2 Sep 2003

Legislation in limbo in Northern Marianas after government quorum is questioned

9:40 am on 2 September 2003

Fourteen bills passed in the Northern Mariana Islands Senate are in limbo because of questions over the legality of the session held by four minority senators.

The Saipan Tribune reports the senators were told by the iminority leader, Pete Reyes, that the session was legal and that the bills passed went through correct proceedures.

However, the Senate's President Paul Mangolona claims it was illegal because the four Senators did not amount to a quorum, which requires a minimum of five.

The Governor, Juan Babauta, who has held off signing the bills into law, has left it to the Senators to settle the matter.

The Attorney General's office has been asked for a legal opinion on the issue.