Guam – During yesterday morning’s inaugural ceremony, I Mina’trentai Unu Na Liheslaturan Guahan elected its officers, committee chairpersons; announced the party leadership positions; adopted its Standing Rules; and elected its attachés.
Retaining their positions from the Thirtieth Guam Legislature, Senators Judith T. Won Pat, Benjamin J.F. Cruz,Tina Rose Muña Barnes and Rory J. Respicio were re-elected to serve as Speaker, Vice-Speaker, Legislative Secretary and Committee on Rules Chair, respectively, for the Thirty-first Legislature.
Additional committees and chairpersons were selected as follows:
· Committee on Rules, Federal, Foreign & Micronesian Affairs and Human & Natural Resources – Chaired by Senator Rory J. Respicio.
· Committee on Appropriations, Taxation, Public Debt, Banking, Insurance, Retirement and Land – Chaired by Senator vicente “ben” c. pangelinan.
· Committee on Education and Public Libraries – Chaired by Speaker Judith T. Won Pat, Ed.D.
· Committee on Health & Human Services, Senior Citizens, Economic Development and Election Reform – Chaired by Senator Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr.
· Committee on Youth, Cultural Affairs, Procurement, General Government Operations and Public Broadcasting – Chaired by Vice-Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz.
· Committee on Municipal Affairs, Tourism, Housing and Recreation – Chaired by Senator Tina Rose Muna Barnes.
· Committee on Public Safety, Law Enforcement and Judiciary – Chaired by Senator Adolpho B. Palacios, Sr.
· Committee on Utilities, Transportation, Public Works and Veterans Affairs – Chaired by Senator Thomas C. Ada.
· Committee on the Guam Military Buildup and Homeland Security – Chaired by Senator Judith Paulette Guthertz, DPA.
Party leadership positions were also announced as follows:
· Majority Leader, Senator Rory J. Respicio
· Assistant Majority Leader, Senator Judith P. Gutherz, DPA
· Majority Whip, Senator Tina Rose Muna Barnes
· Assistant Majority Whip, Senator Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr.
·Minority Leader, Senator Frank F. Blas, Jr.
· Assistant Minority Leader, Senator Aline A. Yamashita, Ph.D.
· Minority Whip, Senator V. Anthony Ada
· Assistant Minority Whip, Senator Mana Silva Taijeron
Legislative attachés were elected as follows:
· Legislative Legal Counsel, Therese M. Terlaje
· Clerk of the Legislature, Patricia C. Santos
· Sergeant-at-Arms, Thomas J. Unsiog
· Chaplain, Pale Agustin Gumataotao, Cap.
The Standing Rules for Thirty-first Guam Legislature were also adopted and reflected necessary clarification of previous rules, and for the Rules of Procedure of the Committee on Ethics and Standards (CES), general changes included:
· A streamlined process to screen complaints to ensure they are directly related to one’s conduct while serving as a senator or employee of I Liheslatura;
· The clarification that complaints filed with the CES must be verified and sworn to under the penalty of perjury in order to be entertained;
· The option for the CES to perform preliminary screenings of complaints, upon receipt; which will also translate into significant cost-savings (if done by committee before any attorneys are hired);
· The clarification that the CES formally presents recommendations to the Body for approval, only if recommending disciplinary action to be taken; and lastly
· The requirement that the CES meetings be closed unless the respondent requests that they be held in public.
Respicio comments, “Our inauguration went very well, but beyond the celebration, we adopted our Standing Rules, which builds upon the successes of the 30th Guam Legislature. Changes made to the Rules were done to uphold the Legislature’s integrity as a whole, while ensuring the protection of personal privacies, both for senators and employees. We continue to strive to achieve this very delicate balance. Clearly, the public has right to know about any and all complaints involving senators and employees, but only after such complaints have been thoroughly investigated, substantiated, and when disciplinary action is required by the Body.”
“We will always strive to continually earn our people’s trust and confidence, and to these ends all members have pledged to focus on the on-going military buildup, government finances, high cost of healthcare, education and public safety, just to name a few. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure another successful and eventful term for the 31st Guam Legislature,” Respicio concluded.