Speaker postpones Tuesday emergency session

The resolution, introduced by Vice Speaker Tina Muna Barnes, supports Taiwan's inclusion, emphasizing its contribution to the ongoing global efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic. (PNC file photo)

Speaker Tina Muna Barnes has decided to temporarily postpone Tuesday’s emergency session in line with Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero’s advice that holding a legislative session at this time may be “premature.”

In her letter to the Speaker, Leon Guerrero cautioned that to develop programs locally, using local funds, may duplicate federal programs currently enacted to give relief to businesses and individuals.

“I would prefer holding on to our local funding which is needed to pay for costs upfront by the local government to respond to COVID-19,” the governor wrote.

In response, the Speaker said she decided to temporarily postpone session to allow for the “coordinated effort” of the two branches of government to come together.

“The decisions made regarding the health and safety of our loved ones, is not one that can be made by this body alone, or the Governor alone. It is something that must be derived from a dialogue between our branches, based on the input of the experts we entrusted who have the technical expertise in their respective fields,” the Speaker said.

She added: “Given that COVID-19 efforts may be something that we will be dealing with for many weeks to come, it’s clear to me that our two branches must work together to ensure that we maximize funds and benefits available to protect the health and safety of our residents.”

The Speaker also noted that a majority of the bills being proposed for session have yet to have their public hearings and she has reservations about holding session without the input of government stakeholders, as well as the community, especially when decisions being made would have an impact on the community’s response to COVID-19.

Republican senator James Moylan earlier said he will push for several of his recently introduced measures to be considered as “emergency” in order to be qualified to make the emergency session agenda.

Moylan said his bills have a direct impact on the business community, public safety, and the island community in general.

The Republican Party of Guam also pushed for coronavirus bills introduced by GOP senators to be included in the session agenda.