Guam – The more than week long CNMI government shutdown is a step closer to being lifted after the Legislature late last night finally passed the $132 million fiscal year 2011 budget bill.
The appropriations measure is now with Gov. Benigno R. Fitial and if signs he signs it during the weekend, the over 1,000 non-essential employees, who were not able to report to work since Oct. 1 because of a partial government shutdown, will be back to work by Tuesday. Monday is a holiday.
At shortly after 11pm last night, the House accepted the Senate’s amendments to the fifth—and as it turned out to be—the final fiscal year 2011 budget bill on an 18-0 vote.
The Senate’s amendments to the bill restrict the governor’s hiring and fund reprogramming power, but gave in to the House’s 16-hour work cut and let go of its proposed 12-hour cut per pay period.
The weeks of impasse ended when the Senate, on an 8-0 vote, accepted the House’s 16-hour work cuts per pay period around 10pm Friday.
The House and Senate earlier in the week compromised on 13 unpaid holidays, a leadership account of $138,000 apiece for the House and Senate, lawmaker’s annual discretionary allowance of $85,000 each, as well as funding for the Northern Marianas College and the Public School System.