Members of the 53rd Legislature return to the Capitol Building on Monday, January 13, 2014 after enjoying four months of a Constituency Break.
According to sources from the House of Representatives and the Senate, both institutions will this time around hold a joint opening ceremony in the Joint Chamber of the Legislature. Our sources also hinted that official duties of the 103-member Legislature will be declared opened.
On Tuesday, January 14, according to our source, the first sitting of the Senate and House of Representatives will take place within their respective Chambers.
President Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf is expected to be among political party leaders, religious leaders, Foreign and Local Dignitaries Invited to grace the occasion.
On January 20, 2014, and in line with the Constitutional mandate, President Sirleaf will deliver her annual message to the nation in the Joint Chamber of the Legislature, detailing activities of her Government during the year 2013.
The Legislators started their annual break on September 13, 2013 following a decision to request for two-week extension needed to iron out issues pertaining to the National Budget and the passage of Bills/Acts that had languished in committee rooms, while others were given fast-track passages.
After 59 days of sittings the Senate in total acted upon 63 Bills, while 65 Bills remained in committees’ rooms.
Out of that number, the Senate passed 19 Bills and sent them to President Sirleaf for her signature. 24 of those 63 Bills acted upon are concurrence Bills that came from the House of Representatives and the Senate concurred, while 20 other Bills passed by the Senate are still in committee rooms of the House of Representatives.
The Senate also received names of 243 persons for confirmation proceedings, of which four commissioners-designated from Gbarpolu County were denied, while two names-Madam Mary Broh and Henrietta Peters were withdrawn by President Sirleaf, the former for disagreement among Senators and the latter for conflict with age.
For its part, the House of Representatives decided to use part of the Constituency Break to conduct a nation-wide consultation among the citizens on the Petroleum Reform Bill passed by the Senate and sent to that body for concurrent, and in the processed used US$900,000.
Of the 30 Senators occupying that Chamber of elders, 15 of them are seeking the mandate of the electorate for one more term of nine years. And there are indications that some will not be in the Joint Chamber when President Sirleaf delivers her 2015 annual message.
Unlike House Speaker Alex Tyler who stays around enjoying the confidence of the electorate, Senate Pro Tempore Gbehzohngar Findley’s seat is highly contested for the October 14 Special Senatorial Elections.
Already, former President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Grand Kru Senator Cletus Segbe Wotorson has officially announced that he is not going for re-election, and will give his blessings to a younger man whom he hopes will have the same vision of helping the citizens of Grand Kru.
Senator Wotorson, 76, started working for government in 1963 at the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy during the administration of President William V.S. Tubman, and for 50 years worked within the governmental and private sectors.