The House of Representatives and the Senate respectively ended this year’s legislative session on Thursday, October 15 for their constitutional annual or constituency break, previously known as agriculture break.
The formal closure of the 4th Session of the Senate marked the 29th day sitting, while the House was at the 13th day sitting of its extraordinary session.
Conventionally, the Legislature, the first branch of government, embarks on its annual break on August 30, but extended its session by six weeks upon the request of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf made on August 27 in accordance with Article 32b of the 1986 Constitution.
“The President shall, on his (or her) 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 extraordinary session of that body to discuss or act upon matters of national emergency and concern. When the extension or call is at the request of the Legislature, the proclamation shall be issued not later than forty-eight hours after receipt of the certificate by the President,” the Constitution states.
A rumor on the extension of the Legislature’s session by another 15 days did not materialize as a reason for the President’s visit on Wednesday with the joint leadership of the Legislature.
The motion for adjournment of the 4th Session at the House of Representatives made by Montserrado County Representative Edward Forh was unanimously seconded.
In his formal closing and statement of appreciation, Speaker J. Alex Tyler said the conclusion of the 4th Session of the 53rd Legislature was in agreement with their practice, law and constitutional warrant.
Speaker Tyler suggested a pause to commemorate the transition of the late Fofi Sahr Baimba of Lofa County.
“May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. Many and varied were the vicissitudes which confronted us and our people, coming, as we were, from a vicious and unrelenting attack from the Ebola Virus,” the Speaker said.
Speaker Tyler said the second Monday in January of 2015, was the start of the 4th Session, and the House of Representatives held several public hearings on various proposed bills and welcomed into their homes and offices, hundreds of their constituents, as they attended to their multiple problems.
He said 38 bills are with the committees, while 33 bills were passed into law, with a number of bills still outstanding which, upon their return on Monday, January 14, 2016 they would start working on.
Cautioning anti-graft institutions, Speaker Tyler stressed on integrity and urged them to persevere in their sacred objectives.
House’s Interim Administrators
The Bomi County lawmaker pointed out that the House is adjourning for constituency visits, and wished his colleagues well as they rest with their respective family members to reflect on the past year’s work.
But he stressed that the government does not shut down, and announced that the Statutory Committees and Representatives from the 15 counties will continue to meet and serve during the closure of the House.
The interim administrators include Rep. Varmumah Corneh (Montserrado); Rep. Mary Kawah (Grand Bassa); Rep. Jeremiah McCauley (Sinoe); Rep. Dr. Isaac Roland (Maryland); Rep. Larry Younquoi (Nimba); Numennie Bartekwai (Grand Kru); Rep. Christian Chea (River Gee); Rep. Morias Waylee (Grand Gedeh); Rep. Byron Zarweah; Rep. Prince Moye (Bong); Rep. Stephen Kafi (Margibi); Rep. Clarence Massaquoi (Lofa) and; Rep. Haja Siryon (Bomi).
The Speaker said the level of cooperation from the other two branches of government, the Judiciary and Executive, was courteous, cordial and mutually beneficial, for which he thanked the respective heads.
Vote of thanks
Speaker Tyler extended his thanks and appreciation to the personal staffers, central administration staffs and the print and electronic media that helped to carry out their tasks during the 4th Sitting.
“We also thank electors for keeping us busy, alert and on our toes! We wouldn’t have it any other way,” Speaker Tyler said.
The Speaker said that as they approach 2016, they would do their utmost to tackle and, hopefully pass, many of the intractable bills remaining among the various committees.
“The next sitting augurs promise and prospects because our fledgling democracy would be poised for a change in two years, fulfilling the constitutional and statutory mandate, vouchsafed to us by the organic laws of the state,” Speaker Tyler stressed.
“With uncommon zeal, undaunted patriotism and a nationalistic fervor which knows no bounds, I salute you to the task which lies ahead,” he concluded.