General Pay Plan bill passes: 8-5 split

Lawmakers and DOA discussion GPP Bill (Screenshot from Guam Legislature Youtube)

Following days of deliberation – lawmakers pass the general pay plan bill in an 8 to 5 split vote last Friday during their first Special Session.

The legislation, prior to it passing, underwent different amendments, including one that would directly affect the University of Guam.

With the exception of Democrat Vice Speaker Tina Muna Barnes and Republican Senator Telo Taitague, all 8 Democratic Senators that were present voted in favor of the pay raise; whereas, all 5 Republican Senators present voted against it.

Bill 24-37, will now appropriate $21,032,670 for the adjusted General Pay Plan.

Originally Bill 24 was supposed to appropriate $16M, which was then amended to $23M to include other agencies such as the Guam Memorial Hospital and the Judiciary.

Another change in Bill 24 is the “Barnett Amendment” which would “prevent the University of Guam from raising tuition prior to September 30, 2025 should the university choose to accept the appropriation of $1,134,249.”

With Speaker Therese Terlaje saying, “I support this amendment that locks in tuition rates as a condition for receiving the appropriation. In fact I think it’s a much better amendment, this way because it gives them the option. They don’t want the money for some reason then they don’t have to take it.”

Following Bill 24’s passing Senator Chris Barnett issued the following statement, “this will prevent the University from passing the cost of the raises they asked for on to struggling students who are trying to better themselves for our island.”

Now eye’s look to UOG.

As UOG is requesting over $42M from the legislature as a means to not only keep tuition low, but to aid with accreditation and maintenance issues as well.

PNC previously reported that if UOG receives the full $42M then the tuition costs for this coming fiscal year will not increase.

However, should Bill 24 go into law as is, and if UOG accepts the funds for their staff, then as mentioned they cannot raise tuition until 2025.

Bill 24 currently awaits signature from the Governor