By: L.N. Reklai
(Ngerulmud, Palau) The proposed bill to allow Land Court to hear claims and make land ownership determinations was killed during Senate’s 29th Special Session held on November 10th, 2016.
Senate bill 9-188, SD1, HD1, “To remove the deadline for the operations of Land Court; to allow dismissed claims to be revived and new claims to be filed until March 31, 2017, to require comprehensive public notice period; to protect third parties with interests in public land”, was rejected in the 3rd reading in the Senate.
The original Senate version sought to remove the deadline for Land Court operations only. The House version added revival of dismissed claims, opening of new claims and protection of third parties with interests in public lands.
The bill failed to pass the 3rd reading and therefore, died in the Senate.
The issue of reviving dismissed land claims due to untimely claims and re-opening claims to public land that were closed by law in 1989 has been a hot issue prior to the 2016 general election.
The subject had earlier bitterly divided the House and the Senate, particularly pitting the House against the Senate JGA Committee Chairperson Senator Uduch Senior. In the last attempt to compromise, the Senate agreed to the terms to re-open public claims and revive dismissed claims if the House include visa requirement in the bill to amend the RPPL 9-62.
House rejected the recommendation of the Committee and thereby rejecting the proposed compromise.
In the meantime, Land Court remains unable to hear cases or make land ownership determinations. [/restrict]