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Bill 107 finally heard before lawmakers

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GUAM - After four days in session, Bill 107 was finally heard before lawmakers. Senator Brant McCreadie says a lot of high profile crimes have one thing in common.
"All these crimes were committed by criminals who had been incarcerated for crimes and they somehow found themselves back on the streets to reoffend and rehabilitate" the senator quipped.
Bill 107 creates a two-strikes provision for habitual offenders of serious crimes and in short any person who is convicted of two violent aggravated felonies as identified in the bill would be sentenced to life in prison.
It was nearly one week ago when Bill 107 had its public hearing, receiving support from the AG's office and the random women's rally but also raised concerned from attorneys who noted it would take away judicial discretion from the judges.
To that, Senator McCreadie says, "what about the victims?"
"How did the victim feel when his or her hands are tied?" McCreadie inquired.
Senator Michael San Nicolas says this sends a clear message to repeat offenders of violent crimes.
"This is not a partisan issue, Democrats and Republicans are going to come after you and they're to make sure you stop what you're doing if it means locking you up for the rest of your life...period" San Nicolas warned.
Senator Tommy Morrison says this bill takes a stand against violence and asked lawmakers to do the same.
"It's obvious what this legislation does, it's spirit is clear, it's intent is clear and it defines with no question what violent crimes we will tolerate in this community" Morrison reinforced.
After concern was raised that certain offenses listed in the bill don't fit the punishment, Senator McCreadie removed 17 offenses such as negligent burning, burglary, terroristic conduct and rioting. The bill now only list 13 offenses from aggravated murder to criminal sexual conduct in the first and second degree to possession of child pornography. Morrison along with Senator Rory Respicio, joined six other sponsors in support of the measure. Respicio in fact introduced an amendment that would address the number of citizens from the freely associated states who are incarcerated and the terms under the Compact of Free Association.
"So what this amendment does to this bill is say any COFA residents is convicted of any deportable offense, it's simply requires that the AG notify the U.S. Immigration of these individuals and the crimes to which they've been convicted and let immigration to be the one to move forward and honor the tenants of the compact impact" Respicio explained.
McCreadie supported the amendment as did Vice Speaker BJ Cruz who even noted he's tried to take similar action before but was met with challenges. He further noted concerns raised by the public defender about how to deal with cases with mental illness. He says until such concerns are addressed he believes this bill is premature.
"Madame Speaker, more time needs to be taken on this bill, more things have to be added beside the COFA amendment,  which I support" the vice speaker added.
Senator Michael Limtiaco meanwhile preferred two amendments -- one changing the two strikes provision to three and an amendment allowing the judges to decide whether mentally ill patients qualify under the bill. After further discussion, Senator Frank Aguon Jr. and Senator Aline Yamashita joined the list of co-sponsors of the bill bringing its total to 10. Bill 107 was ultimately moved to the third reading file.


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