26 May 2008

Bill plans to restrict CNMI governor's powers to declare state of emergency

10:35 am on 26 May 2008

The CNMI House of Representatives has passed a bill restricting the governor from exercising his executive power to declare a government agency under a state of emergency unless the situation involves natural or manmade disasters.

The bill sponsored by House Floor Leader Joseph Camacho, came in the wake of Governor Benigno Fitial's decision to declare the Commonwealth Ports Authority under a state of emergency citing CPA's financial troubles .

The declaration empowers the governor to immediately takeover CPA for 30 days.

Mr Camacho said the bill clarifies the definition of a state of emergency and financial hardship or financial crisis are not considered a state of emergency.

He said his bill, which now goes to the Senate, strictly limits the definition of emergencies to natural or manmade calamities.

Mr Camacho said there are enough local statutes to help a public entity facing financial troubles without stripping it of its autonomy.