Bipartisan bill introduced to create coronavirus emergency fund

Vice Speaker Tina Muna Barnes (Guam Legislature photo)

Speaker Tina Rose Muña Barnes, Senator Jim Moylan, Senator Amanda Shelton along with six of their colleagues introduced Bill 308-35 which aims at creating and funding an Emergency Pandemic Fund.

This measure would take up to a million dollars from the Rainy Day Fund to set aside for any pandemic that our Government may need to respond to.

Pandemic response by the Government of Guam that uses this fund can encompass proactive prevention efforts, purchasing of screening equipment and medical supplies, leasing of quarantine facilities, hiring of medical and emergency personnel as well as the activation of the Guam Army National Guard.

Speaker Barnes said the measure would create a funding source for GovGuam to act immediately. Once the Trump Administration and Congress approve an emergency spending measure, the Government of Guam can be reimbursed to the extent that federal laws permit.

“I am grateful for the strong bipartisan effort behind this bill – Jim, Amanda, Joe, Mary, Wil, Uncle Pedo, Clynt and Regine – thank you for standing by me on this measure. The message is clear: this 35th Guam Legislature would like to ensure that our PEOPLE come first,” stated Speaker Muña Barnes.

Senator Moylan said: “This issue goes beyond politics, and I look forward to working with the Speaker and my colleagues on assuring that funds are readily available if needed for medical supplies or even a quarantine facility if this global pandemic does indeed reach our shores.”

Senator Shelton said: “The legislature stands ready to support our government’s response in carrying out all means necessary to keep our public safe. The resounding message from health experts is that preparedness is key. We are ensuring our preparedness with the COVID-19 and any other pandemic threats we may face in the future.” (press release)