MONROVIA: Members of the 54th Legislature will today Monday, January 14, 2019 converged at the Capitol Building to officially open the 2nd session of the body.
Both members of the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate will be made to kick –start all of their legislative activities at the Capitol Building following their return from annual recess.
The convergence of both members of the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate is in fulfillment of Article 32 (a) of the Liberian constitution which calls for the “Legislature to assemble once a year on the second working Monday in January.”
The first session of the 54th Legislature was marred with serious political activities at both houses with the passage of crucial bills and resolutions topping its agenda.
One major issue that top the agendas of both Houses of the Legislature was the controversial passage of the ETON and EBOMAF Agreement that was presented by President George Manneh Weah.
Addressing Legislative Reporters following the closure of the first session of the House of Representatives in September 2018, House Speaker Bhofal Chambers said, the low number of laws passed by the House of Representatives in 2018 followed rigorous scrutiny of the proposed laws; but some political observers have commented that the unprecedented low number of laws passed is due to the high number of new lawmakers and the internal conflicts among them on the removal of Maryland County District # 2 Representative as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
According to research, in the 52nd Legislature, the House of Representatives enacted 194 laws in six sessions (2006 – 2011): 10 laws in 2006; 24 in 2007; 51 in 2008; 39 in 2009; 38 in 2010 and 20 in 2011.
President Sirleaf at the time said there were several unresolved key matters of national interest that required the urgent attention of the 53rd Legislature because of their importance to the enhancement of the socio-economic interests of the country.
The proclamation realized the limitation of time to discuss key matters that were important to the smooth transition from one democratically elected government to another that required the participation of the 53rd Legislature.
However, some of the 15 bills, which were approved by the House of Representatives, included the following: The Bill of Impeachment against Associate Justice Kabineh Mohammed Ja’neh; the US$536.4m ETON Finance PTE Limited Loan Agreement; the US$420.8m Financing Agreement/Loan; the US$45.3m CLSG Interconnection Project Loan; and the Kamara Abdullah Kamara Act of Press Freedom to repeal some sections of the Penal Law of Liberia to decriminalize free speech.
Others are the Lands Right Act, a law that gives citizens more power to manage their land; the FY 2017/18 Recast Budget in the tone of US$536 million; the 2018/2019 FY Budget at US$570.148 million or its equivalent of L$84,333,327,390.40 billion; and the New Maritime Law, amending Title 21 of the Liberia Code of Laws revised, affecting Maritime contract and financing vessels’ mortgage; the Business Corporation Act (BCA), Chapter 1 on Associations Law of Liberia, Title 5, Liberian Code Laws relating to Bearer Shares which has to do with creating new Section 5.17, relating to the Custodialization of Bearer Shares or Dividends and an Act to Create the City of Vahun in Lofa County.