Palau Sessional Legislation
RPPL No. 9-37
NINTH OLBIIL ERA KELULAU
Fourth Regular Session, October 2013
RPPL No. 9-37
(Passed as House Bill No. 9-70-4,HD3,SD3)
To amend 22 PNC § 229 to ensure scholarship recipients receive timely disbursements, and to set aside money for the teaching of special education, and for other related purposes.
THE PEOPLE OF PALAU REPRESENTED IN THE OLBIIL ERA KELULAU DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. Legislative findings.
The Olbiil Era Kelulau finds that there are not enough qualified instructors of children with disabilities in the Republic. For too many children with disabilities, their only viable option to receive an education is to attend classes that because of their disability they are unable to realize their potential in. The scholarship fund has successfully brought back to Palau numerous qualified persons with advanced degrees from universities around the world, but few of them come back to the Republic with a degree in the education of children with disabilities. This bill will set aside a portion of the scholarship fund to encourage students to earn an education in the field of special education and then bring those skills back to the Republic to help out the many children that need the extra support.
Furthermore, the Olbiil Era Kelulau finds that numerous recipients of awards and grants from the National Scholarship Fund are unable to properly fund their education without incurring unnecessary late fees due to the fact that disbursements from the National Scholarship Fund often arrive after the school term begins. In addition, these students are often unprepared for class as they do not have any available money to purchase the books and supplies required for their proper instruction. The purpose of this bill is to require disbursement of scholarship funds no later than two weeks prior to the start of the school year.
Section 2. Amendment. Amend 22 PNC § 229 as follows:
"§ 229. Authorization; Scholarship Fund.
(a) It is hereby authorized to be appropriated annually the sum of one million five hundred thousand dollars ($1,500,000) or three percent (3%) of the revenue of the National Government generated from domestic sources, whichever is greater, to carry out the provisions of this subchapter. Upon appropriation such sums shall be separated from the National Treasury or other funds. All funds appropriated to carry out the provisions of this subchapter shall, upon appropriation, be deposited in a special account maintained by the Scholarship Board, and not part of the National Treasury. Funds shall be released from this account only upon the signatures of both the chairman of the Board and the Director of the Bureau of National Treasury. The Bureau of National Treasury shall account for the expenditure of such funds, and the funds shall be subject to audit by the Public Auditor. Funds appropriated to the Scholarship Board shall be exempt from the reprogramming authority of the President. Any unexpended or unobligated funds shall not revert to the National Treasury or lapse at the end of the fiscal year, but shall remain in the Scholarship Fund. The funds appropriated hereunder shall come from the percentage share of total local revenues allocated to the National Scholarship Fund in compliance with public law; provided that any fiscal year-end revenue surplus or deficit of the National Scholarship Fund shall cause a budget adjustment to the National Scholarship Fund in the following fiscal year in the amount of the surplus or deficit. Not less than twenty-five percent (25%) of each annual appropriation shall be used for the purpose of student loans in accordance with a student loan fund program established by the National Scholarship Board. Loan repayments made pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be deposited back into the Scholarship Fund and shall be made available for the same programs, under the same conditions and restrictions as other appropriated funds. Such funds shall not revert to the National Treasury or lapse at the end of the fiscal year, but shall remain in the Scholarship Fund.
(b) The Board is authorized to maintain and expend the Scholarship Fund pursuant to annual appropriations by the Olbiil Era Kelulau. No later than sixty (60) days prior to the beginning of each fiscal year, the Board shall inform the Olbiil Era Kelulau as to the amount required to fund the scholarship and educational loan needs of qualified Palauan students.
(c) In maintaining and expending the Scholarship Fund, the Board may dispense its yearly allocation of funds in the form of loans or grants, as well as, scholarships; provided, however, that funds available from sources specifying the nature of the fund as a loan, grant or scholarship, shall be expended in the same manner. The Ministry of Finance and the Scholarship Board will disburse the scholarship, grant, or loan funds to recipients no later than two weeks prior to the start of the school term, unless exceptional circumstances require otherwise. The Scholarship Board will make scholarship, grant, or loan funds available to recipients by means of electronic disbursement when possible and at the request of the recipient. The Board shall establish, by regulation, rules for such loans and grants, including terms of repayment, and shall provide semi-annual reports to the Olbiil Era Kelulau summarizing such loans or grants, in the same manner as for scholarships.
(d) The Board is authorized to manage and administer all forms of scholarships, grants, loans, sponsorship programs and training opportunities, of whatever nature, made available to citizens of the Republic, unless the source of funds shall limit the administering and managing authority for such funds to another entity.
(e) All forms of scholarships, grants, loans, sponsorship programs and training opportunities, of whatever nature, made available to, or through, agencies of the national government of the Republic, shall be directed to the Board for administration and management unless the source of funds shall limit the administering and managing authority to another entity.
