Minority leader says he’ll attend session; war claims issue may dominate again

Legislature seal (PNC file photo)

The war claims issue may again dominate the scheduled legislative session today — that is, if the legislature manages to have a quorum.

Last week’s session was cut short after five Republican senators — Frank Blas Jr. Telo Taitague, Chris Duenas, Joanne Brown, and Tony Ada — walked out in protest over the handling of the war claims error issue. The senators said they walked out because they want transparency and they want the discussion of the error to be conducted in public.

Senator Chris Duenas told NewsTalk K57’s Patti Arroyo in an interview this morning, that he will likely attend the session today scheduled at 10 am.

“I will show up. I will meet with leadership and with those who share my concerns and basically go through the process of moving this process forward. I think, you know, we should have some concessions. I think that’s the way it should work,” Duenas said.

It’s not yet clear whether the other Republican senators who walked out last week will show up in today’s session. But since Duenas is the Minority Leader, it’s most likely that the other Republicans will attend session as well.

But if they do attend, it’s certain that they will ask for a motion again to discuss the war claims bill error in public.

“We will continue to ask for transparency and accountability. I mean where does the buck stop? How can we have the moral authority to hold the government accountable when as the legislative body, we don’t hold ourselves accountable?” Duenas asked.

For Speaker Therese Terlaje, having a quorum for today’s session is needed if they are to finally resolve the issue.

“They need to make motions, we need to get votes. We can’t move on anything if we can’t even get a quorum,” the Speaker said in an interview with NewsTalk K57’s Patti Arroyo.

Under the legislative rules, senators can be forced to return to session as a last resort.

“I sincerely hope it doesn’t come to that because this is a spectacle already. And I can’t see the need for the additional spectacle of dragging senators into submission because they don’t want to show up. It’s their job to be there,” Terlaje said.