Emergency session called Thursday to deal with double pay bills

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Speaker Tina Muna Barnes has called an emergency session for Thursday, May 21, to deal with four competing bills to provide additional compensation for the frontline GovGuam employees who have been required to work during the ongoing public health emergency.

In her release announcing the call to emergency session, Speaker Barnes states that “given that the aforementioned bills may have a substantial impact (on) government finances and operations moving forward, it is my intent that this 35th Guam Legislature can work through the weekend (if needed) and address these measures prior to our regular scheduled session (next Tuesday).”

The regular session has since been rescheduled to Monday, June 1, 2020.

The announcement concludes by citing last week’s mixed opinion from Guam Attorney General Leevin Camacho on the issue of double pay.

“As stated by the Attorney General of Guam,” states the Sepaker, “it is the obligation of this body to address the compensation of the Government of Guam employees. I hope we can work together and come to an amicable resolution.”

The emergency session is set to begin at 2:30 pm Thursday afternoon.

The 4 bills to be considered during the emergency session tomorrow are:

  1. Bill 357-35: Proposed by Vice Speaker Telena Nelson relative to providing double pay to employees working during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

  2. Bill 358-35: Proposed by Vice Speaker Telena Nelson relative to codifying the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-08 defining which GovGuam employees are eligible for hazardous pay.

  3. Bill 359-35: Proposed by Speaker Tina Muna Barnes to establish additional annual leave compensation for Guam’s COVID-19 heroes.

  4. Bill 361-35: Proposed by Sen. Joe San Agustin relative to establishing proper and just compensation of government of Guam employees required to report to work during a state of emergency.

The public hearing requirement for bills has been “waived in accordance with 2 GCA § 2103(a).”

In another release explaining the call to emergency session, the Speaker states that she has “no particular preference” for any of the four measures.

As the GFT stated in their release, no member of the Legislature wanted to step up and “hopefully tomorrow, when we have all 15 members at the table, we can come together with an even better bill. To our front liners, 8 members of this Legislature have heard your concerns, and we NEED to take action.”

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