LNP, BIN Bills Stuck on Capitol Hill

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The passages of the respective acts of the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) of 2015 by the House of Representatives in concurrence with the Senate have stalled owing to a Motion of Reconciliation from Montserrado County Lawmaker Henry B. Fahnbulleh.

The two acts were simultaneously and unanimously enacted into laws on their very last day to their Easter Break, on Thursday, March 17, 2016 by both Houses.

In a letter accompanying the bills, and read before Plenary, the Chairman on National Security, Gbarpolu District # 1 Rep. Alfred G. Koiwood and the Chairman on Judiciary, Bomi County District # 1, S. Kayah Karmo informed their colleagues that the committee reached the decision urging for passages of the bills after initiating a joint public hearing with the Senate.

The Joint Committee cited former and current national security actors and civil society groups.

The Committee assured members of the House that when the bills are passed, they will restructure police and immigration and make them more effective ahead of the UNMIL drawdown.

After the passage of the bills, Montserrado County District # 4 Rep. Henry B. Fahnbulleh filed a motion of reconsideration accompanied by an official letter, stating the reasons for the reconsideration.

According to Section 11 of the House Rules and Regulations, the reconciliation letter should be provided two days after the particular session.

The House will resume on Tuesday, April 5, to continue the work of the 5th Session.

Rep. Fahnbulleh alluded to three procedural errors, including violation of the 1986 Constitution.

The Montserrado lawmaker said constitutionally, a bill should always originate from one of the Houses, thus, there should never be a joint public hearing.

He indicated that the House Plenary did not mandate the Joint Committee (National Security and Judiciary) to merge with the Senate.

He further stated that the Joint Committee left out the Good Governance and Government Committee headed by Nimba County lawmaker Larry Younquoi from the public hearing process, which is statutorily part of the Joint Committee.

“I mean what I said. The formal communication for the motion of reconciliation against the passage of the LNP and BIN restructure acts will be provided as scheduled. We are not against the bills, but the respective procedures of their passage,” Rep. Fahnbulleh said.

This means that if the letter is written, it would be read during session and tested by the lawmakers through votes. If majority members vote in favor, the acts would be sent back into Committee room, but majority vote against would send them to the President for her subsequent endorsement. If she endorses the bills, they would be sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be printed into handbills.

The two acts were among several bills submitted last October to the Legislature for enactment into law by the Chief Executive, President Sirleaf.

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