The heated discussions in the past week over drug testing policies in the public sector prompted Sen. James Moylan to introduce a Bill 56-36 that would mandate that any individual seeking public office shall include the results of a drug test as part of their candidate package.
The measure mirrors legislation which Moylan introduced in the 35th Guam Legislature.
“This past week has opened so many discussions on drug testing policies at the Port Authority of Guam, as well as whether or not the Guam Legislature should mandate a policy of its own for our employees," Moylan said.
However, he added, "the very individuals making these decisions and having these conversations are not held to the very standard as those employees in public service for whom we are making these decisions for. This is why I introduced this legislation, because elected officials also need to be held accountable on this issue."
Presently an individual seeking public office must submit a police and court clearance as part of their candidate package. One must also sign an affidavit attesting that they have not been convicted of any felony, a crime of moral turpitude, or criminal sexual conduct.
Potential candidates must also submit a statement of their financials and pay a fee when submitting their package. A precedence is certainly in place when it comes to mandating certain requirements upon potential candidates.
“Elected officials, whether you sit in the capacity as a senator, a mayor, or even as the governor of Guam, you are making decisions that are associated with the drug crisis which we have on the island," Moylan said.
" We must assure that our decisions are not compromised, and that when we endorse a drug-free workplace, that it also means we practice a drug-free lifestyle Further, we are asking our employees to comply with tests, thus we also need to do the same."
The difference, he added, is that the law has defined the parameters for which one can be removed from office and testing positive for drugs may not be a reason.
"Hence this measure takes things a few steps back to the stage when an elected official is a candidate for that elected seat," Moylan said.
Moylan said if Bill 56-36 were to pass, one submitting the results of a drug test with positive findings is not barred from seeking an elected seat.
The people would ultimately decide on what is acceptable. Further, the measure recognizes that since Public Law 35-5 legalized cannabis, that the substance would not need to be tested for as part of drug screening in the candidates package.