ARTICLE IX. OLBIIL ERA KELULAU
The legislative power of Palau shall be vested in the Olbiil Era Kelulau which shall consist of two houses, the House of Delegates and the Senate.
Senators and Delegates shall be elected for a term of four (4) years.
The House of Delegates shall be composed of one delegate to be popularly elected from each of the states of Palau. The Senate shall be composed of the number of senators prescribed from time to time by the reappointment commission as provided by law.
- A reapportionment commission shall be constituted every eight (8) years not less than one hundred eighty (180) days before the next regular general election. Not less than one hundred twenty (120) days before the regular general election, the commission shall publish a reapportionment or redistricting plan for the Senate based on population, which shall become law upon publication.
- A member of the reapportionment commission shall not be eligible to become a candidate for election to the Senate in the next regular general election under a reapportionment or redistricting plan prepared by the commission.
- Upon the petition of any voter within sixty (60) days after the promulgation of a plan by the reapportionment commission, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction to review the plan and to amend it to comply with the requirements of this Constitution. If a reapportionment or redistricting plan for the Senate is not published before the applicable 120-day period, the Supreme Court shall promulgate within ninety (90) days before the next regular general election, a reapportionment or redistricting plan.
The Olbiil Era Kelulau shall have the following powers:
- to levy and collect taxes, duties and excises, which shall be uniformly applied throughout the nation;
- to borrow money on the credit of the national government to finance public program or to settle public debt;
- to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several states;
- to regulate immigration and establish a uniform system of naturalization;
- to establish uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcy;
- to provide a monetary and banking system and to create or designate a national currency;
- to ratify treaties by a vote of a majority of the members of each house;
- to approve presidential appointment[s] by a vote of not less [than] two-thirds (2/3) of the members of the Senate;
- to establish diplomatic immunities;
- to regulate banking, insurance, and issuance and use of commercial paper and securities, and patents and copyrights;
- to provide for a national postal system;
- to regulate the ownership, exploration and exploitation of natural resources;
- to regulate navigation, shipping, and the use of navigable waters;
- to regulate the use of air space;
- to delegate authority to the states and administrative agencies;
- to impeach and remove the President, Vice President, and Justices of the Supreme Court by a vote of not less than two-thirds (2/3) of the members of each house;
- to provide for the national defense;
- to create or consolidate states with the approval of the states affected;
- to confirm or disapprove a state of emergency declared by the President;
- to provide for the general welfare, peace and security; and
- to enact any laws which shall be necessary and proper for exercising the foregoing powers and all other inherent powers vested by this Constitution in the government of Palau.
To be eligible to hold office in the Olbiil Era Kelulau, a person must be:
- a citizen;
- not less than twenty-five (25) years of age;
- a resident of Palau for not less than five (5) years immediately preceding the election; and
- a resident of the district in which he wishes to run for office for not less than one (1) year immediately preceding the election.
A vacancy in the Olbiil Era Kelulau shall be filled for the unexpired term by a special election to be held in accordance with law. If less than one hundred eighty (180) days remain in the unexpired term, the seat will remain vacant until the next regular general election.
The compensation of the members of the Olbiil Era Kelulau shall be determined by law. No increase in compensation shall apply to the members of the Olbiil Era Kelulau during the term of enactment, nor may an increase in compensation be enacted in the period between the date of a regular general election and the date a new Olbiil Era Kelulau takes office.
No member of either house of the Olbiil Era Kelulau shall be held to answer in any other place for any speech or debate in the Olbiil Era Kelulau. The members of the Olbiil Era Kelulau shall be privileged, in all cases except treason, felony, or breach of peace, from arrest during their attendance at the sessions of the Olbiil Era Kelulau and in going to and from the sessions.
Each house of the Olbiil Era Kelulau shall be the sole judge of the election and qualifications of its members, may discipline a member, and, by a vote of not less than two-thirds (2/3) of its members may suspend or expel a member. A member may not hold any other public office or public employment while a member of the Olbiil Era Kelulau.
Each house of the Olbiil Era Kelulau shall convene its meeting on the second Tuesday in January following the regular general election and may meet regularly for four (4) years. Either house may be convened at any time by the presiding officer, or at the written request of the majority of the members, or by the President.
Each house of the Olbiil Era Kelulau shall promulgate its own rules and procedures not inconsistent with this Constitution and the laws of Palau, and may compel the attendance of absent members. A majority of the members of each house shall constitute a quorum to do business. Each house, with the approval of a majority of its members, may compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of books and papers before that house or its committees.
Each house of the Olbiil Era Kelulau shall elect a presiding officer by a majority of the members of that house. Each house shall elect such other officers and employ such staff as it deems necessary and appropriate.
The Olbiil Era Kelulau may enact no law except by bill. Each house of the Olbiil Era Kelulau shall establish a procedure for the enactment of bills into law. No bill may become a law unless it has been adopted by a majority of the members of each house present on three (3) separate readings, each reading to be held on a separate day. No bill may become a law unless it contains the following enacting clause: THE PEOPLE OF PALAU REPRESENTED IN THE OLBIIL KELULAU DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
A bill adopted by each house of the Olbiil Era Kelulau shall be presented to the President and shall become law when signed by the President. If the President vetoes a bill, it shall be returned to each house of the Olbiil Era Kelulau within fifteen (15) calendar days with a statement of reasons for the veto. The President may reduce or veto an item in an appropriation bill and sign the remainder to the bill, returning the item reduced or vetoed to each house within fifteen (15) calendar days together with the reason for his action; or refer a bill to each house with recommendations for amendment. A bill not signed, vetoed, or referred within fifteen (15) calendar days of presentation to the President shall become law. A bill or item of a bill vetoed or reduced by the President may be considered by each house within thirty (30) calendar days of its return and shall become law as originally adopted upon approval of not less than two-thirds (2/3) of the members of each house. The Olbiil Era Kelulau, by the approval of a majority of the members present of each house, may pass a bill referred by the President in accordance with the President’s recommendation for change and return it to the President for reconsideration. The President may not refer a bill for amendment a second time.
The Olbiil Era Kelulau, with the approval of not less than two-thirds (2/3) of the members of each house, may release funds appropriated by the Olbiil Era Kelulau but impounded by the President.
The people may recall a member of the Olbiil Era Kelulau from office. A recall is initiated by a petition which shall name the member sought to be recalled, state the grounds for recall, and be signed by not less than twenty-five percent (25%) of the number of persons [that] voted in the most recent election for that member of the Olbiil Era Kelulau. A special recall election shall be held not later than sixty (60) calendar days after the filing of the recall petition. A member of the Olbiil Era Kelulau shall be removed from office only with the approval of a majority of the persons voting in the election, and such vacancy shall be filled by a special election to be held in accordance with law. A recall may be sought against an individual member of the Olbiil Era Kelulau no more than once per term. No recall shall be permitted against a member who is serving the first year of his first term in the Olbiil Era Kelulau.