Would a part-time legislature be good for Guam? - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Would a part-time legislature be good for Guam?

by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Would a part-time legislature be more effective? That's the question being posed upon the people of Guam as several have criticized whether the work of fifteen senators is making the cut to meet the needs of thousands of island residents.

"I don't believe in a part-time legislature," noted Ben Garrido. "By the time you have a part-time legislature, you're not going to have anyone running for legislature [sic]." Pete Blas added, "I support part-time...so they can fully concentrate on what they're trying to pass, what kind of bills instead of putting out bills and then tabling them."

Residents like Garrido and Blas are split in whether cutting the current legislative count in half would make Guam better. Debate on whether there should be a part-time legislature was the main focus of Speaker Judi Won Pat's Weekly Address today - she said those pushing for a part-time legislature have a "deceptive and sinister objective".

The speaker said, "Their motive is simple: by limiting the ability of individuals to fully serve the people of Guam, they are instead wanting to transfer the power of the people to the wealthy and elite." She added, "My dear people, the truth is that we've become a much more efficient, productive, and transparent legislature. We are efficient because we have established a system of processes and tools that gets more work done through a wide network of people and in a short amount of time."

University of Guam professor Ron McNinch meanwhile has been critical of the legislature having most recently graded them 'below average', citing them for micromanaging and introducing a number of bills that didn't raise the big questions. "The legislature has kind of failed to ask the big questions or to really do things of any mass effort or mass scale," he said. "All the little bills they have been doing have been very small and a lot of the bills that the legislature does could be handled by a functional commission."

In terms of a part-time legislature, McNinch actually supports restoring it back twenty-one, but with salary reductions. "My own view," he shared, "if we want a legislature that gets more for our money so to speak, just cut their pay. Cut their pay from their current $90,000 plus benefits down to more modest amount to $20,000. You would achieve the same results."

The bottom line for McNinch was that the people of Guam deserve better. 

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