Guam - After voters turned down a for-profit bingo initiative placed on the general election ballot last week, legislation has been introduced ensuring that voters won't be left in the dark about who those who are backing future initiatives. Senator Judi Guthertz says months leading into the general election, it was clear that there was a lack of information about Proposal 'A' seeking to legalize for-profit bingo on Guam.
It's that very reason she introduced Bill 532, otherwise known as the Initiative Reform and Transparency Act of 2012. "And so I thought about it and said gaming initiatives are a very serious matter for Guam, and at the least the people of Guam have the right to know who are actually proposing this kind of activity, what is their background, we'd like to know they are reputable individuals," she said.
Bill 532 requires the Guam Election Commission to require full public disclosure from those who support or put forward an initiative in the future by requiring them to file financial disclosures and submit full police, local and federal court clearances. Guthertz adds the measure does not prohibit all initiatives but only applies to gaming initiatives. "So we just want to make sure that when these things are proposed that the folks that are proposing them meet all the requirements of the law and reputable entities," she added.
"It was just last week when island voters opposed the for profit bingo initiative that was introduced by the Guam Japan Friendship Village proposed here at the Guam Greyhound park. The measure was shot down by more than 65 percent of those who voted in the general election," she said.
Committee to Keep Guam Good representative Jackie Marati says the people have spoken for the 5th time in 8 years against legalized gambling on Guam, calling it a people's victory. She adds the measure is timely, relevant and initiative reform the people of Guam need. "We really need to work on making sure that when people are coming up with initiatives, particularly gambling initiatives, that we get as much information about them to protect our people and to make sure we know who's behind these initiatives," he said.
Ironically enough, Ann "Clotilde" Cruz, who filed the financial disclosures report on behalf of the proponents and is listed as the campaign treasurer and chair, tells KUAM News that she supports Bill 532 and believes requiring such information would be good because "how can you be trusted if the people don't know who you are." GEC executive director Maria Pangelinan meanwhile says some of the requirements in the bill are already required by the GEC including filing financial disclosures with final reports due by November 26.