Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia

Lawmakers conference adopts social security and compact office resolutions

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Congress): September 15, 2009 - The first resolution (MLC R.09-02) called upon the United States to establish an office of the Department of Interior in the Federated States of Micronesia to deal specifically with implementations of the amended Compact of Free Association with the U.S.

The second resolution (MLC R.09-03) called for a one year delay to the implementation of certain provisions of Public Law 15-73, the amendment to the Social Security Act. The provisions relate to the increase in contributions and to the retirement age of 60.

While the MLC resolutions targeted specific issues, the Communiqué provided an overview of the MLC agenda and the ensuing views of the lawmakers.

The conference started on the morning of Monday - September 7 2009, with the opening formalities that included statements from each respective state legislature and the election of Vice Speaker Berney Martin of Pohnpei State Legislature as the Chairman for the 2009 MLC.

On Day One of the conference the FSM representatives on the Joint Economic Management Compact Committee (JEMCO) briefed the legislators on the committee's recently concluded meeting in Honolulu. Secretary of Foreign Affairs Lorin S. Robert provided an overview of their meeting and discussed in length, the 10 adopted resolutions that are national in nature as well as state specific. These resolutions addressed a broad range of issues from Infrastructure Maintenance Fund to Public Utilities and Foreign Investments to those areas of ongoing discussions - education and sector grants.

Aside from the opening formalities, which included the presence of President Emanuel Mori, the JEMCO briefing and its subsequent discussions made up the remainder of Day One of the 2009 MLC.

Day Two opened with a general discussion on Temporary Special Measure in relation to the proposed legislation to reserve seats for women in the FSM Congress, with presentations from Ms. Lululeen Santos and Mr. Jonathan John, the UNIFEM Team on Pohnpei, along with a regional perspective offered by Ms. Ethel Sigimanu of the Solomon Islands Government on balancing gender representation in political bodies.

Another item of discussion on Day Two was the amendments to the Social Security Act which recently became law. The law makers had a healthy exchange after the presentation by the Social Security Administration and resolved to enforce the law on the indicated dates, but delay the implementation of certain provisions of concern to the states.

The 5-year Compact Review was another issue of major interest to the lawmakers with presentations by Director and representatives from the Office of SBOC along with a perspective offered by Dr. Wali M. Osman of the US Office of Insular Affairs.

A presentation on Foreign Investments and Regulations by the National Department of Resources and Development wrapped up Day Two of the MLC 2009, with the law makers noting the need for relevant authorities at the national government to work with the states on issues relating to foreign investment laws and regulations and the matter has become part of the official communiqué.

The final presentation of the conference was by Jason D. Aubuchon and Kevin O'Keefe, representatives from the USDA Graduate School, who presented an overview of the nation's Trust Fund along with a summary economic review of the national and state governments. A lengthy discussion followed their presentation and at the end the lawmakers expressed their sincere appreciation for an insightful presentation.

The Conference concluded on the afternoon of Wednesday - September 9th with the endorsement of the two resolutions spelling out the consensus of the nation's lawmakers and recommendations for a summary of the 2009 MLC in the form of a communiqué.

For further information on this release, please contact:

Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia
Public Information Office
P.O Box PS-3
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2324/2325
Fax.: (691) 320-5122