Guam lawmakers are heading into an emergency session next Tuesday to discuss overturning a bill that the Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero vetoed.
Senator Therese Terlaje wrote to the Speakers office requesting the session to overturn the Governor’s decision on Bill 333, which requires Adelup to report to the Legislature on how federal dollars are being spent.
But in her veto message to senators, the Governor said the measure was redundant because she already has to abide by federal reporting and accountability requirements.
In an interview with NewsTalk K57’s Patti Arroyo this morning, the Governor says she’s not against transparency.
“I don’t have a problem sending my reports to the federal government to the legislature. But when I looked at that bill, it was like after five days of expenditure, I have to report to the legislature. Our reports don’t accrue 5 days right after expenditures. So I thought it was just too stringent of a reporting,” the governor said.
Senator Terlaje, also on with K57 this morning said the bill does not require expenditure reporting within 5 days.
She explained that the 5 day requirement was for “any agreement that is signed between the governor and the federal government, such as those MOUs their memorandums with any of the agencies to get this CARES Act relief, that those documents the government has signed here on Guam that we the legislature receive a copy in 5 days.”
But the expenditure report requirement that the Governor complained was too stringent, would not be due for 20 days, not 5 as the Governor said.
“I thought 20 days was a very reasonable requirement,” said Terlaje, “because 20 days is what we’re supposed to be reporting for revenue.”
And in response to the Governor’s wish that lawmakers had collaborated with her on timelines, Terlaje said collaboration was never an option presented to her.
“I go to every meeting that I’m invited to. I listen to every briefing. I’ve written letter after letter, asking for what is the plan for this money and expenditures. First I wrote to Ed Birn and he told me, ‘oh I’m not going to answer you, it’s up to the Governor how she spends that money.’ And then, of course, I write to the Governor, but no, we have not gotten responses. All the responses we’ve gotten are simply ‘we’ve received your letter,'” Terlaje said.
Senators will meet for the emergency session on Tuesday, May 5th at 10 a.m.