The regular session of the House of Representatives was adjourned yesterday, because of the lack of a quorum.
Yesterdays session was supposed to be the 2nd day sitting of the extra session of the 6th Session of the House of Representatives of the 53rd Legislature.
Article 33 of the 1986 Liberian Constitution says: Simple majority of each House constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, but a lower number may adjourn from day to day and compel the attendance of absent members.
A simple majority of the 73 members of the House is 37 Representatives. The House Rules and Regulations say the working days (sessions) for the House of Representative and the Liberian Senate is every Tuesday and Thursday.
According to the House Enrolling Clerk, 15 lawmakers were bodily present, six lawmakers were distant, two excused, one sick, and 49 lawmakers were absent (non-presence without excuse).
A quorum is the minimum number of voting members who must be present at session to conduct business in the name of the House of Representatives.
The Presiding Officer of the House, Montserrado County District # 1 Representative and Chairperson of the Executive Committee, Josephine M.G. Francis, adjourned Thursday’s session amid the distribution of the session agenda, confirming the roll call of the engrossing clerk on the lack of a quorum.
Session is adjourned because of the lack of a quorum, Rep. Francis announced, striking the gavel.
According to Thursday’s agenda, items that were to be discussed included two letters. One was from Representative Worlea-Saywah Dunah, Electoral District # 7, Nimba County, on the need for the National Elections Commission (NEC) to change its regulations to ensure that copies of the Tally Sheets from voting centers are distributed to all duly registered candidates because, he said, many of the cases and electoral disputes arise from the lack of records of the counts being available to all contenders. The other matter was a very disturbing report on the heavy pollution of water, including drinking water within the AcelorMittal Concession Area in Yekepa, Nimba County.
Rep. Dunah is also the Chairman on the Houses Judiciary Committee.
Also, intended to be discussed was a letter from Representative Larry P. Younquoi, Electoral District #7, Nimba County, on an invitation from the Liberia Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development in New Delhi, India from September 13 to 15, 2017 as well as a letter from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marjon V. Kamara, conveying from the Parliament of Canada felicitations to the Legislature and people of Liberia on the celebration of its 179th Independence Day.
The quorum shortage yesterday has been blamed to the number of lawmakers who are seeking reelection. Out of the 73 lawmakers, 65 are campaigning to be re-elected.
The lawmakers who are not running are Representatives Alex Tyler, Moses Kollie, Morais Waylee, George W. Blamoh, James Biney, Worlea-Saywah Dunah and Samuel Worleh.