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Pohnpei Legislature


 

Citizen's Guide

 

HOW A BILL BECOMES LAW

    THE LEGISLATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL MANDATE

    The Pohnpei Constitution mandates that the Pohnpei State Government shall have three equal and distinct branches of the government. Article 8, Legislative, is headed by the Speaker of the Pohnpei Legislature, which branch shall be vested with the power and authority to enact laws.

    CRITERIA NEEDED BEFORE A BILL IS DRAFTED AND THE PROCESS OF DRAFTING

    Section 12 of Article 8 generally lays out how a bill is passed and becomes law. Each bill shall embrace only one subject and it shall be expressed in the title of the bill. The content, nature and length of a bill will depend upon the subject of the bill. A bill may be introduced or requested to be drafted by one or more members of the Legislative body, by the Governor's Office, or other governmental entities through the Governor's Office.

    Bills introduced through the Governor's Office are labeled "by request" by the Legislature and are usually signed by the Floor Leader. Sources of the ideas are numerous and encompass a wide array of areas. Any bill that is drafted goes through a process in the Legislative Counsel Division of the Legislature for its legality and other technical changes.

    HOW A BILL IS INTRODUCED

    A proposed bill then goes to the Speaker's Office for Committee assignment. A bill can be assigned to one committee or jointly assigned to two committees depending upon the subject of the proposal. After it has been assigned, the bill is then transferred over to the Legislative Clerk's Office for numbering and logging of the bill.

    ACTION BY THE COMMITTEES ON BILLS INTRODUCED AND ASSIGNED TO A COMMITTEE OR COMMITTEES

    Depending upon the nature and urgency of a bill assigned, a Committee may have public hearings on the measure or elect to table such legislation. When a Committee decides to have public hearings on a measure, such Committee may either report out the proposal for passage, report it out to be tabled, or simply choose not to report out anything.

    ACTION ON BILLS BY THE LEGISLATIVE BODY

    A measure or proposal must be reported out for passage pursuant to Rule 10h of the Legislature Rules of Procedure. A measure or proposal is also subject to the mandate of Subsection (4) of Section 12 of Article 8, which stipulates, in part, that "To become law, a bill shall pass two readings on separate days." The accompanying report is acted on separately and aside from the bill and can either be adopted on the day it is included on the Calendar or referred back to Committee for further research. In either case, a report has to be adopted before any action on the bill may be taken by the Legislature.

    A bill can be passed on first and second readings without amendments. A bill can also be amended a number of times before passing first reading or second reading. If and when a bill is amended, such proposal shall be designated "Legislature Draft" [Rule 10e of the Legislature Rules of Procedure].

    Passage on second reading shall require the affirmative vote on roll call of a majority of the Members of the Legislature, without regard to vacancies. Rule 10k, states, in part, that "when a bill passes second reading or a resolution is adopted, it shall be certified by the Speaker and Legislative Clerk, and then transmitted to the Governor's Office."

    ROLE OR ACTION OF THE GOVERNOR

    Section 13, Article 8, of the Pohnpei Constitution generally states that the Governor, upon receiving a bill passed by the Legislature, shall have ten days to consider the bill, if such bill is submitted ten or more days before the adjournment of that particular session. Otherwise, the Governor has thirty calendar days.

    The Governor may sign the bill into law, allow it to become law without his signature, or veto the whole bill. The Governor may also veto certain items or reduce such items when a bill appropriates money for specific purposes. The Governor shall return the vetoed bill to the Legislature, which bill may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of the Members of the Legislature. Such action can be taken if the veto message is received within the last ten days of the session or during the next session.