The third session of the 54th Legislature is expected to begin on Monday, January 13, 2020 to fulfill the requirements in Article 32 of the 1986 Constitution, which says, “The Legislature shall assemble in regular session once a year on the second working Monday in January.”
All 73 members of the House of Representatives and the 30 Senators, including the President and Presiding Officer of the Senate, Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, are expected to ‘Salute to the Liberian Flag’ and pledge allegiance to the Republic. After the performances of the ‘Salute to the Flag’, the 104-member Legislature will parade to their respective Chambers for ‘formal separate opening ceremonies’ which will be characterized by roll calls and speeches from Presiding officers. The official opener of the 3rd Session of the 54th Legislature will be crested will a dinner at the Rotunda of the Capitol Building, wherein President George M. Weah and members of the Cabinet, Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Sr. and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court and other dignitaries will be invited.
Prior to the feast, a synchronized and joint program will be held during which the leaderships of both Houses and the President will make special remarks. Traditionally, not much gets done in the Legislature each year prior to the State of the Nation Address, which is usually in two weeks. On Monday, January 27 — the fourth working Monday in January, President George M. Weah will give the third State of the Nation Address of his current 6-year-term in consonance with Article 58 of the 1986 Constitution.
The President’s 3rd Annual address will also fulfill the requirements in Article 58 of the 1986 Constitution, which says, “The President shall, on the fourth working Monday in January of each year, present the administration’s legislative program for the ensuing session, and shall once a year report to the Legislature on the state of the Republic. In presenting the economic condition of the Republic the report shall cover expenditure as well as income.”
The State of Nation Address (sometimes abbreviated: SOTA) is an Annual Message delivered by the President of Liberia to a Joint Session of the Liberian Legislature, presided over by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, at the beginning of each calendar year. Amid protests for President George M. Weah to step-up his governance organized by the Council of Patriots (CoP) and another pending demonstration, coupled with the bad economy, there are reports that the President on Monday, January 27 might issue a call for national unity and national peace and caution that “politics of revenge” and “partisan protests” are threats to economic recovery and the fragile peace.
Reports further said the President might appeal to reach a compromise in the interest of the country and the Liberian people. Meanwhile, this 3rd Session is expected to be crucial with the appeal to the Legislature to pass on (act upon or ratify) some 29 priority bills which have been submitted by the President. It may be recalled, prior to adjournment of the 2nd Session, the President said the national conversation on tenure, economy and the general state affairs began with the appeal to the Legislature to approve the eight revised propositions for referendum to amend the 1986 Constitution.
The President further said ‘Priority Bills’ are some of the unresolved key matters of national interest that require the urgent attention of the 54th as well as geared toward the enhancement of the socio-economic interests of the State and its people, including been contingent on financial agreements that Liberia stands to lose US$40 million in this fiscal year, if nothing is done. Also, in October 2020, there will be Special Midterm Election, wherein 15 seats will be contested in the 15 counties.