Reports reaching this paper say the leadership of the Liberian Legislature has drafted a joint resolution to extend the stay of both House for additional two weeks to pass the 2013/14 National Budget and the Election Bill before going for agriculture break.
The rule of the first branch of government gives them that statutory mandate to take agricultural break for six months in order to visit their respective counties and districts to explain to their people bills being passed and their effects on the country.
Speaking to this paper, Presiding Officer and Chairman on Foreign Relations, Senator H. Dan Morais said the joint resolution is intended to permit the Legislature completes the passage of the National Budget and the Election bill.
The Maryland County lawmaker, who won on the ticket of the National Patriotic Party, indicated that the budget is an annual tool of the government and as such it must be passed before the legislature leaves for break.Commenting on the election bill, Morais added that it should be passed soon to form part for the conduct of the 2014 Special Senatorial Election.
"There are two vital bills before us that should be passed before taking the break; the national budget and the election bill. Failure on our part to pass these bills, it might create some near future embarrassment functions and smooth conduct of the 2014 election', he said.
According to him, the signing of the joint resolution by both Senators and Representatives is nearing completion, suggesting that two weeks additional grace period will be honored by the Legislature.
Already, the House of Representatives have passed both the National Budget and Election bill, but from all indications, there will be a joint conference committee between the both Houses to compare notes. Sen. Maris confirmed also that the leadership is about to set up a conference with the sole purpose of cross-checking the budget for its speedy passage.
Meanwhile, one of the key factor said to be delaying the passage of the Election Bill is the 30 percent allocation to women. Senators are said to be divided on a segment of the amended election laws of Liberia that speaks about 30% equal gender participation.
They are divided on section 4.5 of the amended law that talks about giving 30% gender participation in political parties.
Section 4.5 (1B) states that all political parties or coalition that submit a list of candidates for an election shall also submit a statement, signed by the chairman of its governing body, that the governing body has no less than 30% of its members from each gender.
"A list of candidates submitted to the commission for an election shall have no less than 30% of the candidates on the list from each gender," the law states.
Senators during discussion on the bill submitted to them by the National Election Commission provided different opinion on the 30% gender participation segment of the law.
Many lawmakers see the new bill as a clever attempt to reintroduce the bill that was once introduced by women lawmakers during the 52nd National Legislature and was thrown out. But others think the bill is an effort to empower women to have equal participation with their male counterparts in national development through politics.