Liberia: Special Session Agenda to Include Free Tuition, Public Health, LACC Nominees

Senate Pro-Tempore Albert Tugbe Chie presided over the Senate’s decision, which was made on Tuesday, September 5, at the conclusion of the Special Legislative Session called for by President Weah.  

President Pro-tempore of the Liberian Senate, Albert Chie, has announced that its special session will comprise the continuation of the debate on the amended Public Health Law, the issues of elections, the attraction of Public Sector investment, and continuation of the confirmation process for nominated Commissioners of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, amongst others.

Chie was addressing his colleagues on August 23, the first day sitting of the two-week Special Session, which was called for by the Legislature, and not President George Weah.

The Senate Plenary is expected to consider within the two weeks the continuation of the debate on the amended public Health Law. According to him, the law contains many contemporary issues important to health care delivery in Liberian society other than the issue of abortion contained in the bill.

 “Most especially challenges experienced and knowledge gained from the EBOLA outbreak and the COVID 19 pandemic,” he said.

 Chie added that the bill contains issues on bio-security and bio-safety, improvement on occupational health, provision on foods and other products for infants and young children, new chapter on traditional alternative medicines, new provision for emergency treatment and many others.

Chie asserted that the bill came to the Senate from the House of Representatives for concurrence, wherein the Senate committee on Health has had several consultations and public hearings, but have not arrived at a final version for the final approval of the Senate Plenary.

“Fellow citizens, we are appalled by the interference in our Legislative process and condemn the lies which are being propagated by people who have little or no understanding of the various issues contained in the proposed new Public Health Law and the transparent manner in which the debate has been proceeding at the Liberian Senate,”  he stressed.

Chie also disclosed that during sitting, the National Elections Commission will be cited to provide information on its total preparedness for the conduct of the October 10 elections including the issue of security in elections, as well as ratification of a mineral development agreement.

The Senators are also expected to continue deliberations on the controversial confirmation process for nominated Commissioners of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission;  and briefing from the Ministry of Public Works on the mandate given by the  Senate to have the two primary south-eastern road corridors pliable within 30 days, and the passage of the Free Tuition Act, among others.

The special Session is in fulfillment of Article 32(b) of the 1986 Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, which says: The President shall, on his own initiative or upon receipt of a certificate signed by at least one-fourth of the total membership of each House and by proclamation, extend a regular session of the Legislature beyond the date for adjournment or call a special or extraordinary session of that body to discuss or act upon matters of national emergency and concern.

The Special Session is the second during the 6th Session of the 54th Legislature. It follows a six-day special Session requested by President George Weah, during which a member of the Senate accused a colleague, and by extension all Senators, of receiving US$20,000 as inducement for passage of the current recast budget.