By Jacob Nakamura
(Tumon, Guam) Seven senators - both Democrat and Republican - have announced their opposition to the Dictator Act 1 - Bill No. 334-35. The Guam Legislature returns to session at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to continue debate on the measure, which will give the governor the power to enact criminal statutes and send people to jail for up to one year for violating her decrees.
Prior to today's debate on the measure, Republican senators Telo Taitague, Jim Moylan, Louise Muna, and Wil Castro committed to opposing the bill. All four of them spoke on the floor of the legislature and reaffirmed their opposition to the Dictator Act.
Sen. Joe San Agustin, who was a co-author of the bill, removed his support for the measure this past weekend.
Today on the floor of the legislature, Sens. Clynt Ridgell and Jose "Pedo" Terlaje both announced their opposition to the bill.
Speaker Tina Muna Barnes, who introduced the bill on behalf of the governor, began the debate on the measure today by defending her actions; she did not ask for her colleagues's support.
One more senator is needed to vote no on the measure if the bill is to be defeated. Among the remaining senators who have not committed to voting yes or no are Vice Speaker Telena Nelson and Sens. Regine Biscoe Lee, Kelly Marsh Taitano, Sabina Perez, Therese Terlaje, Amanda Shelton, and Mary Torres.
Ms. Lee has conditioned her vote for the measure on the removal of the bill's provision that grants the governor the authority to issue decrees that will have the weight of criminal law. She proposed an amendment that ended up failing by one vote. It is unclear whether this will cause Ms. Lee to vote no on the measure, now that her condition has not been met.
Senators passed an amendment by Mr. Moylan that would remove criminal penalties from the bill, though the amendment does NOT remove the dictator provision.
There is a second Dictator Act that will be discussed following debate on Bill No. 334-35. Ms. Shelton's Bill No. 335-35 will give the governor the power to institute a curfew on command, and punish people who violate her curfew orders.
The Leon Guerrero regime is demanding dictatorial powers from the Guam Legislature under the guise of protecting the public's health during the Coronavirus.