The following is news from the Office of Sen. Therese Terlaje:
As Guam anticipates receiving potentially over $300 million in federal assistance, Senator Therese Terlaje 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.
After discussion with her colleagues in the 35th Guam Legislature, Substitute Bill No. 333-35 (COR), An Act Relative to the Rapid and Transparent Implementation of Federal and Local Assistance Programs Related to COVID-19, moved to the voting file. The measure also waives lengthy rulemaking requirements and allows the reassignment of existing personnel to accomplish these purposes swiftly.
Members of the 35th Guam Legislature rose in support of the bill.
“It is very critical to have a sense of transparency at this time. When there is a lack of transparency there are a lot of questions and also people assume that if there is no transparency that you cannot trust the information being given on the forefront,” stated Vice Speaker Telena Nelson on the session floor.
“We must ensure that government funds are expended in a transparent manner. [It] provides a strong balance between ensuring this accountability, while continuing to provide necessary funding in a responsive manner,” said Senator Sabina Perez, original co-author of the bill.
Thinking forward, Senator Terlaje recognized that the 2020 budget will be adversely impacted under the current fiscal climate stating “We need to know as much as can about every single dime that is going to be spent under these programs.”
The Chair for the Committee on Health closed reinforcing that “the bill is intended to accommodate transparency and accountability.”
The measure is now cosponsored by all members of the 35th Guam Legislature.