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Cie Dion ‘ra: (omy ot At Fax: (6) 6542308, Cinna Divison ‘a (orycat aeons a (610) 2367016 Inventive Unt ra oot sion? ax (610) 6642519, Divino migration Saipan ‘ra (ory eons ae (67) 6663190, te om S206 Fe (60) 52.190, re @mpasnan2 Fae (673790 Ta ro ecrassie Fa (67) 204809 Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Office of the Attorney General 2nd Floor Hon. Juan A. Sablan Memorial Bldg. Caller Box 10007, Capital Hill Saipan, MP 96950-8907 Thursday, 9 July 2009 Ms. Frances M. Sablan Chairwoman Mr. Robert A. Guerrero Executive Director Commonwealth Election Commission P.O. Box 500470 Saipan, MP 96950-0470 Re: Certification of Constitutional compliance for initiative petition to subject the Legislature to the Open Government Act Dear Chairwoman Sablan and Executive Director Guerrero, Pursuant to the Regulations Governing Certification of Signatures for Initiative, Referendum and Recall Petitions § 3-102, 27 Commw. Reg. 24015, 24028 (Feb. 17, 2005) (submission to AG no later than 150 days prior to next regular general election) (10 June 2009), the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has been asked by Representative Christina-Marie E. Sablan on behalf of a group of CNMI citizens to certify whether their timely-submitted initiative petition to subject the Legislature to the Open Government Act (OGA) complies with the CNMI Constitution. 1 find that the initiative petition does satisfy the requirements of Article IX, Subsection 1(a) and, thus, should be submitted to the voters of the Commonwealth in the election scheduled on Saturday, 7 November 2009. As you are aware, Article IX, Subsection 1(a) of the CNMI Constitution, contains all the requirements for a petition to be placed on the ballot. It provides: An initiative petition shall contain the full text of the proposed law. If the petition proposes a general law for the Commonwealth, the petition shall be signed by at least twenty percent of the persons qualified to vote in the Commonwealth. N.MLL Const. art. IX, § l(a). The Attorney General is required to certify whether or not this requirement has been met. N.M.I. Const. art. IX, § 1(b). Ifa petition meets the requirements of subsection 1(a) and the Attorney General so certifies at least ninety days before the election — by Sunday, 9 August 2009 — then the petition must be submitted to the voters in the next general election, NML Const. art. IX, § 1(¢). Ms, Frances M. Sablan, Chairwoman Mr. Robert A. Guerrero, Executive Director Commonwealth Election Commission Re: Certification of Constitutional compliance for initiative petition to subject, the Legislature to the Open Government Act ‘Thursday, 9 July 2009 Page 2 ‘On Tuesday, 6 May 2008, the proponents of the OGA amendment timely submitted the initiative petition, bearing an apparent 2,740 signatures, to the CNMI OAG, including approximately 295 supplemental signatures on Friday, 6 June 2008. On 7 June 2008 there were 12,049 registered voters in the CNMI, according to the Commonwealth Election Commission (CEC). Therefore, under the requirement that an initiative petition “shall be signed by at least twenty percent of the persons qualified to vote in the Commonwealth,” N.M.L Const. art. IX, § l(a), the initiative then needed 2,410 valid signatures. However, on 10 July 2008 the CEC determined that although the apparent signatures on the petitions submitted exceeded that, they contained only 1,898 valid signatures, so the proponents were given an additional ten days to file additional 512 valid signatures. Regulations § 3-109, 27 Commw. Reg. 24015, 24031 (Feb. 17, 2005). On Monday, 21 July 2008, a batch of “make-up” signed petitions, reportedly containing 1500 signatures, was submitted. As of Wednesday, 10 June 2009, the number of registered voters in the Commonwealth ‘was ascertained by the CEC staff to be 13,848. ‘Therefore, the 20% requirement is 2,770 valid signatures. The CEC staff has determined that 2,979 of the submitted signatures remain valid, exceeding the required 20%. Because the initiative petition for the Open Government Act amendment satisfies the requirements of the Constitution of the CNMI, Article IX, Subsection 1(a), I certify that it should be submitted to the voters of the Commonwealth in the next general election that is at least ninety days away. The next such election will occur on Saturday, 7 November 2009. The petition should be submitted to the voters in that election, to “become law if approved by two-thirds of votes cast by persons qualified to vote in the Commonwealth.” N.M.I. Const. art. IX, § 1(d). Ifyou have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Assistant Attorney General Meaghan Hassel Shearer or myself. Very truly yours, Miagary Sohn Gregory Baka Acting Attorney General Ce: Hon. Christina-Marie E, Sablan