NEWS: Calvo asks Lee to transmit TRAN bill for his signature
Bill approved by majority of senators present and voting at May 9 session
May 25, 2017
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The governor’s tax refunds bill was passed by the majority of senators present and voting at its special session of May 9, and the Legislative Secretary has yet to present the bill to the governor for his signature.
“I don’t know what they’re waiting for,” Governor Calvo pondered. “It’s been 16 days since that bill passed, according to the Organic Act, and every day counts. We probably won’t be able to get the line of credit in time for our May 31 deadline, but sooner is a lot better than later. We’re talking about the lives of thousands of people waiting for their money. I don’t think it’s right for the Legislature to delay the presentment of that bill to me so I can sign it into law.”
Governor Calvo wrote today to Legislative Secretary Sen. Regine Biscoe Lee inquiring on the whereabouts of Bill No. 1 (1-S). This is the bill the governor introduced in April to authorize him to issue tax and revenue anticipation notes this year and for the next two years to speed the payment of tax refunds. It’s commonly called the TRAN bill.
After several delay tactics and controversy presented by a minority of senators who have stood in the way of faster tax refunds payments, the majority of senators present and voting actually voted to pass the bill. Of the 13 senators present and voting, seven voted yes, six voted no.
“Customarily, the Legislative Secretary, on behalf of the Legislature, presents legislation duly passed to I Maga Lahi within days, if not hours, of passage and engrossment,” the Governor’s letter to Sen. Lee explains. “The presentment of bills is a legislative duty prescribed in federal law.”
The governor reminded the senator that “No local statute or rule may supercede that authority.”
The federal law the governor is referring to is from the Organic Act, and clearly and explicitly enumerates how many votes are needed to pass any bill. This is found in 1423b of the Organic Act, which states, in part:
“[The Legislature] shall choose from its members its own officers, determine its rules and procedure, not inconsistent with this chapter, and keep a journal. The quorum of the legislature shall consist of a simple majority of its members. No bill shall become a law unless it shall have been passed at a meeting, at which a quorum was present, by the affirmative vote of a majority of the members present and voting, which vote shall be by yeas and nays.”
The perspective Governor Calvo asks Sen. Lee to keep is that behind this legislation are the real lives and struggle of thousands of people hoping for its passage and the relief it brings.
“Please do not let them wait any further. Please do your duty, present that bill to me. I will sign it, and our people, after more than two decades, will finally be able to get their money back as intended under the tax code. You had the opportunity to be part of the solution, but instead you and a minority of senators present and voting stood in its way. You now have a duty to move this solution to my desk for immediate signature.”   – ending paragraph of Gov. Calvo’s letter to Sen. Lee.

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