By Rhealyn C. Pojas

The senate passed a resolution on Wednesday to amend Rule 7 of the Senate Rules of Procedures, otherwise known as the Standing Committees, to add four new committees, making the minority bloc members now able to head specific committees.

In the previous set-up, only the Senate majority were able to head the certain committees while the rest were just members.


Senate minority bloc members Senators Rukebai Inabo and Uduch Senior expressed in a phone interview yesterday that they are optimistic on the newly passed resolution, saying that they are now able to continue to work on issues that are important to them.

Senator Senior viewed the resolution as an act to continue to maintain unity in the Senate.

During the session, Senate President Hokkons Baules, the one who introduced the resolution, also said that with this set-up, he can foresee the positive and productive end result of working together as a united Senate.

Meanwhile, the House of Delegates, through a letter addressed to Baules which was dated February 22, has also commended the Senate’s initiative, saying that they applaud the efforts to “create a more inclusive senate.”

In the letter, House of Delegates Speaker Sabino Anastacio said that the inclusive reorganization will foster productive working relationships and enhance the work of the 10th Olbiil Era Kelulau.

Anastacio also stated prior to that that the House of Delegates had also adapted the same initiative in the past two terms and had allowed each non-presiding member to chair a committee under their house.

“I have found that these approach encourages cooperation and harmony among our members because each Delegate has the opportunity to dutifully represent constituents through the thoughtful consideration of matters before the committee,” Anastacio stated.     Senators who were present during the first day of the Sixth Special Session of the Senate 10th Olbiil Era Kelulao had unanimously voted to pass the resolution which now added four additional committees namely the Culture and Tradition headed by Senator Uduch Sengebau Senior, Public Utilities, Communications and Housing Development headed by Senator Rukebai Kikuo Inabo, Banking and Insurance headed by Senator Mason Whipps and Maritime and Climate Change headed by Senator Phillip Reklai.

According to the resolution, it is the duty of the standing committees to review any other matters assigned to them by the Senate which may include, but not limited to, the “review of presidential communications, advise and consent on executive appointment nominees within the jurisdiction of that committee, reports on fact-finding missions, and any other matters that may be assigned to a Committee by the Senate.”

The other committees and their heads are the Ways and Means and Financial Matters headed by Senator Mark Rudimch, Judiciary and Government Affairs headed by Senator Kerai Mariur, Capital Improvement by Senator John Skebong, Health and Education by Senator Stevenson Kuartei, Tourism and Development by Senator Camsek Chin, Foreign Affairs and State Matters by Senator Aric Nakamura, Resources, Commerce, Trade and Development by Senator Frank Kyota, and Youth and Social Welfare by Senator Regis Akitaya. [/restrict]