Monday, March 24, 2014

Third Special Session of the Eighteenth FSM Congress starts in renovated chamber

The Kapilne Church choir singing a number at the start of the opening meeting of the Third Special Session of the Eighteenth FSM Congress in the freshly renovated Congressional Chamber.
FSMIS (March 24, 2014): Federated States of Micronesia President Manny Mori and Vice President Alik Alik attended the opening of the Third Special Session of the Eighteenth FSM Congress this morning.

The meeting started with the blessing of the renovated chamber. The blessing and opening prayer were done by Fr. Julio Angkel, Vicar of the Catholic Vicariate of Pohnpei and Kosrae. A choir from the Kapinle Church added prayerful tunes and songs, including the singing of the FSM National Anthem.

With all fourteen Members of Congress present, Speaker Dohsis Halbert appointed the four At-large senators: Senator Joseph J. 
Urusemal, Senator Peter M. Christian, Senator Wesly W. Simina, and Senator Yosiwo P. George as members of the "Committee to Wait on the President". In general, at the start of session, this special committee formally informs the President of the convening of the legislative body, conveys greetings and possible concerns from Congress, and undertakes discussions with the President on matters he would like address during the session.

Fr. Julio Angkel blessing the renovated facility and the opening of the session
This special session has been described as "very critical" for two major bills that has been in front of Congress for some time namely, the tax reform bill and the telecom reform bill. With regards the latter, Senator Christian informed the body that the Congressional Standing Committee on Transportation and Communication will hold a public hearing tomorrow morning at 8:30 to continue discussions with officials from the FSM Telecom and the FSM Department of Transportation, Communication and Infrastructure regarding the bill.

The tax reform bill has time-sensitive provision pursuant to Public Law 18-16 which requires that all States must have passed their Value Added Tax legislations before midnight of March 31, 2014 or else the reform bill becomes void.

The Meeting document (Order of Business) reflects an extensive registry of communications lodged with Congress along with a bill referral sheet that shows a proposed appropriation bill for $300,000 to provide "funding for the athletes from the four States to participate in the 2014 Micronesian Games, and for other purpose".

Congress went into recess after the formalities were done, setting to resume session tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock.  

The special session is scheduled to conclude on April 2, 2014.

For further information, call FSMPIO at 320-2548 or email

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