Senators pass RISE-related bills despite possible conflict with Adelup

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Legislature in session last Aug. 6, 2021. (PNC photo)

The Legislature has passed two bills related to the controversial Recovery Income Support and Empowerment (RISE) program although Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero earlier announced that she would be releasing her own executive order on the RISE program.

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Passed by the Legislature were:

Bill 75-36, introduced by Sen. James Moylan, which seeks to amend the provisions of the RISE program, including increasing the amount of the benefit, removing certain requirements to apply, amending the authorized budget, and extending the deadline for the payout by six months; and

Bill No. 164-36, introduced by Speaker Therese Terlaje, which seeks to amend the RISE Act of 2020 by removing impediments to the issuance of payments to eligible Guam residents.

Some senators commenting on the RISE-related bills say any actions taken during the session may be inorganic because the governor had already claimed RISE as a program of the executive department.

In fact, a day before the senators held session, the governor said she would be releasing an executive order simplifying and fine-tuning the procedures for the RISE payments.

This prompted Sen. Moylan to say: “I just find it very suspect that her announcement comes on the evening prior to the 36th Guam Legislature possibly entertaining two measures which address changes to Public Law 35-136, the RISE Act. It may very well be a subliminal message to lawmakers to leave making any amendments to the program alone.”

But Speaker Terlaje said the legislature is well within its jurisdiction to revise the RISE program because the original one originated from the Legislature and thus, any legislative changes made to it are not inorganic.

The governor said earlier that she doesn’t agree with increasing the payment cap for the program and hinted that she may veto any attempt to do so.

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