Moylan, Blas introduce amendment for additional public health checks and balances

Sen. James Moylan and Sen. Frank Blas Jr. (PNC photo composite)

To address the concerns of many in the community on overreaches of their government in imposing fines for those who do not wear a mask in public, or for mandated vaccinations for employees in the public sector, Senators James Moylan and Frank Blas Jr. will be proposing an amendment to the Miscellaneous Provisions of the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Bill to require such decisions be approved by the Guam Legislature.

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“While I recognize that safety protocols are paramount, such extensive decisions should require a public hearing,” stated Senator Moylan. “Businesses have the authority to impose requirements such as the wearing of masks in their establishments, and government entities can do the same within their offices. So not sure how imposing fines during this period of economic uncertainties would make for a logical decision, but that is my perspective. However, having the legislature involved in the process would require public input and recommendations, which are critical in so many aspects,” added Senator Moylan.

In 2020, the previous legislature entertained two measures to provide the Executive Branch additional authority during a public health emergency. Bill 335-35 (COR) proposed providing the Governor the authorization to pursue curfews, and Bill 334-35 (COR) proposed establishing fines for those who violated Executive Orders. The former measure failed during the vote, and the latter never advanced past the session floor. This opens the question of “What authority is the Governor utilizing to impose these new restrictions?”

“We’ve gone well over a year being governed by executive order after executive order, and at this juncture now with the idea of imposing fines and highly encouraging what are seemingly discriminant practices, the community’s input have to be heard and should be considered,” stated Senator Blas Jr.

If the amendment were to pass, and Bill 55-36 (COR) (the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Bill) enacted, the Governor would merely have to call the Legislature into a Special Session to address her recommendations, which is an expeditious and simple process.

(Senator James Moylan Release)