GOP frustrated with session agenda

By Gerardo R. Partido
Variety News Staff
Thursday, June 17, 2004

HAGÅTÑA — Republican senators are again frustrated in their attempt to put their bills in the agenda of the current legislative session.

Of the 12 bills included in the agenda, only two are Republican-sponsored. These are Republican minority leader Mark Forbes’ Bill 281 which seeks to rehabilitate the Santa Rita water system, and Sen. Robert Klitzkie’s Bill 233 which seeks to make the open government law applicable to elected boards and commissions.

Klitzkie was particularly upset that his Bill 162, which requires the government to provide adequate public education, was not included in the agenda. He said he couldn’t understand the opposition to the bill when even the Department of Education recommends the legislation.

Sen. Lawrence Kasperbauer also expressed his frustration with the Democratic majority. “I attempted to move my bills on the agenda but I wasn’t successful. I can’t understand why,” the senator lamented.

One of the bills that Kasperbauer wanted to include was Bill 126 which would allow people who serve on jury duty to keep their stipends.

“This bill was already publicly heard and the committee report was submitted to the clerk’s office way back last year. All eight members of the committee signed to pass it. But now, it wasn’t put in the agenda,” the senator said.

Kasperbauer also wanted to include Bill 224 which prohibits convicted sex offenders from being employed by government contractors involved in activities involving children.

“The committee report on this bill was already turned in two months ago. The chair of the education committee said it was a good bill and promised to help pass it, but now it’s also not in the agenda,” Kasperbauer said.

“I think it’s tragic that we have to wait for some sex offense to happen for this bill to get attention,” he added.

Even Forbes’ resolution on having a school named after the late president Ronald Reagan didn’t make the cut.

“Frankly, I was disappointed because there wasn’t even any discussion and no justification was given,” Forbes said.

Moreover, Forbes pointed out that the resolution did not seek to mandate anything. It just requested DOE to consider naming a school after Reagan.

“It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t get the legislature to agree to something like this. Certainly president Reagan is worthy of this honor and certainly, the contributions that he made when he was president literally benefited everyone in the world because he ended the Cold War. Someone with that level of achievement should be recognized, especially on Guam where we do name our schools after presidents. We have a school named after presidents Truman and Johnson. Certainly Reagan ranks up there with them,” Forbes said.

The minority leader also noted that the Reagan presidency coincided with the best economic period in Guam’s history. He said one of the things Reagan proved was that cutting taxes is a way of increasing economic growth and that when government overtaxes, it depresses economic growth.

Despite the resolution’s failure to make it in the current legislative session agenda, Forbes said he will continue to push for a school named after Reagan: “I’ll try to have the legislature deal with this again. If they still do not act, we will contact the board of education policy directly or we may go to the governor and ask for an executive order. I’m not going to let this slide.”




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