Guam senator seeks repeal of newly signed fireworks legalization law
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Legalizing the sale of fireworks all year-round is "dangerous," according to Sen. Telo T. Taitague, who is seeking the repeal of a newly signed law that makes pyrotechnic articles available to the public.
“This ridiculous law proves that some leaders have no problem prioritizing personal and political needs over public safety,” Taitague said following the signing of Bill 9-37 which is now Public Law 37-47.
Despite misgivings about the measure, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero signed the bill into law last week, on the premise that the law “will remain in a holding pattern until the legislature passes further laws to inform the rulemaking process.”
The governor said the law will not go into effect until creases in the statute are ironed out. Safety rules issues and funding requirements came up during the deliberation of the bill, authored by Sen. Dwayne San Nicolas.
“(The govenror) effectively placed PL 37-47 in a ‘holding pattern’. It’s as close to a veto as you can get – so I’m good with it for now. She shares my same safety, regulatory, and funding concerns,” Taitague said.
The Republican senator noted that even the governor admitted that the administration anticipated that the “low-level explosives will periodically cause accidents,” and highlighted concerns about the need for additional funding for the resources and manpower that will be required for the proper inspection and enforcement of regulations across government agencies.
“I find it humorous that the current impasse and regulatory hold the governor places on this law could be resolved with the amendments my colleagues fought so adamantly against," Taitague said.
"To Sen. San Nicolas 'roger that' and his team: I’ve already done the work – just copy and paste the text from my amendments that are with the Clerk’s Office. I still won’t vote for it out of sheer principle, but if you’re hellbent on selling our people opportunities to blow off fingers and start massive fires every day, and every night of the year, then at least have the decency to implement basic safety regulations," she added.
Taitague today introduced Bill 202-37 seeking the repeal of the tentative law.
The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Sabina Perez, Joanne Brown, Chris Barnett and Frank Blas, Jr.
“It’s not easy to get past party politics and the political gaming that goes on when people are jockeying for votes for their bills,” Taitague said. “But at least there are a few who are willing to be safe and sensible when it comes to public safety. I’m going with a full repeal of this legislation because dangerous laws legislate deadly accidents.”