Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Kudos to Tina!

Finally, someone is doing something the right way on Capital Hill. I don't know if it's the altitude or if it's the bullshit that gets to people's heads when they're voted into office here in the CNMI, but things get really fucked up when you ad a government title to your name.

At least that's the case here on Saipan.

Somehow, against all odds a valiant young woman continues her march against corruption from the inside. She's already got a seat in the Legislature and a discretionary account, but Tina Sablan is working to make every expenditure of every office holder public knowledge.

The fact that anyone holding office would oppose should serve as a political death sentence, but that doesn't work for our resident muckraker and purveyor of the flavor saver, Stanley "Mc Guinness" Torres.

Funny enough was this part of the story:

While the Open Government Act applies to all other government agencies, the Legislature passed a law in 1994 to exempt itself from the act’s provisions. The petition calls for a law re-applying the government transparency law to the Legislature.

Everyone who voted in favor of this law should be barred from ever holding public office because they clearly don't give two shits about anyone other than themselves.

For all of your hard work and determination I offer this humble message of congratulations to you, Tina, for making The Honor Roll!

Enough from me. Here's the story as it appeared in the Saipan Tribune:

1.6K signatures back transparency petition


Approximately 1,600 additional signatures were submitted to the Attorney General's Office late Monday afternoon in support of a petition for a more transparent Legislature.

Proponents of the petition need at least 512 valid signatures, in addition to the 1,900 previously submitted and verified, to get the initiative on the ballot in the November election. The initiative proposes to amend the law to apply the Open Government Act to the Legislature.

“Hopefully, that [1,600 signatures] is a good enough margin of error for at least 512 signatures to be valid,” said Rep. Tina Sablan, the main proponent of the petition, which she started as a private citizen last year.

Even if the signatures are found sufficient, proponents of the proposal still face the unresolved legal question of whether or not the initiative can be placed on the ballot this year.

The Constitution requires that initiatives to amend the Constitution or a general law be placed on the ballot at a regular general election. The Attorney General's Office has issued an opinion that the current legal definition of a “regular general election” only includes elections held in odd-numbered years on the first Saturday of November.

For initiatives to be voted on this election, the Legislature needs to change the definition of “regular general election” or call a concurrent special election, Deputy Attorney General Gregory Baka has said.

Sablan said her group is considering an alternative action. “We would appeal to the Election Commission to consider other legal perspectives that hold that the federal law that mandates the delegate election this year changed everything-the Covenant, the Constitution, and CNMI election laws, with or without action from the local legislature explicitly amending the definition of 'regular general election,'” she said.

“But of course none of this would be an issue if the delegate bill pending in the [CNMI] Senate right now is signed into law, because that acknowledges the election law changes that were made when US Public Law 110-229 was enacted,” she added.

The federal law granted the Northern Marianas a non-voting delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives. The first ever delegate will be elected on Nov. 4, 2008.

While the Open Government Act applies to all other government agencies, the Legislature passed a law in 1994 to exempt itself from the act’s provisions. The petition calls for a law re-applying the government transparency law to the Legislature.