Moylan calls for emergency session; Terlaje says fuel bills stuck in committee
By Pacific Island Times News Staff Sen. James Moylan on Thursday asked Speaker Therese Terlaje to call for an emergency session to tackle four fuel-related bills that were not included in this week's session agenda.
However, Terlaje said the pertinent bills are still languishing in the Committee on Appropriations.
"Another month would have gone by and once again a measure addressing this fuel crisis would have failed to be placed on the agenda for discussion," Moylan said in a letter to Speaker Therese Terlaje.
"An emergency session can and should address this issue, and I do hope that you will take my request into serious consideration," said Moylan, a congressional candidate.
Pending in the legislature are four bills addressing tax breaks associated with fuel.
Terlaje's Bills 260-36 and 261-36 propose the repeal of liquid fuel tax.
Moylan's Bill 290-36 seeks to establish a BPT exemption on liquid fuel purchases.
Sen. Joe San Agustin's Bill 295-36 proposed a 180-day moratorium on the liquid fuel tax.
Terlaje said the committee has yet to report out these bills.
The call for an emergency session was prompted by a new round of gas price increase. The price of regular gas hit $6.34 per gallon this week.
"This is getting ridiculous, as only a month ago island residents were concerned that gas prices were nearing $6 a gallon, and now we are nearing $6.50 a gallon as a norm," Moylan wrote. "One thing is certain, this legislature needs to do something immediately to provide relief to island consumers at the gas pumps. "
"While I still believe that my measure is the most ideal solution in this era with a volatile market on fuel costs, at this point all that matters is that some measure is passed immediately and sent to the governor’s desk at the earliest for her action," Moylan said.
He said a special session would allow the governor’s finance team to work with senators before a committee of the whole.
"Whether it is passing multiple measures, or merging a couple of bills into one, at this point, doing nothing is not acceptable for anyone," the Republican senator said.
Terlaje said while an emergency session can be called, the bills require eight votes to move on to the session agenda.
"I urge you to assist me in seeking a committee report on Bill 261-36 from the chairman, or making a motion to place the bill on the floor, notwithstanding the standing rules," Terlaje told Moylan.