Emergency session urged to simplify RISE Act application, ensure enough money for all

Legislative session (PNC file photo)

Senator James Moylan has requested Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero and Speaker Therese Terlaje to consider holding an emergency session on Bill 75-36 (COR).

With all the concerns that have developed with the initial steps of implementing Public Law 35-136, also known as the Rise Act, Moylan said it is critical that the Legislature prioritize amending the program to assure the following:

1). The requirements are simplified, and

2). No qualified resident is refused the opportunity to avail from the benefits of the program.

“We also need to consider the burden the current process is placing on not just island residents, but also mayoral offices throughout the island. Considering these factors, I would like to humbly request for your consideration in utilizing your authority to 1). Consider Bill 75-36 (COR) as an emergency matter and to bypass the Public Hearing process, and 2). immediately call for an Emergency Session on Bill 75-36 (COR),” Moylan said.

He added: “I was joined by Senators Tony Ada and Chris Duenas in March of this year in introducing Bill 75-36 (COR), and the measure proposes to modify some sections of the Rise Act. Therefore, the Emergency Session will open up the opportunity to make additional amendments towards Public Law 35-136.”

By allowing for an emergency session, Moylan said the Legislature will be able to work with members of the administration, along with the Mayors Council in finding mutual agreements in amending Public Law 35-136.

“I have 7 amendments prepared to modify the Rise Act, which would include eliminating the need for certain documentation, increasing the funding for the program, and addressing the reporting requirements. Most importantly, these amendments would assure that qualified residents who apply are not denied the proceeds from the program,” the senator said.

Since the announcement was made prompting qualified residents to obtain verifications from their Mayor’s Offices, there has been an abundance of concerns from the community.

“The comments on both social media and the talk shows, coupled by the emails and phone calls from constituents which I believe ALL our colleagues have been receiving, clearly serve as public input. Many are concerned and quite a number are furious. It also shows that we need to address this issue immediately. Delaying the process will serve as an injustice, as the rules need to be amended now before the administration further implements the program, otherwise some families will be left behind,” Moylan said.

He added: “Likewise, I am open to a discussion on this matter with you over the phone or in person. With the “Back to School” season approaching, along with the ending of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) in less than two months, the proceeds from the Rise Act will help many families financially, not to mention, help spur economic activity on the island. Let us help them.”