposes to remove the minimum penalty to allow for lower amount of fines appropriate to the citable fisheries offenses to be enumerated by the NORMA and the nation’s Department of Justice.

The 3rd regular session of the 20th Congress is scheduled to adjourn on Feb. 17, 2018 unless shortened or extended through resolution. As usual, all session of the Congress are open to the interested general public.