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Guam senators pass bills authorizing COLA adjusments, police body camera

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

A bill that would authorize annual adjustments to the cost of living allowance received by government retirees is now headed to the governor's desk for signature.

“My legislation makes it clear that the buying power of GovGuam retirees living on a fixed income will be addressed every year based on a solid formula agreed upon by the local economic experts and leaders who will serve on this task force,” said Sen. Telo Taitague, author of Bill 2-37

The bill, unanimously approved by Guam senators during Thursday's session, would establish a Special Cost of Living Economic Task Force, that would be responsible for establishing an annual COLA adjustment formula based on prevailing economic factors such as the consumer price index and Guam’s market basket.

“This bill commits us to developing a standardized COLA adjustment for retirees just like the federal government and states do on an annual basis without political interference and leaders attempting to buy votes," Taitague said.


The legislature also passed Bill 99-37, which would repeal the requirement for owners of private swimming pools to hire lifeguards throughout the year.

"The measure helps apartment complexes and condominium residences with swimming pools avoid astronomical lifeguard employment costs," said Taitague, the bill's author.

During a public hearing on the bill, real estate professionals said hiring a lifeguard could cost up to $80,000 a year.

“There are a lot of regulations the government implements with good faith and the best of intentions,” Taitague said. “Sometimes we just need corrective legislation to make sure the government doesn’t take too much of our hard-earned dollars by stepping too far into our private lives."


Bill 181-37, which would allow the Guam Police Department to implement a body cam program, also received the legislature's nod.

Sen. Chris Barnett, the bill's author, said the proposed program would require rules and regulations to be developed and administered by the chief of police.

“The people of Guam and the Guam Police Department will benefit greatly from increased accountability and transparency,” Barnett said. “It’s proven body-worn cameras dramatically reduce negative encounters for both the police and the public. "

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