Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero on Friday used her veto power to reject legislation that would allow the Legislature to clip her ability to keep the island under a public health emergency.
In a letter to Speaker Therese Terlaje, the governor also cast shade on senators who have indicated that the legislation, Bill No. 11, will improve government transparency.
"I recognize that my actions are regularly being judged by members of our community who have both a right and an obligation to understand and abide by any restrictions and mandates designed to safeguard our public health. But let's not pretend that Bill No. 11 is about a desire for legislative involvement or even transparency as several legislators indicated during the debate," the governor wrote, in part.
"We should recognize this bill for what it is: An effort to dictate the terms and conditions of a public health emergency by a body that does not have supervision or control over the agencies responsible for doing the necessary work to respond to the emergency and keep our community safe."
The governor stated executive branch agencies have regularly reported to the Legislature in writing and via frequent oversight and informational hearings.
"Bill No. 11 is not an attempt to restore the separation of powers; it is an attempt to destroy it," the governor stated.
The U.S. Congress is expected to pass legislation that would give GovGuam $661 million in direct assistance. Decisions on who among the community will benefit from federal funds and who will be left to wait for the locally funded programs are matters for the Legislature to get involved in, some senators have said.
"What might be affected by this bill is how we move forward in recovery, and how we allocate the $661 million. And it might affect who on Guam will be taken care of and who won't be," the speaker has said. "I think it's a very legitimate question for the Legislature to be involved in because it is the Legislature who's going to have to allocate remaining government of Guam funds as necessary to those not covered by federal funds."