22 Apr 2014

CNMI drugs testing bill likely to pass

3:27 pm on 22 April 2014

A bill in the Northern Marianas that would see elected officials undergo mandatory drug tests could still be passed into law, despite the governor vetoing it on Friday.

Christopher Leon Guerrero's proposed that tests be done annually and randomly, with the results made public and if an elected official refused or failed, their salary and benefits would be suspended until they returned a negative result.

But the governor, Eloy Inos, said the measures violated the constitutional rights of elected officials.

Our correspondent in Saipan, Mark Rabago, says there are cases of lawmakers abusing drugs in the past, and the bill is popular.

"[Former] Representative [Raymond] Palacios was caught selling drugs and admitted to using them. So in light of that Christopher Leon Guerrero, who is a former policeman, authored a bill calling for mandatory drug testing for elected officials, just to [hold them] to a higher sense of being clean."

Mark Rabago says the bill could still pass if Mr Guerrero gets the numbers in the legislature to override the governor.