Nitijela passes many bills

Ministers Brenson Wase, left, and John Silk, right, conferred with Senator Kessai Note during the recently concluded Nitijela session. Photo: Hilary Hosia.

Before wrapping up its final session in late September and dissolving, Nitijela passed a number of bills. These include:
• Postal Services Amendment Act. This clarifies roles of the board and Minister responsible, as well as strengthening “the appearance of the independence of the (Postal) Authority,” according to the bill’s summary.

• Import Duties Amendment Act. This will exempt KAJUR from tax on imported lubricating and diesel fuel oil, MEC for fuel imports, and licensed fishing vessels in the RMI from paying tax on imports of nets and net supplies, wire rope, petroleum, oil and lubricant (POL) products, machinery, parts and supplies.

• Elections and Referenda Amendment Act. This requires that all ballot boxes be locked and secured every time tabulation stops, and that on the completion of tabulation, no representatives of candidates can remain on the premises unless approved by the Chief Electoral Officer.
• Disaster Assistance Amendment Act. This requires that the government maintain a minimum of $200,000 and maximum of $500,000 in the Disaster Assistance fund through annual appropriations of Nitijela.

• Workers Compensation Act 2016. The legislation sets out guidelines for compensation and rehabilitation of workers who are injured on the job, and requires every employer to provide a secure payment for medical services and supplies, disability benefits, and compensation for injuries causing death. It was originally introduced in 2016 by the late Senator Mattlan Zackhras.

• Health Fund Amendment 2018. This will allow revenue from the Health Fund to be used for the salaries of specialized doctors, and establishes a sitting fee for members of the Health Fund Board, except for the Minister, at $100 per sitting day.
• Juvenile Procedure Amendment Act 2018. This sets a 10pm to 6am curfew for all young people under the age of 18 through the RMI. It also allows local governments to enact their own ordinances with different curfew hours.• Appropriation Act FY2020. This approves the spending of $228,455,489 in the new fiscal year from October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020.

Read more about this in the October 18, 2019 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.

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