Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Will PL 16-208 be signed into law as written?

PL 16-208 was passed by both the CNMI house and the Sentate. This a tremendous piece of legislation and I'm not sure if any of the drafters took full consideration of the ramifications of this bill. First off the bill has a one year limit on nurse contracts. So basically what the legilation is saying is that for all IR's and work permit holders who are R.N.'s they will have to renew their license next year. In order to continue to work they would have to get a U.S. visa at a cost of approximately $2500 a pop, and they would have to be paid at least the minimum U.S. regional wage for nurses which includes guam and hawaii. I anticipate that this legislation could end up costing a million dollars and it will cost more than keeping the foreign nurses on 2 year contracts. Fair to the local nurses or not, it will probably end up costing the government more.

Also when applying for a U.S. visa, the company has to actually certify that there was no qualified U.S. people for the job. If the employer is requiring 2 years experience, they would have to pay a greater starting salary. I don't think it was thought out well at all, but then again, I don't have all the statistics on what the status of the workers are.

The cap of 100 nurses, what is that. And is that for LPN's and RN's. How many local nurses are there right now. People keep saying that there is a nursing shortage. It is obviously bogus, but what is the reason for the cap.

It's up to the Governer now. My guess is he will do a line item veto and mark out the cap on nurses and the one year requirement to renew the nurses permits.

Action on Legislation by the Governor.
a) Every bill enacted shall be signed by the presiding
officer of the house in which the bill originated and
transmitted to the governor. If the governor signs the
bill, it shall become law. If the governor vetoes the
bill, it shall be returned to the presiding officer of
each house of the legislature with a statement of the
reasons for the veto. The governor may veto an item,
section, or part in an appropriation bill and sign the
remainder of the bill; provided that the governor may not
veto an item, section, or part governing the manner in
which an appropriation may be expended if any
appropriation affected by the item, section, or part is
b) The governor shall have twenty days in which to consider
appropriation bills and forty days in which to consider
other bills. If the governor fails either to sign or
veto a bill within the applicable period, it shall become
c) A bill or an item, section, or part of a bill vetoed by
the governor may be reconsidered by the legislature. The
legislature shall have sixty days from the receipt of the
governor's veto message in the house of origin of the
vetoed bill, item, section or part of a bill to
reconsider the vetoed legislation. If two-thirds of the
members in each house vote upon reconsideration to pass
the bill, item, section or part, it shall become law.

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