Legalities complicate war claims bill error issue

Many seats were empty during Friday's legislative session after five Republican senators walked out in protest of the handling of the war claims bill error.

Legal issues have now been added to the war claims bill error issue which is further complicating the problem.

Senator Chris Duenas, the Republican Minority Leader, said he wants a decision from somebody who is an officer of the court saying whether or not this law was actually legally passed.

“We want to know whether this bill was legally passed and transmitted with an amendment that was not passed on the floor,” Duenas said in an interview with NewsTalk K57’s Tony Lamorena.

Duenas also wants the governor’s office to opine on the issue because their legal counsel reviewed the bill before the governor signed it into law.

“They either knew or didn’t know, and either one is bad,” the senator said.

If Adelup’s legal counsel knew, Duenas said they must have advised the governor that under the language of the bill, it’s not going to be just a $10 million payout

“This is going to be the entire class of those descendants of individuals deceased prior who will come and apply on their behalf to receive this benefit for their estate And if they informed the governor of that and the governor said,’ I’m not concerned about that I’m signing it’ ….. then I want to also understand where is the legal basis for this,” the senator said.

He added that it’s important to find out whether or not the bill was passed properly on the floor, even now that the governor knows that it wasn’t passed properly.

Speaker Therese Terlaje, also in an interview with K57’s Lamorena, said it’s not clear right now whether, in order to rescind the action, the governor also has to rescind her signature, and then the legislature has to vote to take action on the action they took on Bill 130-36.

“I don’t think that’s clear right now. All of those can be discussed with the legal counsel. As with almost every legislation, it’s gonna take somebody to make a motion. So we’ll see which of those motions come up,” Terlaje said.

She added that it’s possible to do a new bill or a new law that repeals the current erroneous war claims legislation.

“I think that’s the cleaner way. But there may be other options that other members of the Legislature might have,” Terlaje said.

But either way, the Speaker said walking out of session, as five Republican senators did last Friday, won’t resolve the problem and will just prolong the issue.