GOP senators say ‘parameters’ needed in felon voting rights restoration

first_imgDES MOINES — The governor’s proposed constitutional amendment to automatically restore voting rights to paroled felons has cleared an initial hurdle in the Iowa Senate, but it’s future is in doubt.“Is that the right public policy, to have universal restoration of rights? I don’t think so,.” Senator Jake Chapman, a Republican from Adel, said during a senate subcommittee hearing Tuesday afternoon.Key Republican senators like Chapman say the plan isn’t likely to clear a committee as currently written. Senator Dan Dawson, a Republican from Council Bluffs, said that likely means adding language to the proposed amendment so rapists, child molesters and anyone convicted of causing the death of someone else never get their voting rights restored.“Pragmatically, the pathway forward — for this to be successful, there are going to have to be parameters,” Dawson said.Ninety-five of the 100 members of the Iowa House endorsed the governor’s proposed constitutional amendment last week. Drew Klein of Americans for Prosperity is urging senators to vote for it, too, and then consider separate legislation to define which paroled felons would be eligible to vote.“I think we can kind of help craft the framework for what that looks like,” Klein said during Tuesday’s subcommittee hearing, “but obviously there’s a timeline in the legislature…and I think it’s important to move this forward so that we can continue to have those conversations.”If the Senate Judiciary Committee does not endorse the proposed constitutional amendment by this Friday, the matter is ineligible for debate for the rest of the 2019 legislative session.last_img read more

“Appropriate Actions, Forensic Audit of NOCAL”

first_imgThree major committees of the Senate have made several recommendations to plenary on the state of affairs at the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), among them, appropriate action against all employees, senior management and Board members who have betrayed the public trust.The recommendations were contained in a report dated August 17, and was submitted to plenary yesterday by the Committees on Lands, Mines, Energy, Natural Resources and Environment; Committee on Public Corporations, and the Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget.In their 12-page report, the committees, among other things, recommended that appropriate action be taken against all employees, senior management and Board members who have betrayed the public trust; but however, recommended that all those who have been severed receive their just benefits in accordance with the Law of Liberia.The report comes in the wake of mounting concerns that the company is facing financial difficulties, and that some of the major oil companies were pulling out of petroleum acreages.At the same time, the committees are recommending that the General Auditing Commission (GAC) conduct a forensic auditing of NOCAL for unaudited periods.Considering that Liberia is still a frontier area in terms of oil exploration, the committees recommended the development of an aggressive program, both to retain companies in the program and to attract others in the face of competition from other countries some of whom have found or are producing oil.In view of this, the committees are suggesting that the current management structure of NOCAL be reviewed, eliminating the many vice presidents and other senior management position. They further recommend that the total employment level of NOCAL be reduced significantly to the bare bone minimum, and that priority for retained employees should be given to technical fields such as geology and engineering, since they are the most needed at this stage of the oil program.The committees outlined several cardinal factors they believe are responsible for NOCAL’s current predicament, among them a huge payroll to accommodate an-over-bloated staff and a plethora of vice presidents and other senior management positions, coupled with an unrealistic corporate social responsibility program.Other areas reported on in the committees’ document showed that NOCAL was carrying on “an overly ambitious local and foreign scholarship program without due attention to priorities as a frontier country; very expensive, very frequent and often very unnecessary foreign travels, donations in millions of US Dollars to government agencies for extra-budgetary expenditure, and general spending spree as if Liberia were an oil-producing country.”The report revealed that the companies which pulled out of their petroleum acreages generally completed their work programs without finding oil, and said the drop in the price of oil also served as a disincentive for the companies to remain in Liberia due to competing demands on their global operational and exploration budgets. “An aggressive and innovative strategy is required to keep the Liberian oil program active,” the committees concluded.In the debate that followed after the presentation, several Senators agreed that NOCAL be audited, especially from the stage when oil blocks were awarded to companies.However, a greater number of Senators refused to buy the recommendations that severance payments be made to individuals considered for such, and that the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning assists NOCAL financially when such demand is made.Others argued that some of those receiving severance benefits were the same ones who led the company to its downfall, and that it would make no sense paying for their administrative ineptitude.Several recommendations were then made and plenary voted to send the report back to the committees for a final report, and that the report be submitted to the leadership of the senate for onward submission to the Executive for action. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more