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House OKs bill to create CW fee revolving fund

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THE House of Representatives on Friday unanimously passed House Bill 21-91, which proposes to create a Commonwealth Worker Fee Revolving Fund.

Rep. Ivan Blanco gives the thumbs-up sign during the roll call for H.B. 21-91 during the House session on Friday. Also in picture are Reps. Edmund Villagomez and Jose Itibus.  Photo by Emmanuel T. Erediano

Authored by Rep. Ivan Blanco, the bill would also designate the secretary of CNMI Department of Labor as expenditure authority for the funds collected from CNMI-Only Transitional Worker permit applicants.

In a Nov. 1, 2019 memorandum, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres authorized the Department of Finance to release the funds to CNMI Department of Labor.

Prior to the passage of the bill, Labor Secretary Vicky Benavente expressed support for H.B. 21-91, saying the funds will be used for training and the apprenticeships of U.S. workers for technical jobs.

She also commended Blanco for supporting the efforts of the CNMI Department of Labor to expand the U.S. workforce in the Commonwealth.

U.S. Public Law 115-218, or the NMI U.S. Workforce Act, requires the CNMI to submit to the U.S. Department of Labor an expenditure plan for the CW funds.

On Sept. 19, 2019, U.S. Labor Regional Administrator Nicholas Lalpuis informed the governor that the Commonwealth’s worker fund annual plan had been approved. This approval, the governor said, allows the CNMI government to use CW funds in fulfillment of the local workforce plan.

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