Guamanians support part-time legislature


Sens. Fernando Barcinas Esteves and Tommy Morrison of the Guam Legislature have received positive testimony in support of their Bill 60-34 or the Citizens’ Legislature Act, which was publicly heard Friday. Residents, Citizens for Public Accountability, the Guam Chamber of Commerce, and the Republican Party of Guam submitted written testimony in support of a part-time legislature, as quoted below:

Peter Terlaje in support: “I’ve watched senators become empire builders instead of leaders and we’ve developed power mongers churning out frivolous pieces of legislation, not for the good of the people, but merely to increase their overall bill count. We have senators introducing irresponsible bills that may adversely affect our island’s small business sector -and our economy- who have no clue of what it’s like to own and run a business. Partisanship has become more important than progress. Control has won over compromise. ‘Me-myself-and-I’ has dominated the mission. Enough is enough!”

Hermalito Cruz in support: “A part-time legislature should lead to more efficiency with no more career politicians looking to gain power and recognition.”

Former senator Michael Limtiaco in support: “Firstly, the main argument for those in favor of a full-time legislature during these discussions is that the time commitments associated with the duties of a senator warrants a full-time position. However, during my observation there was a significant amount of time spent on what I believe were non-essential tasks. Although, I would not argue that these extracurricular tasks added value and were appreciated by their constituents the impact if not done would not be material[…]I believe that the move to a part-time legislature will increase the opportunity for more participation from our community members.  Senators may keep their current employment status and perform their civic duty concurrently. The time constraints could be adjusted so that the focus is only on essential tasks such as a passing a budget, passing legislation and appointments, and oversight. Participation would come from all walks of life and better represent the constituents.”

Ken Leon-Guerrero on behalf of the Citizens for Public Accountability in support: “In two years of the 33rd Legislature; 411 bills were introduced along with 513 resolutions. The 34th Legislature is on track to exceed that “dubious honor” of a legislative record by introducing 90 Bills and passing 111 resolutions in a mere five months. This single metric alone tells me the legislature has way too much time on its hand. As a community advocate trying to influence the legislature for the past seven years, I cannot tell you how many times I would go to a senator’s office to be told the senator was at a wedding, a wake, a burial, a campaign fund raiser, or some other non-legislative event that was more of an informal re-election campaigning event. With a part-time legislature, senators will be able to campaign on their own time and not taxpayer time.”

Bobby Shringi on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce in support: “It would be a body that would allow citizens to participate in the legislative process without leaving their careers. Whether they are teachers, nurses, electricians, students, or business people in the private sector under a “Citizen’s Legislature” qualified lawmakers would be able to maintain their employment while attending to the objectives of the Guam Legislature.”

Esteves and Morrison thank members of the community for offering their input on Bill 60-34. They hope to see the bill receive a public hearing in the coming weeks preferably at a time most convenient for working families. (PR)

Press Release
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