Guam - Following Monday's unanimous passage of Bill 19, several lawmakers believe amendments by Senator Ben Pangelinan and Senator Michael San Nicolas may have legalized the entire limited gaming industry.
Senators Tina Muna Barnes, Rory Respicio, Tony Ada, Dennis Rodriguez, Jr, Aline Yamashita and Brant McCreadie issued the following statement:
"We would like to express our concerns about two specific amendments that were included in Bill No. 19-32(COR), which was unanimously passed earlier this evening. In our collective opinion, Senator Ben Pangelinan legalized the entire limited gaming industry by offering his last minute amendment on the measure prior to voting. His amendment reads:
‘Section 7. All tax imposed by this Act and the authority to license all gaming, limited gaming, and gambling referenced herein shall be repealed upon the payment of vendors of GMH listed in Exhibit A appended herein.'
Despite Senator Pangelinan's references to "Exhibit A," he failed to provide any "Exhibit A" attachments to his floor amendment. Also, when the engrossed version of Bill No. 19-32(COR) was presented to lawmakers for our vote, no exhibit was attached to it.
Further, Senator Mike San Nicolas then included an amendment to Senator Pangelinan's amendment that would ban ALL gaming activities once the GMH vendor debt is fully satisfied pursuant to the "Exhibit A" reference by the Pangelinan amendment that neither exists nor was duly adopted by the legislature.
We are extremely concerned about the long-term effects the Pangelinan/San Nicolas amendments will have by permanently banning cockfighting, bingo, raffles and other activities supported by non-profit organizations and events on the village level.
Further, we are concerned that this decision was made without stakeholder input. The legislature should have spoken with the non-profit entities and the senior citizen groups before taking action. While gaming may have some unfortunate consequences, we believe that overall, our manamko and our non-profit organizations are responsible and should be able to decide their activities. They are deserving of this respect and regard."