Bill to fund Public Health moves forward

Senator Mary Camacho Torres (PNC file photo)

A measure to bring $470,000 of additional funds to Public Health moved to the voting file with no objection in legislative session Monday.

Introduced by Senator Mary Camacho Torres, and cosponsored by Speaker Tina Muña Barnes, Bill No. 420-35 (LS) provides DPHSS funding support by appropriating $470,000 for its operations in Fiscal Year 2021.

The appropriation comes from funds remaining following the government of Guam’s full payment of the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) this year.

On October 14, 2020, the GGRF identified that of the $14,898,000 appropriated, only $14,428,000 was expended toward the payment of COLA attributable to the appropriation in Section 5, Chapter XI of Public Law 35-99 leaving approximately $470,000 remaining in general fund appropriations.

Senators spent most of the afternoon in Committee of the Whole confirming Torres’ proposal with the Bureau of Budget and Management Research, the Department of Administration, and the Government of Guam Retirement Fund. The GGRF confirmed that all COLA retirees and survivors had been accounted for.

“During the Fiscal Year 21 Budget, many of us were trying to find every possible dollar for Public Health—whether it was through appropriating excess revenues or putting in authorizations for continuing appropriations. We recognized that Public Health is short, and that we are in the middle of a pandemic,” said Senator Mary Camacho Torres. “This bill is one effort to address the department’s shortage and make them whole. I humbly ask my colleagues for their support.”

(Sen. Mary Torres News Release)