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Guam senators seek inclusion of digital platforms in Open Government Law


Photo courtesy of John Schnobrich

By Pacific Island Times News Staff


Requirements under Guam's 50-year-old Open Government Act must be updated to adapt to the changing environment, according to Vice Speaker Tina Rose Muña Barnes, who led a bipartisan group proposing the leveraging of the digital platform for publication of notices and agendas of upcoming public meetings.


“The trend of media consumption globally and locally is clear: most people obtain their news through digital platforms,” said Muña Barnes, the main author of Bill 295-37.


Co-sponsored by seven senators, the bill seeks to extend publication requirements to a greater number of local media companies, including newspapers with electronic editions and news websites, in addition to existing allowances for printed newspapers and television or radio stations that are licensed to do business on Guam.


“Updating our local laws to include these preferred websites and electronic publications will mean more residents are made aware of important debates and votes contemplated by agencies, commissions, and branches - and can result in fiscal savings through a more competitive landscape of potential advertisers," the vice speaker said.


Muña Barnes said during this term in the legislature, she has learned that building a consensus is not guaranteed, and requires an investment in time and teamwork.


"I’m thankful to our local media partners for collaborating with my office to make this change both fair to and workable to all companies affected, and to my colleagues for recognizing the value of modernizing this critical law - one that demonstrates a government-wide commitment to transparency,” Muña Barnes added. “Because this effort was not made in a vacuum, I’m confident this measure is the right thing for our government, our treasured Fourth Estate, and our people.”


The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Chris Barnett, Sabina Perez, Christopher Dueñas, Dwayne San Nicolas, Joe San Agustin, Roy Quinata and Amanda Shelton.




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