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NEWS: 2 critical COVID-19 response measures pass unanimously by Guam senators

The following is a news release from the Office of Senator Therese Terlaje:

Bills 336 and 333 passed with unanimous support today at the Guam Legislature during emergency session. Both bills sponsored by Senator Therese Terlaje provide the Governor with tools and flexibility to rapidly respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Bill No. 336-35 increases the Governor’s current transfer authority under the Health Emergency Declaration from $100,000.00 monthly for 3 months, up to $4 million during the COVID-19 emergency response. The increase in transfer authority removes any potential impediment to compete today in a market where there is a global shortage of ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPE) and COVID-19 test kits.  When these items become available, there should be no barrier within the government’s control to obtain them.  That includes a lack of funding. The bill also allows for transferred funds to pay for temporary housing for COVID-19 exposed medical personnel and homeless individuals to ensure that they get the support that they need to keep their families safe.

Healthcare professionals working to defeat the COVID-19 virus have consistently reached out for assistance in obtaining test kits, personal protective equipment, ventilators and medicines.  Senator Terlaje stated that this bill removes any further excuse or barrier to swift delivery of those items to our tireless frontline medical personnel. 

“I am normally a fiscally conservative person, especially when handling the money of the people,” Senator Terlaje said. “These are not normal times and this increased transfer authority is to secure crucial medical equipment and temporary housing support to protect the lives of our people.”

During session discussion on Senator Therese Terlaje’s second bill, Bill 333, she stressed the need for accountability to ensure that all monies are spent within federal guidelines and to ensure this aid reaches those intended, who have been impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic, without any delay or impediment.

While understanding that there are many gears turning to enact the many different provisions for the CARES Act, Bill 333 sets a clear guideline for the government of Guam to operate within ensuring full accountability.  The measure also waives lengthy rulemaking requirements and allows the hiring of new or reassignment of existing personnel to accomplish the required reporting and processing that may be needed for full implementation.

“I want to thank my colleagues for supporting Bills 336 and 333 and for recognizing the need for transparency, accountability and rapid relief for the people of Guam during this very challenging time,” said Senator Therese Terlaje.

Both bills will be on their way to Adelup pending action by the Governor.

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