Senate Passes ‘Eligibility Bill’

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The Plenary of the Senate has passed the proposed “Eligibility Bill” with several amendments.

The Bill which was submitted by Grand Cape Mount County Senator, Cllr. H. Varney G. Sherman, was passed on Tuesday, July 3, 2018, following a report submitted to the Senate Plenary by the Senate’s Joint Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims, and Petitions and autonomous Commission.

“We wish to submit a joint Report of the committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims and Petition and the Committee on Autonomous Commission on the proposal of Senator, Counselor Varney Sherman from Grand Cape Mount County for enactment of a Law entitled: “Act to Regulate the Eligibility of Sitting Senators and sitting Representatives for Ensuring Elections During their Terms,” The joint Committee indicated during their submission to Plenary. The Committee, in its report, called on the Senate Plenary which is the highest decision-making body to pass the proposed Law as a tool for future elections.
The committee went on to state that “the proposal by Senator Sherman to restrict the right of sitting members of the House of Representatives and sitting members of the Senate to canvass for, and be elected to a vacancy in either the House of Representatives and the Senate, which proposal is self-explanatory and needs no further elucidation and herein be accepted and endorsed by the Liberian Senate.”

Secondly, the joint Committee indicated that the draft law as proposed by Cllr. Sherman to put the above proposal into effect be voted upon and enacted into law and pass over to the House of Representatives for its concurrence, with only one reservation.
Additionally, the Joint Committee stated that the only reservation is that the proposed law, when enacted, should not take effect and should not be applied to the ensuring by-elections for the vacancies created in the Senate by the election of President George Manneh Weah, formerly Montserrado County Senator, and Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, formerly a member of the Senate from Bong County, for which vacancies the by-elections are slated to be held not later than 31 July 2018.

“The draft law submitted by Sen. Cllr. Varney Sherman has been revised to include the reservation stated in the recommendation,” the Committee noted.

Following the submission of the Committee’s report, the legislative instrument was subsequently subjected to intense debate.

Several Senators including Nimba County Senator Thomas Grupee, Peter Coleman of Grand Kru, George Tengbeh of Lofa County, Jonathan Kaipee of Grand Bassa County, Jim Tornola of Margibi County, Stephen Zargo of Lofa, H. Dan Morias of Maryland County amongst others argued that the passage of the law will enable the country to save money.

Following several hours of discussion, the proposed Act was passed with several amendments to include “All sitting members of the House of Representatives and the Senate wishing to contest in ensuring elections should resign before contesting, and the proposal is included in the Electoral Law of Liberia.
The proposed law is expected to be forwarded to the House of Representatives for its concurrence.

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