Yes, I know. I've skipped #3 (the Open Government Act initiative). I haven't gotten to it yet. But thought I should post what I can.
Senate Legislative Initiative 16-11 (S.L.I. 16-11) has the same number as H.L.I. but is entirely separate and different. Not to be confused by the 16-11--be sure to check out the pre-fix.
S.L.I. 16-11 amends Article VIII, section 1 of the CNMI Constitution.
It makes the following changes:
1. It changes the day of elections in the CNMI from Saturdays to Tuesdays.
2. It sets all elections in only even-numbered years.
3. It adjusts terms of elected public officials to make sure the respective positions are filled until the next election in an even-numbered year. It does this by adding a year to terms, where necessary.
4. The next regular general election would be in 2012. The next governor's election would be 2014.
As noted in the CEC pamphlet on pros and cons, this means the governor we elect in this election, will have a 5 year term, the legislators will have 3 year terms, senators will have 5 year terms, and mayors will have 5 year terms.
It also means that we will not be having elections every year; will save money on the cost of elections; will not be hearing election "music" every year; and will have our elections more closely to the same time as elections in the U.S.
I do prefer Saturdays for elections. I think they provide greater opportunity for people to vote. But nothing in this Constitutional provision prohibits the Legislature from passing some type of law that mandates that all employers give at least one hour (or more) during the work day to their employees for the purpose of facilitating their ability to cast a ballot in the election.
And the cost savings, along with less election hoopla, seems to me a real bonus.
I'm pretty sure the even years were chosen because of federal elections, and now that we have a federal delegate, this will also enable us to coordinate CNMI elections with that election as well.
(I may regret this, especially if Benigno Fitial or Juan Pan wins the governor's position, but) In general, I would vote yes on this S.L.I. 16-11.