Guam – Speaker Judi Won Pat is standing by her support of Bill 516 which was unanimously passed by the Legislature two weeks ago and vetoed last week by the Governor.
The measure was meant to authorize a one-year extension on the use of federal ARRA funds, but it also would have re-directed a portion of funds designated for the Department of Mental Health to UOG, GCC and the Retirement Fund. That is what the Governor objected to saying that those funds were committed to Mental Health by order of the District Court and GovGuam risked being found in contempt if the funds were transferred.
However in her response, the Speaker writes that the Governor’s claim of contempt “has no legal grounding, and is contradictory to the actions taken by your office with the District Court.
Citing remarks to the District Court, the Speaker also argues that the Governor had previously said that the Mental Health Funds were available for use and she asks the Governor for “a clarification on the inconsistency between its statements before the District Court and the Legilsature.”
And she makes the point that the Guam Legislature has already authorized funding for DMHSA through FY 2013 writing “Your claim that we have ‘removed resources’ from DMHSA is misleading and misguided.”
Speaker Won Pat concludes by writing “Beyond the politics of this exchange, this Legislature stands by the intent of this bill. We stand with the retirees, with the legislative and judicial employees and most importantly with the thousands of students seeking better opportunities through GCC and the UOG. AS the Speaker of the Guam legislature and chair of the Committee on Education, I will always support the pursuit of higher eduction. I implore your office to do the same.”