Senator James Moylan has sent a letter to Speaker Therese Terlaje following up his request for an emergency session on the All Rise Act.
In his letter, Moylan said the issue is not about the payout of the program, but rather about addressing challenging provisions which are creating many serious concerns throughout the community.
“If your office requires a certain format for making this request, I would appreciate it if someone within your team can provide us with the details,” the senator said.
Moylan said a similar request was sent to Governor Lou Leon Guerrero yesterday, and while a formal response was not provided, the Governor reiterated during a press conference that she did not believe the issue was an “emergency.”
“I beg to differ. When island residents, inclusive of our elders and those with disabilities, are standing in line for hours (some reported 5 to 6 hours), to attain a mayor’s verification, we have an issue. When the Governor stands firm on the
authorized budget of $30 million for this program, while increasing the number of eligible residents, it is concerning that some qualified applicants may not receive the proceeds. This is also a problem,” the senator said.
Moylan said the Governor had the opportunity to address these concerns and has elected not to.
“Therefore, it is incumbent on the legislative branch of government to fix the issues with PL 35-136. The benefactors of this measure are the very constituency which you and I have continued to represent since I started my tenure as a lawmaker. In 2020, we co-authored an amendment which increased the payout of the Rise Act from $400 to $800, because we understood the struggles of many families, and today, many of those whom we fought for are in jeopardy of not receiving the funds. We can, or rather we should, fix this,” the senator said.
He added: “I understand that the decision to proceed may not be an easy one but based on the input we are receiving from so many in the community, it is the right one. I am open to a discussion on this in person, virtually, or over the phone, and I am optimistic that we can come up with reasonable solutions as we have done previously.”