Speaker seeks governor’s commitment to implement COVID-19 relief ‘without need for a law’

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Speaker Tina Muna Barnes has sent a letter to Governor Lou Leon Guerrero asking her to commit to providing the legislature with all agreements necessary to secure federal coronavirus assistance “within 24 hours” of whenever those agreements “are executed.”

In her letter the Speaker cites Sen. Therese Terlaje’s Bill 333-25 which would require the Governor to “sign all necessary (agreements)” to carry out the relief provisions in the CARES Act within 5 days after the enactment of Bill 333.

In her letter the Speaker notes that no firm date can be set for the start of the CARES Act provisions “because federal agencies are still crafting the administrative mechanisms to execute” those provisions.

“I am confident that you would be amenable to start working immediately,” wrote Barnes “without the need for a (local) law.”

Barnes however still wants the Governor to commit to the following:

1.Provide the legislature with all Memorandum of Agreements (MOA), Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), Program Rules, and such other documents as might be necessary to secure federal assistance within 24 hours of when they are executed.

2.Notify the Legislature within 24 hours of the need for the adoption of administrative rules and regulations after such need has been “made known to you.”

3.Notify the Legislature by NOON tomorrow, Monday April 6, of any laws, rules, or regulations that lawmakers must enact in order to implement the aid provisions in the CARES Act “so that we can address those needs immediately.”

4.Schedule weekly digital informational briefings on the progress of federal aid to our people and to conduct the first informational briefing before the close of business, by tomorrow, Monday April 6th.

“It is my intent to get this 35th Guam Legislature to aid you in your efforts,” wrote the Speaker “as well as inform our People – while also outlining plans for recovery efforts.”