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Governor says Guam legislature usurped executive functions

Deer-harboring and zero-waste bills lapse into law

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero has allowed two bills to lapse into law without her signature, frowning on their provisions which she said encroached on an executive function.

Bill 191-36, which would pave the way for raising deer as livestock, and Bill 284-36, also known as the “zero waste initiative,” both amend existing rules and regulations previously promulgated by executive agencies.

“The separation of powers doctrine recognizes that each branch of government has its own appropriate sphere of activity,” the governor stated in her transmittal letter to Speaker Therese Terlaje.

The governor pointed out that the Organic Act of Guam tasks the executive branch with powers to issue rules and regulations, while the legislature is charged with drafting and passing bills.

“The powers over rulemaking and law-making roles are separate and distinct under the Organic Act of Guam,” the governor said.


Bill 191-36, authored by Sen. Clynt Ridgell, amends hunting rules to allow the "taking" and "harboring" of wild deer for agricultural purposes.

“The raising of deer as livestock shall be further reviewed by the Department of Agriculture as the lead agency involved with that activity,” the bill states.

Under the measure, the department is tasked “to ascertain the viability of raising deer as livestock,” taking into consideration the space needs and sanitation requirements.

“Although our administration supports this legislation's general intent to diversify Guam's economy and efforts to support agricultural activities, amendments to rules that regulate ‘harboring’ and ‘taking’ wild deer for livestock could have been properly accomplished by formal rulemaking by the Department of Agriculture, the agency charged with implementing Guam's Game and Fish laws,” the governor said.

She directed the agriculture department to “begin the statutory rulemaking process to perfect the amendment sought in Bill 191-36” and to “ensure the rule will survive possible challenges to its validity and, ultimately, best achieve agency's mission to protect and promote Guam's agricultural resources and economy.”

Sen. Sabina Perez’s Bill 284-36 amends the existing rules involving Guam's Recycling Revolving Fund.

“Our administration supports this legislation's general intent to effectuate zero-waste initiatives for the purpose of safeguarding our environment and benefitting Guam's tourism industry,” the governor said. “However, this legislation seeks to amend both law and regulations.”

The governor said amendments to the rules “could have been properly accomplished through formal rulemaking by the Guam Environmental Protection Agency, the agency charged with implementing Guam Laws governing the Recycling Revolving Fund.”

“The separation of powers doctrine would prohibit legislation from amending executive rules and regulations, just as it would prohibit an agency from amending legislative enactments,” the governor said.

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