Legislature to hold emergency session this Thursday

Vice Speaker Tina Muna Barnes (PNC file photo)

Lawmakers are heading into an emergency legislative session this Thursday to discuss several bills related to COVID-19.

Speaker Tina Muna Barnes sent out the notice to senators Tuesday afternoon.

The session is so far scheduled to be “in person” at the Congress building and social distancing rules are being accounted for, including 6-feet spacing between senators and masks being worn.

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One of the bills being discussed at the emergency session would give Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero more authority to implement stricter rules around stay-at-home orders, including curfews and fines.

As for the other bills related to local funding, the governor says those would be redundant as federal COVID-19 help is coming.

“In the area of trying again to save our general fund monies, because a lot of these expenses are not expenses that are fronted with the (federal money), we have to get reimbursement. In order for me to provide PPEs, test kits, and all that, we need to use our local monies and then we’ll get reimbursed,” the governor said.

The governor says the Department of Rev & Tax is working closely with the IRS to get out the one-time economic impact payments and a meeting has been set up for tomorrow to approve Guam’s implementation plan.

Leon Guerrero says they’re also finalizing the details in the unemployment benefits program. But there’s no word yet on when those payments would begin.