Nitijela reconvened for an unusual May meeting Wednesday this week, with plans to continue meeting through Friday to address legislation related to the in-progress Constitutional Convention.
Wednesday morning, during off-air comments, senators engaged in debate over spending by and funding needs of the Con-Con, with some senators saying Con-Con should not proceed with planned public hearings in the United States because of the cost.
Three Con-Con bills passed the first reading Wednesday morning before Nitijela went on break to attend a funeral. Speaker Kenneth Kedi agreed to the senators’ request to reconvene Thursday with the ultimatum that Friday will be the last day to consider new Con-Con bills.
Before Speaker Kedi made the ultimatum that Friday is the deadline for Con-Con bills, Nitijela went off air for a few minutes, which launched argument over Con-Con activity.
Majuro Senator David Kramer questioned why Con-Con delegates are planning to visit the US for public hearings when they could use their time more productively in the Marshall Islands. He added that people in the US would question what the delegates are doing in the US when they (Marshallese in US) can’t vote.
Aiseia rebutted Kramer’s comments, saying it is important that the people living abroad understand changes that need to be made to the Constitution. If Con-Con members go abroad, it is to get the point of views and feedback from Marshallese living in the US, he said.
KBE Senator Eldon Note fired back and said why are there requests for increasing the Con-Con’s Nitijela-approved budget. Instead let’s use the money to send people abroad for healthcare and shorten the Con-Con, he said.
Read more about this in the May 12, 2017 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.