Senate amends then passes 4 House bills

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THE Senate on Monday unanimously approved four House bills that it amended.

From left, Sen. Sixto Igisomar, Senate Vice President Jude Hofschneider, Sen. Frank Borja, and Senate Floor Leader Justo Quitugua attend the Senate session on Monday. Also in photo are Senate President Victor Hocog, Senate clerk Doris Bermudes, and legal counsel Joe Bermudes.  Photo by Emmanuel T. Erediano

The eight senators present passed House Bill 21-43, to provide proper eligibility in village and agricultural homestead programs; H.B. 21-27, to exempt from license requirements alcoholic beverage manufactured for home or personal consumption; H.B. 21-28, to prohibit the importation, sale, and distribution of sunscreen containing oxybenzone and octinoxate without prescription; and H.B, 21-60, to establish CNMI Cultural Masters Award.

All the measures are now on their way back to the House of Representatives.

Sen. Frank Cruz was absent.

Before passing H.B. 21-43, the Senate removed the five-year residential and three-year voting requirement for the Northern Islands homestead program.

With H.B. 21-27, the Senate struck out the exemptions for sacramental wines or those used in religious rites, and those carried by persons who entered the CNMI for the first time.

Regarding H.B. 21-28, the Senate added several provisions to include the recommendations of the Attorney General’s Office and the Division of Coastal Resources Management pertaining to the Jan. 1, 2021 deadline in importing banned sunscreen lotion; the establishment of a ban on June 1, 2021; and authorizing the Department of Commerce to enforce the ban.

For H.B. 21-60, the Senate added the following language “to strengthen the intent of the bill”:

“The Legislature finds that the indigenous cultures of the CNMI consist of their respective traditions, healing and artistic practices, music, storytelling, and so forth. Throughout the centuries, these cultural practices have remained resilient and adapted to the contemporary conditions of each time period due in large part to the individuals who have dedicated their life’s work to the conservation of indigenous culture. Through the efforts of these individuals, the indigenous cultures of our Commonwealth have withstood the test of time and continue to persist in light of increasing globalization and technological advancement.

“The Legislature recognizes that the preservation of our indigenous cultures is crucial to providing a sense of identity for future generations. Accordingly, the Legislature finds that it is imperative to honor those individuals who continue to perpetuate our cultural traditions and pay tribute to their contributions to our communities.”

The House will hold a session at 10 a.m. today, Wednesday.

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