The Attorney General has confirmed that Fitial is planning to execute a Declaration of a State of Emergency for the NMIRF. The story was covered by the Marianas Variety ( http://mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/46853-administration-may-declare-fund-state-of-emergency.php ). By declaring a State of Emergency the Governor will take full control over the NMIRF and all standard regulations will cease to exist. What type of reporting and accounting of what occurs under a State of Emergency is not fully known.
THE HISTORY OF STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARATIONS BY FITIAL:
As a sitting Governor of the CNMI, Fitial has issued State of Emergency Declarations in the past for:
- Commonwealth Utilities Corp.
- Commonwealth Health Center Corp.
- The Entire CNMI Government (2010)
- Rota Health Center
- The Entire Island of Tinian (2009)
- Tinian Health Center
- Island of Anatahan (2008)
- PSS (Marianas High School-Kagman Elementary School-Koblerville Elementary School-Oleai Head Start) (2008)
Note: I may have missed a few. If I did, please comment them in below. Also, many of these declarations were extended or declared on numerous occasions for the same agency.
In 2008, Fitial’s Press Secretary, Charles Reyes, said “The Governor would rather not have to declare such emergencies or invoke his constitutional powers so often, but the situation demands it. The architects of our Constitution contemplated such emergency situations and empowered the Governor to take extraordinary actions to meet crisis situations of this kind.”
In 2010, the CNMI Legislature passed a bill to limit the Governor’s powers during a State of Emergency and require stricter reporting requirements. Not surprisingly, Fitial vetoed the bill. Fitial commended the Legislature for introducing the bill but said, “the stricter reporting requirement is unnecessary and unduly burdensome”.