Farm theft bill amended, then placed on voting file

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Senator Clynt Ridgell introduced Bill 62 to help stop the theft of produce from local farmers. (PNC photo)

During Wednesday afternoon’s session, senators tackled a measure clarifying that agricultural products grown by farmers are property and that stealing them is illegal.

Senator Clynt Ridgell introduced Bill 62 to help stop the theft of produce from local farmers.

Theft of produce is technically not illegal according to Guam law.

Ridgell says it was introduced in an effort to bring all the stakeholders together to fix this long-standing issue.

During session, Ridgell proffered an amendment to the bill relative to the confiscation of any equipment used in the commission of the theft, including trucks or any vehicle used to transport the stolen goods.

The amendment was a recommendation from farmers at the bill public hearing who
wanted to give the bill more teeth when it comes to enforcement.

Another amendment introduced by Ridgell allows the court to auction the confiscated property.

Sen. Telena Nelson and Sen. Pedo Terlaje asked what if the property was borrowed from another person who allowed it to be used in good faith.

While the amendment drew objections, senators passed both amendments.

Ridgell said he was asked by both farmers and the Department of Agriculture to write Bill 62 to strengthen the case against those who would steal a farmer’s crops.

Senators placed the bill on the voting file.

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