Special Session passes Climate Change Act, works on Telecom Bill

PALIKIR, POHNPEI. December 13, 2013 – The Second Special Session of the Eighteenth Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia adjourned with a Climate Change Act, a Policy on Overseas Development Assistance, assistance towards Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts, and grant resolutions for various federal programs in the Nation.
 
Convened on November 25, the 2nd Special Session began its work foremost by passing Congressional Act (CA) 18-24 to establish a Climate Change Act for the Nation.  The legislation mandates certain departments and agencies of the National Government to develop and implement measures to meet the Nation’s Climate Change Policy with their progress reported to Congress annually by the President. 
 
On the heels of the Climate Change Act was CA 18-25 to appropriate $225,000 towards humanitarian relief efforts for victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan with $100,000 towards the Philippines;  $50,000 to the Republic of Palau;  $50,000 to the State of Yap;  and $25,000 to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. 
 
Congress also passed CA 18-30 to clarify that the new division formula for Compact Funds as set by Public Law 18-12, is applicable to all Compact funds, with the exception of the Supplemental Educational Grants under Section 105 of the amended Compact which will adhere to the existing terms. 
The President’s supplemental budget request of $1,856,752 was also passed during the 2nd Special Session as CA 18-32. Along with the supplemental budget, Congressed passed CA 18-34, to appropriate $4,900,000 to fund public project and social programs in the four states. The remaining Congressional Acts were amendments to previous projects and social programs in the various states: CA’s 18-26 – 20, 31, 33 and 35. 
 
One of the major legislations addressed during the 2nd Special Session was Congressional Bill (CB) 18-77 to liberalize telecommunications in the nation. The Committee of Transportation and Communications had held various hearings with the relevant parties and is expected to continue during the Third Regular Session. It is the Committee’s goal to allow time for all related and relevant parties to voice their views on the issue. However, a member had introduced CB 18-110 as an alternative to the 100+ pages telecom Bill.   
 
Congress meanwhile, for time sensitive reasons, adopted Congressional Resolution (CR) 18-37 for a $500,000 grant from the World Bank application to fund the strengthening of legal, regulatory, and institutional framework of telecommunication services in the Federated States of Micronesia.
 
Along with the world bank resolution, Congress adopted 25 resolutions during the 2nd Special Session, and they included:
CR 18-20, to establish a policy for Overseas Development Assistance to set guidelines to manage the nation’s development assistance to maximize benefits;
 
CR 18-39, to request the President to organize a nation-wide Youth Summit during Summer 2014, to educate the Nation’s youth on current issues and encourage their involvement in the planning and development of their Nation’s future;
 
CR 18-45, to confirm the nomination of Redley Killion as the Private Sector representative on the FSM Petro Corp Board; and Peter Garamfel (CR 18-51) as the other Private Sector representative on the same Board; 
 
CR 18-72, to approve the nation’s membership on the International Renewable Energy Agency or IRENA;  
 
CR 18-87, to confirm the nomination of Simpson Abraham as Kosrae’s representative on the Board of National Oceanic Resources Management Agency or NORMA; 
 
CR 18-97, to set the ceiling of available funds at $65,218,904 of which $61,706,746 would be from the domestic revenue with the remaining $3,512,158 to be from funds available under the amended Compact; and 
 
CR 18-98, to extend the Second Special Session of the 18th FSM Congress until December 05, 2013, an extra day. 
The remaining 15 Resolutions adopted by Congress were grants addressing various development needs of the nation and some grants to enable payroll for certain federal employees at the state level funded under Sector grants of the amended Compact and they included the following:  
 
Congressional Resolution 18-48, to accept a $648,948 grant from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community to assist the FSM in the successful implementation of national adaptation activities under the Global Climate Change Alliance of the Pacific Small Island States program;
 
CR 18-50, to accept a $60,000 grant from the United Environment Programme to fund Phase IV of the Institutional Strengthening under the mandates of the Montreal Protocol;
 
CR 18-62, to accept a $44,930 grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to fund the Preventive Health Services Project in the FSM; 
 
CR 18-63, to accept a $282,250 grant from the Japanese Government, for the Goods and Services Program for the fiscal year 2013;
 
CR 18-82, to approve the submission of a $300,000 grant proposal to the US Department of Health and Human Services Human Resources and Services Administration , to fund the Universal Newborn Hearing, Screening and Intervention Program in the Federated States of Micronesia,.
 
CR 18-85, to accept a $3,327,595 grant from the US Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs to fund and support the FSM Department of Education’s effort to provide special education and related services to children with disabilities; 
 
CR 18-88, to accept a $486,950 grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration to fund Maternal and Child Health Services in the FSM; 
 
CR 18-89, to accept a $12,300 grant from the World Health Organization to fund training for food handlers in the FSM and related activities; 
 
CR 18-90, to approve the submission of a $40,000 grant proposal by the FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs to the United States Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to fund the National Public Health Improvement initiative; 
 
CR 18-92, to accept a $27,132 grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to fund the implementation of the FSM Tracking, Surveillance, and Integrated Project;
 
CR 18-93, to accept a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration designated towards the improvement of data capacity in the FSM;
 
CR 18-95, to approve the submission of a $751,391 grant application to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency to fund the FSM Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program and FSM Community Mental Health Services grant for years 2013 and 2014.  Of the requested amount, $598,861 would fund the FSM Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program and the remaining $152,530 to fund FSM Community Mental Health Services;
 
CR 18-100, to accept a $500,000 grant from the  US Office of Insular Affairs to be utilized in 2014, to fund a single audit for FY 2013, as required by the Single Audit Act;
 
CR 18-101, to accept a $220,000 grant from the Global Environment Facility which is critical to prepare national biodiversity, revise national biodiversity strategies and undertake clearing house mechanism activities in the FSM per its obligations as a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity; and finally 
 
CR 18-102, to accept a $45,523 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administrator, to fund data capacity improvement in the FSM for the Department of Health and Social Affairs, by maintaining the four MCH data clerks in each of the four States to continue collecting data for document relevant information concerning pregnant mothers, children and adolescents, including those with special health care needs, and to develop systems to support data collection and reporting for the MCH program.
 
Following the necessary procedures by the Legislative Branch, the pieces of legislations have been transmitted to the Office of the President for appropriate actions by the President and the Executive Branch.
 
The Second Special Session of the 18th FSM Congress adjourned sine die on December 05, 2013. Congress will convene for the Third Regular Session of the 18th FSM Congress on January 10, 2014 for the duration of 20 days, unless shortened or extended.  
 
Sessions of Congress, as always, are open to the interested public. 
 
All Congressional Bills and Resolutions and corresponding Reports, if any, can be accessed through the Congress website at: www.fsmcongress.fm.
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Information about the Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia is available through the:
CONGRESS PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
P.O. Box PS-3 | Palikir, Pohnpei 96941 |  Tel:  (691) 320-2324 | Fax:  (691) 320-5122
e-mail: cpio@congress.gov.fm | website: www.cfsm.fm