As Guam anticipates the re-opening of key government services, Sen. Mary Camacho Torres has introduced a measure to help reduce the risk of unnecessary exposure to the community.
If enacted, Bill 349-35 would appropriate $75,000 from the unexpended funds of the Office of Senator Mary Camacho Torres to the Guam Homeland Security/Office of Civil Defense for the purchase of face masks, shields, and other personal protective equipment to be used at government agencies that require customer interaction.
While the measure permits the purchase of PPE, for any government of Guam entity, specific agencies include the Guam Department of Labor for the operation of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, customer-focused services at the Guam Department of Revenue and Taxation, and the Guam Department of Land Management, whom the Senator recently wrote to look into electronic recording options.
“We wear masks to protect others. Given that key government agencies may be slowly opening up critical customer services, this bill seeks to ensure our immunocompromised and elderly are kept safe while applying for the help they need,” Torres said.
The senator's office said the $75,000 was "a result of consistently conservative spending in Torres’ office and was originally allocated to fund the feasibility study for a Multi-Purpose Community Stadium Complex in accordance with Public Law 33-229."
While efforts to stand up the commission for that law were stymied in the last administration, Torres has been working this term to implement changes that would ease the process of selecting prospective commission members. These changes would involve an alternative funding source—freeing up the saved funds for more urgent matters.
“Though I remain committed to the eventual construction of a multi-purpose facility, the commission was never empaneled by the previous administration,” said Torres. “Given the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe directing these funds toward the purchase of much-needed PPE will better serve the community right now.”