Please add this testimony to the record for Bill 246-35.
The 17 pages introduced by three members of the Guam Legislature actually contain eight bills. Provisions creating a slush fund for a newly autonomous Election Commission, slamming two former senators as a means to strengthen party discipline, and pander to GovGuam employees, inter alia, are nicely camouflaged by 13 sections which at least arguably deal with technical election matters.
In the interest of completeness, I proffer an amendment to Sens. San Agustin, Muña Barnes and J. Terlaje’s Bill 246 because in the bill’s 28 sections nearly everything was included except the kitchen sink!
Section 29. 3 GCA § is amended to read: § 2110. Detailed Budget Requests: Kitchen Sink: GEC’s annual budget submission for election years shall include a detailed breakdown of the funding level necessary to meet all of its statutory requirements and abide by all policies and procedures set forth in its rules and regulations. Notwithstanding any other law, the commission shall use the funds appropriated pursuant to this section to purchase, service and maintain a kitchen sink for the office of the commission.
A little more sarcasm: Your budget needn’t include money for a shredder. No such appliance was required by Sens. San Agustin, Muña Barnes and J. Terlaje, aided and abetted by your Rules Chair, Régine Lee, to shred your Standing Rule VI (a), infra, as they ignored the provisions of 2 GCA § 2108i.
Rule VI, Processing of bills, Section 6.01. General Rules. (a) One Subject Matter. No bill introduced, considered or passed by the Guam Legislature or any of its members, shall contain more than one (1) subject matter, and shall not contain unrelated subjects or pertain to multiple projects, except for one (1) annual budget bill and one (1) supplement to the annual budget bill per fiscal year; except that, the succeeding Guam Legislature may, on the year it commences, introduce, consider and pass, one (1) supplement to the annual budget bill for that fiscal year, whose subject and contents may be exempted from this Section (see also 2 GCA § 2108(a)). Upon receipt of a bill introduced by a member of I Liheslaturan Guåhan, the chairperson of the Committee on Rules may seek advice from legal counsel, to include the compliance of the bill with 2 GCA § 2108. The chairperson of the Committee on Rules shall not accept and shall return to the prime sponsor any bill which, on introduction or on reporting out by committee violates this Section, as determined by the chairperson of the Committee on Rules. No bill, amended bill, or substitute bill shall be entertained on the floor with nongermane items, except as allowed in this Section. The speaker shall rule on the germaneness of any item of any bill challenged by a member; and if the speaker rules that an item is nongermane to the bill’s primary subject matter unless the speaker is overruled by the body as described elsewhere in these Rules, the item shall be removed prior to the final vote on the bill.
Bill 246 is not a single bill but were 2 GCA § 2108 and Rule VI, Processing of bills, Section 6.01 to be complied with, eight.
Commission slush fund
The first bill could be found at § § 9 and 10 (and § 17) of Bill 246 and referred to as The Election Commission Slush Fund Act. If these two sections became law a newly autonomous election commission would be established which in accordance with the provisions of § 17 of the Bill 246 would be funded by the greatly increased filling fees provided by that section, viz. senator from $100 to $500. The perniciousness of this sleight of hand is amplified by the recommendation of the commission itself, to wit: the filing fee for senator from $100 to $5,000! Just imagine what an autonomous commission could do with that kind of money in its slush fund!
The second bill found at §§ 16 and 22 of Bill 236 is the Democratic Party Discipline Act. In the last election, Frank Aguon’s write-in total shined a bright light on the Democrats’ lack of party discipline which they are apparently determined never to allow to happen again thus § 16. Subsection 22 is Michael San Nicolas’ comeuppance for not signing the “loyalty pledge.” § 22’s mechanism for filling a vacancy in San Nicolas’ office can only be seen as precatory.
The third bill is § 6 of Bill 246. The Pander to the Government Employees Act which adds another government holiday to the calendar.
The fourth bill, § 8 of Bill 236, is the No Romeo Carlos Act. § 8 requires ballots to show only the official, (passport, birth certificate, etc.) name. No “better known as,” na’an familia, na’an querido would appear on the ballot. Certainly no “outsiders” like “Romeo Carlos.”
The fifth bill is, § 11 and 15 of Bill 236, the Election Commission Empire Act which would allow the commission to hire more employees and ties in nicely with the first bill, The Election Commission Slush Fund Act.
The sixth bill, § 2 of Bill 246, is The Zoning Law Improvement Act. § 2 of Bill 246 amends Title 21 of the code, i.e. the title that deals with real property. Bill 246 would amend Ch. 61, Art. 5 Yard and Area Regulations.
The seventh bill, § 4 of Bill 246, purports to amend a provision of Title 16 Vehicles. This bill could be titled The Careless in Drafting Act.
The eighth bill would consist of the other sections of the bill, except for § 28, which deal with technical parts of the election law which ought to be considered in a single bill instead of serving as camouflage for the sinister provisions included in this “kitchen sink” bill.
§ 28 is superfluous unless you want to repeal 1 GCA § 102 subsection (a) of which reads: § 102. Effective Date of Statutes. (a) Every law enacted by the Guam Legislature shall go into effect at midnight of the day of its approval by the governor unless otherwise provided therein.
Robert Klitzkie is a former senator, an attorney and hosts the “Tall Tales” radio program on ThePoint