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  • By Pacific island Times News Staff

8 bills signed into law

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero has signed eight bills into law:

• Bill 13-35 – Sen. Amanda Shelton – Protects elderly and disabled individuals from financial exploitation. It is now Public Law 35-50.

"Public Law 35-50, protects our manåmko' and individuals with disabilities from financial exploitation, which is on the rise on Guam. Care for the manåmko' is engrained in our culture and everyone deserves a life of dignity and respect. If you or someone you know may be the victim of elder financial exploitation you can call Adult Protective Services at 735-7382. There is support available for caretakers as well," Shelton sad.

• Bill 40-35 – Sen. Telo Taitague – Establishes the Alcoholic Beverage Compliance Fees and Fines Fund. It is now Public Law 35-53.

“Bill 40 finally establishes the Alcoholic Beverage Compliance Fees and Fines Fund in law as a separate revenue fund – ensuring that proceeds will help promote responsible drinking and driving practices, youth programs, and public service and education activities. I thank my colleagues for spending the time necessary during our recent session to question officials on the reasons for delaying proper implementation of the ABC Fees and Fines Fund despite it being referenced in two other laws passed during the 31st and 32nd legislatures.,” Taitague said.

“I also thank my colleagues for approving a technical correction to the Healthy Futures Fund Law which provides $1 million annually to help pay for a GMHA Line of Credit, revolving loan fund, and/or a direct loan, if sought. Although Bill 131 in no way suggests for GMHA to pursue any immediate financing agreement, it clears up statutory language which the Compiler of Laws confirmed couldn’t be done without legislation.”

• Bill 127-35 – Sen. Kelly Marsh (Taitano) – Establishes an Annual Peace Officers Memorial Day on Guam. It is now Public Law 35-54.

• Bill 131-35 – Sen. Telo Taitague – Authorizes proceeds from the Healthy Futures Fund to be used for the Guam Memorial Hospital Authority Line of Credit. It is now Public Law 35- 55.

• Bill 150-35 – Sen. Kelly Marsh (Taitano) – Expands the scope of function and membership of the Islandwide Beautification Task Force. It is now Public Law 35-56.

• Bill 157-35 – Sen. Amanda Shelton – Requires convicted sexual offenders whose cases are under appeal to retain their duty to register as sex offenders. It is now Public Law 35-51.

This law requires convicted sex offenders to register on the sex offender registry whether or not they file an appeal to their conviction. Should their appeal become successful and the conviction vacated, the registrant is removed from the registry. A study published in the Journal of Law and Economics finds that sex offender registration reduces the number of sex offenses by about 13 percent.

Survivors of sexual assault approached Sen. Shelton with the need for this bill, citing examples of perpetrators who were convicted of criminal sexual conduct but were not registered because their case was on appeal. These perpetrators were allowed to travel and remain in settings with possible victims.

“To the survivors of sexual assault who backed this bill, thank you for your bravery and your advocacy. Survivors drive policy in a direction that protects victims and holds the system accountable. The ability to identify convicted predators empowers us to remain vigilant. We must continue to listen to survivors and drive policy that protects our people” Shelton said.

• Bill 172-35 – Sen. Therese Terlaje – Ensures pre-sentence reports and assessments of offenders by the Guam Parole Board prior to release on parole. It is now Public Law 35-57.

• Bill 86-35 – Speaker Tina Muña Barnes – Updates exterior signage laws in Tumon on H resort-hotel zone and defining and regulating digital signs. It is now Public Law 35-52.

“The array of measures presented to me—from public safety, tourism, healthcare, regulatory and compliance—demonstrates many areas of priority addressed this legislative session. I look forward to working with the Legislature on measures that strengthen our economy for working families and keep our people safe,” Leon Guerrero said.

Bill 5-35 lapsed into Public Law 35-58. In her transmittal letter, Leon Guerrero cited a 2011 Attorney General opinion regarding the inorganic nature of Guam First Commission.

“Unfortunately, the Office of the Attorney General opined in February 2011, that a similar action violated the Organic Act of Guam. In attempting to determine the Organicity of a law establishing ‘The Guam First Commission,’ the AG wrote in relevant part: ‘Legislative power, as distinguished from executive power, is the authority to make laws, but not to enforce them or appoint the agents charged with the duty of such enforcement. The latter are executive functions,’” the governor wrote.

She also referenced the recent visit of the Army Corps of Engineers to the Guam Memorial Hospital. The Army Corps of Engineers visit was intended to determine the structural integrity of the hospital, the future cost of repairs, and its potential for growth.

“The intent of Bill 5 is already being met. With the Army Corps of Engineers’ pending analysis and actions already taken by the GMHA Board of Trustees, as well expert opinions, the process for evaluating the facility has already begun,” the governor said.

Bill 5 is now Public Law 35-58. "The work required to improve our only public hospital is the responsibility of all leaders - together with the private sector and anyone else who is determined to address dangerous conditions of GMHA facilities,” said Taitague, author of Bill 5.

“I look forward to the task force getting things moving in the days and weeks ahead. As in the case of unsafe conditions which led to the recent closure of the central public health facility, time is definitely not on our side. Perhaps construction of a new public health facility should be considered as the hospital planning task force moves forward. This makes sense with respect to reducing emergency room costs and addressing personnel needs to name a few."


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