Senators Discuss Ending the Public Health Emergency

The newest mural is located on the walkway of the Guam Congress Building. The street art gives an illusion of the walkway breaking open to reveal the sea life of the Marianas Trench.

With President Biden’s statement that Covid is over, members of the 36th Guam Legislature are discussing ending the public health emergency for our island with Bill 11-36 which was vetoed in the past.

PNC’s Althea Engman has more…

During a recent session, Senator Chris Duenas called for the override of his vetoed bill to remove the power to declare a public health emergency from the governor. Quoting President Biden and saying that covid is over, despite saying that the US is having a “problem with the virus.

Senator Duenas said, “If we have to be in this public health emergency then for god sake, if there are open government laws that are being waived continually if there’s procurement that is happening under this circumstance then the lease we can do is get that information and be transparent.”

Other Republican Senators such as Joanne Brown and Frank Blas Jr, were in support, arguing that the Legislature should have the power to make these decisions.

Senator Blas claims that the legislature has been stifled due to the Governor’s Executive Orders to extend the state of emergency, however, he wants to make it clear that the bill shouldn’t be mistaken as a way for the legislature to manage the operations of the government.

Additionally, Senator Brown commented that the Governor is taking advantage of her power with these emergencies that are not needed

Brown said, “This is a bill that continues to come up, and while we recognize the governor continues to take advantage of this authority every month almost repeatedly to declare this emergency and justify it because of these federal benefits for SNAP and the need for them.”

As PNC previously reported, in response to an earlier call from Republican leaders to end the public health emergency, Governor Leon Guerrero told NewsTalk K57’s Patty Arroyo that the Public Health Emergency status is needed as it allows the island access to federal dollars and benefits.

And reminds that, despite the island being in a state of a public health emergency, there are no COVID restrictions to lift.

Reporting for PNC News
I’m Althea Engman

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Althea Engman or as she is referred to as Thea joined the PNC team in August of 2021 as their youngest reporter and after a few months she was given the opportunity to be their weather girl. She currently attends the University of Guam while working at Sorenson. Her hobbies include dancing, creating content for social media, as well modeling on the side, she also is a big dog lover. Before working for PNC, she didn’t think about pursuing a career in journalism or a related field but it has helped her figure out a better career path. She covers a wide variety of news beats with a focus on legislation and lifestyle.