This morning, the Committee on General Government Operations and Appropriations, chaired by Senator Joe San Agustin held a Public Hearing on Bill 75-36 (COR), which proposes to not only increase the payout from the RISE Act, but also to extend the timelines of the program.
The measure was introduced by Senators James Moylan, Tony Ada, and Chris Duenas.
Submitted as part of the committee record included 1). An online petition which was circulated over this weekend with 529 signatures supporting the increase of the payout, 2). 18 testimonies collected over the weekend from residents with recommendations on improving the Rise Act, and 3). Nearly 200 comments which were submitted on Senator Moylan’s social media page over the weekend which also supported Bill 75-36 and provided other suggestions.
“What was disappointing is that no member of Governor Lou Leon Guerrero’s administration was present during the Public Hearing. This is the same administration which the Governor touted this past Monday, as a group which ‘assisted’ the previous legislature in crafting the Rise Act,” stated Senator Moylan.
“Despite her opposition towards increasing the payout or easing on the application requirements, the lack of working with lawmakers is unacceptable. The community is talking about their concerns on this issue, and it seems that only the legislature is listening,” added Senator Moylan.
Based on the many recommendations submitted, Senator Moylan’s team, inclusive of their interns, Kennedy Materne and Rianna Duenas, have drafted a substitute bill, which will be submitted to Senator San Agustin’s committee today for consideration.
The revised measure will incorporate the removal of certain requirements, extending the timelines of the program, and increasing the authorized budget to assure that no qualified resident, who applies within a reasonable timeframe, is denied the proceeds.
“We are here today because the community has spoken and demanded transparency, accountability, and even timelines from the administration with the Rise Act. Since the passage of this measure last December, there have been many inconsistencies on the state of the local stimulus program, and this includes the Governor’s contradictions on whether Public Law 35-136 is a public law or an executive program,” stated Senator Moylan. “Ultimately, both Bill 75-36 and the Rise Act in general are more than just a local relief program. They are also an economic stimulus plan which will help increase spending on the island, and thus spur economic activity. Now more than ever, this is needed,” added Senator Moylan.
(Senator James Moylan Release)