- By Pacific island Times News Staff
Terlaje seeking override of governor's veto of transparency bill
Sen. Therese Terlaje is seeking her colleague's support for a swift override of the governor's veto of a Covid-19 transparency bill, which would require the administration to submit a monthly report pertinent to the use the Covid-19 relief assistance from the federal government.
"The immediate enactment of Substitute Bill No. 333-35 (COR) is urgent as it mandates transparency relative to the expenditure of the $129 Million in federal funds allocated to Guam through the CARES Act," Terlaje said. "These federal funds are already sitting in Guam bank accounts, with potentially more amounts on the way that may be made available through additional CARES Act grants or additional congressional action. The bill also allows for additional measures to expedite the relief to the people of Guam, many who have lost jobs or have been without pay since the closure of businesses on March 16. Thank you for your expeditious consideration of this request."
The bill would require the governor to report to the legislature how the funds are broken down and disbursed. In her veto message, however, the governor said this proposed requirement was outside of the senators' authority.
Sen. Taitague has introduced a similar bill.
Bill 352 , titled COVID-19 Funding Transparency and Accountability, would mandate the administration to to submit weekly reports on local and federal funds that are used for Covid19 response efforts. The measure builds upon requests Senator Taitague made in separate letters to Adelup these past several days requesting for copies of expenditure and compliance reports.
“Bill 352 represents the latest of my efforts to shed some light on what appears to be an executive branch which has given the public close to nothing when it comes to requests for COVID-19 financial information,”Taitague said.
“This proposal is straightforward and reiterates the approach we must always take when entrusted with taxpayer funds. Millions of dollars have already been made available to the governor, yet our families continue to wait for federal stimulus checks and for the local pandemic unemployment program to get off the ground," Taitague said.
"Although Bill 352 acknowledges that the Guam Legislature has little say on how federal Covid-19 funds are spent, the measure makes it crystal clear that the people of Guam will know exactly what programs are being prioritized, which businesses have been given contracts, and whether procurement laws matter to those in charge,” Taitague. said.