Bills to re-open public land claims and reinstate visa, dead
Resurrection very likely
By: L.N. Reklai
October 3, 2016 (Koror) The two controversial subjects, re-opening of claims to public lands and reinstating the visa requirement that have had the House and the Senate and the rest of Palau community divided, have died after both houses of OEK rejected their Conference Committee reports. [restrict]
After months of public debates, public hearings, bitter exchanges of letters and other political rhetoric to sway public to one side or the other on these two issues, House bill 9-209-25S, HD1 (restoring land court and reopening land claims) and House bill 9-203-22S, HD1, SD3 (amending Continuing Budget Authorization language and reinstating visa requirements) were each rejected by both Houses.
House bill 9-209-25S, HD1, SD1 and HB 9-203-22S, HD1 were referred to Conference Committees of both houses.
Conference Committee in their deliberations reached a compromise in which changes from both bills will be incorporated into one House Bill 9-203-25S, HD1,SD1.
Committee agreed to go back to the original body of the House Bill 9-203-23S, HD1, which restored full operations of Land Court and re-open claims to public lands.
Additionally, the Committee agreed to include into the same bill amendments to RPPL 9-62 provisions for State Block Grants and SS benefit supplemental payments, payments for Pablo Max case, Ngchesar landfill civil case and reinstate visa requirements that was previously repealed under RPPL 9-62.
Conference Committee reports were presented to both houses of OEK. Both House and the Senate rejected the Committee reports which basically killed both House bill 9-209-25S, HD1, SD1 and House Bill 9-203-22S, HD1, SD3.
Despite the death of the two bills, the controversial subjects of both bills are not likely to remain death. Talks of resurrecting them are already raised on the floor. [/restrict]