4 Nov 2008

CNMI's Legislature clips Governor's powers

11:56 am on 4 November 2008

The Legislature in the Northern Marianas has passed a bill clipping the Governor's powers to declare a state of disaster emergency.

Under the bill, the Governor will not be able to use his constitutional powers to declare an emergency to deal with "financial crisis or hardship."

Proponents of the bill say such declarations should only be allowed in extreme cases such as an invasion, civil disturbance or natural disaster.

The bill was introduced in the wake of the Governor's emergency declaration for the Commonwealth Ports Authority, which was facing technical default on its airport revenue bonds due to financial problems.

The CNMI is currently under three states of emergency: one for the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation, one for the lack of a full-time pharmacist at the Commonwealth Health Center, and one for the island of Anatahan, which experienced a volcanic eruption in 2003.