(f) The Palau National Scholarship Board shall issue regulations regarding the award of scholarships to students studying in "priority fields" to encourage students to receive degrees in areas of study important to the development and growth of Palau. The regulations will include what areas of study constitute "priority fields," which must at a minimum include law, medicine, education, special education, and engineering, and how much scholarship funding students seeking degrees in those fields should receive, and the requirements to qualify and maintain a scholarship for study in a priority field. Repayment of a loan from the Fund shall be forgiven as to each student who completes degree studies in a priority field and who is employed continuously for five (5) years, commencing within two (2) years after completion of degree studies, by the national government of the Republic of Palau, a state government, or within the private sector of the Republic of Palau, including private schools and non-profit organizations, as a practitioner in the priority field for which the student received a scholarship.
(g) In addition to the other powers granted in this section, and subject to the restrictions established in this section or otherwise provided by law, the Board may use the Fund to issue regulations to develop, enact, expand, and promote any program that furthers the purposes of the Scholarship Fund and this Chapter, including:
(1) internship programs in Palau for Palauan students studying abroad;
(2) the Cohort Program at Palau Community College;
(3) student loan repayment programs for Palauan students who return to Palau after receiving a degree abroad; and
(4) programs to assist Palauan students with obtaining foreign scholarships.
(h) Regulations issued by the Scholarship Board will be promulgated through the process established by the Administrative Procedure Act, Title 6 of the Palau National Code and must ratified by the Olbiil Era Kelulau by joint resolution."
Section 3. Amendment. 22 PNC § 225 is amended as follows:
"§ 225. Board members; composition; terms; compensation; removal.
(c) Members of the Board shall be entitled to administrative leave and all necessary travel expenses and per diem at standard Republic of Palau rates for travel necessitated by the business of the Board. Board members shall be paid, in addition to any other compensation entitled, fifty dollars ($50) per day while on the business of the Board.
Section 4. Repealer. 28 PNC § 604 is repealed.
Section 5. Amendment. 13 PNC § 1052, as amended by RPPL 9-14 and re-codified from 30 PNC § 172, is amended as follows:
"§ 1052. Fees for employment of nonresident workers.
(a) For each new nonresident worker an employer hires after the effective date of this section, the employer shall pay to the National Treasury an initial fee of $150. Thereafter, the employer shall pay an annual fee of $100 for each nonresident worker it employs. Half of the proceeds of the nonresident worker fees collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited into the Scholarship Fund established by 22 PNC § 229(a).
Section 6. Amendment. 28 PNC § 108(k)(9) is amended to state as follows:
"(9) Each business enterprise carrying on a business under a foreign investment approval certificate, or a foreign entity conducting business activities in the Republic exclusively to fulfill the terms of a contract with the national government shall pay a minimum wage of not less than the minimum wage paid to national government employees, provided, however, that this subsection shall not apply for remuneration of workers while engaged in commercial fishing, agriculture and aquaculture enterprises; and pay into the National Treasury of the Republic of Palau, an annual fee of five hundred dollars ($500) for each non-citizen employed which sum shall be collected by the National Treasury. Half of the proceeds of the fees for non-citizen workers collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited into the Scholarship Fund established by 22 PNC § 229(a)."
Section 7. Amendment. Section 18 of RPPL No. 9-34 is amended to state as follows:
"Section 18. Subsidy to PPUC for Water & Sewer Operations. The sum of $3,419,000 is authorized for appropriation and is hereby appropriated for expenditure in Fiscal Year 2015. Of this sum, $1,704,720 is a subsidy for water and sewer operations to the Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC). The remaining balance of $1,714,280 will be used for capital expenditures as follows:
(1) Improvements commenced under PWSC $488,180
(2) Water Conservation & Drought Preparedness Projects $670,000
(3) Leadership directed improvements to OS water systems $556,100
Funds allocated to items 2 and 3 may be used to pay for water system repairs and new waterlines instead of those itemized capital expenditures in addition to the funds already appropriated for such purposes. The PPUC is exempt from any regulations requiring a permit from the Environmental Quality Protection Board promulgated under Title 24 of the Palau National Code and from the PPUC's own procurement regulations promulgated under Section 65 of RPPL 5-7, and any other applicable procurement law or regulation, for the purpose of repairing the water lines connecting Koror and Babeldaob that run along the Japan-Palau Friendship Bridge. Of the amount authorized to be appropriated and appropriated in this section the sum of $2,263,000 will come from Tranche 2 of the ADB WSIP Program Loan. The sum of $1,156,000 will come from Green Fee collections. The amount allocated for water and sewer operations is directed to cover costs for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 and is a one-time subsidy that is not intended to be a recurring budget item because PPUC is expected to follow plans described in the ADB loan for cost recovery."
Section 8. Transition. The following provisions of this Act will take effect at the beginning of FY 2016: the portion of Section 2 authorizing the increased appropriation to the Scholarship Fund, raising the amount from two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) to one million five hundred thousand dollars ($1,500,000); Section 5; and Section 6. All other provisions will go into effect in accordance with Section 9.
Section 9. Effective Date.
This Act shall take effect upon its approval by the President of the Republic of Palau or upon its becoming law without such approval, except as otherwise provided by law.
PASSED: October 22, 2014
Approved this 24th day of October, 2014
Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr.
President of the Republic of Palau