Session Adjourns with amended Law Allowing Virtual Sessions of Convention

PALIKIR, POHNPEI. (March 31, 2022)- The 4th Special Session of the 22nd Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia, as called by the President, adjourned on March 28, 2022 with the following Congressional Acts and Resolutions.

As called by the President, the primary purpose of the special session was to address the seeming pause in the work of the Nation’s 4th Constitutional Convention. The Convention was instated at the beginning of January 2020 and went into recess two months later and has since not met.  This all took place during the emergence of the coronavirus or COVID-19 and with the devastating effects of the virus rapidly encircling the globe, in March 2020, the FSM locked down its borders and the Convention along with the Congress were among the many national entities affected.  

With the Nation still under lock-down and the low vaccination rates along with each state still vetting its preventative and mitigation efforts, the Congress had encouraged the Convention to meet virtually and enacted what became Public Law 22-66 which clarified that the Convention can only meet in person when the Nation’s Emergency Health Declaration is lifted.

In light of the improved rate of 79% vaccinated population across the Nation and reassured by each states’ ongoing efforts of COVID-19 prevention and mitigation, the Congress finally passed Congressional Act (CA) 22-92, to amend the previous law and allow the Convention to convene either virtually or in person or any combination of both. This would allow the 4th Constitutional Convention to reconvene after a two-year hiatus and fulfil its mandate.

Another significant measure by the special session is passage of CA 22-86,which appropriated $100,000 for purposes of funding current relief efforts by the World Food Programme to the victims of the war in the Ukraine. While it may be a small drop in the world of international funding compared to the immense need, Chairman Isaac V. Figir noted that the amount is “equivalent to one dollar per person in the FSM.”

The Congress passed CA 22-93, to create a new section 606 in Chapter 6 of Title 10(Foreign Relations) of the FSM Code to establish time limits for recalling FSM Ambassadors and other foreign service personnel who were nominated by the President, but not confirmed by Congress.

The passage of CA 22-88, made technical amendments to Title 52 (Public Employment) of the FSM Code, to make technical amendments to clarify that the provision regarding acting capacity is applicable to all positions in the National Government.

The Congress passed the following measures to either changed the use or the allottee of certain funds previously appropriated for public projects and social programs for the people across the Nation: Specific to the state of Kosrae - CA 22-90, CA 22-94 and CA 22-95; for the state of Pohnpei -  CA 22-87; the state of Chuuk has the following -  CA 22-89 and CA 22-96; and finally for the people of all four states, the Congress passed CA 22-91.

Along with the Congressional Acts, the Congress also adopted a few resolutions during the 4th Special Session, and they included:

Congressional Resolution (CR) 22-102,to accept a grant of $2,343,536 from the U.S. Department of Education - Office of Special Education Programs, to fund and support the FSM Special Education Program for the Fiscal Year 2021;

ThroughCR 22-103, the Congress set $105,175,505 as the ceiling of the total funds available for appropriation from the FSM General Fund for the Fiscal Year ending September 30, 2022, inclusive of domestic revenues, amended compact sector grants & supplemental education grants;

As a direct result of the unusual tidal surge or King Tide affecting the islands and communities within the state of Yap, CR 22-105 amended the President’s Declaration of State of Emergency for the State of Chuuk on January 14, 2022, by extending the Declaration of Emergency to the state of Yap to May 31, 2022;

And finally, the Congress adopted CR 22-106, to express the its sincere condolences and sadness to the U.S. Congress and to the family of the late Don Young, U.S. Congressman at his passing. The late Don Young was the longest-serving member of the U.S. Congress having served his country for 49 years as a Representative of Alaska. He was a longstanding supporterof the FSM during his 25 terms in U.S. Congress and was committed to the Compact of Free Association between the two countries. The late Young made many contributions to the FSM including his tireless work to ensure the fair treatment of the FSM citizens residing in the U.S under the REAL ID Act Modification for Freely Associated States.

The 4th Special Session adjourned sine-die on March 28, 2022. Unless a special session is earlier called by the Speaker, the next Regular Session of the Congress is scheduled for May 11, 2022.

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