Marianas Variety

SAIPAN, CNMI (March 29) – It is now the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands governor, not its lawmakers, who specifies how much an agency will get and how it should spend the money. It is also the governor, not lawmakers, who decides what legislation should be passed and how quickly.

The 15th Legislature, as we have earlier pointed out, is more than happy to be the administration’s rubber-stamp, which is probably good for the governor but certainly bad for the public.

Too much power is being concentrated in one man (whose election as governor, incidentally, was not endorsed by almost two-thirds of the electorate), and too many lawmakers are abdicating their responsibility to the people they are supposed to represent, and whose interests they are sworn to guard. But then again, this Legislature has a legal counsel who, earlier this year, said that "if this is unconstitutional then so be it."

So perhaps it should not be surprising that it also has members who apparently believe that the term "checks and balances" refer to their bank accounts.

In any case, now that the governor is practically doing their job, lawmakers should be required to return a portion of their bloated paychecks to taxpayers. Why indeed should they be spared from the work-hour reduction proposal of their boss, the governor? Fair is fair. The least that this do-nothing Legislature could do now is to cut its own expenses.

March 29, 2006

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