Calvo will let Bill 19 lapse into law - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Calvo will let Bill 19 lapse into law

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - After dozens of Facebook comments and a legal summary of what it does and does not do - the verdict is in on controversial Bill 19....it will become public law.

 The fate of Bill 19 has been determined.

"Tonight at midnight, Bill 19 will lapse into law without my signature," said Governor Calvo. In a special address released this afternoon, Governor Eddie Calvo says when this happens, nothing will change except that the hospital will get more money. "There won't be any slot machines at the stores. There won't be casinos popping up. And bingo, cockfighting, kiddie rides, and Liberty machines will continue."

It was last week when Governor Calvo asked for your feedback on Facebook and has since garnered over five dozen comments most of which asked him to veto the measure. Calvo says he's surprised how the issue morphed into something bigger than it actually was as Bill 19 was more about increasing taxes on existing gaming rather than gambling. He says it was lawmakers who turned the whole debate upside down and made it more about gambling. So why make it lapse into law?

"The first is the way this bill was handled. The second is the amendment to ban bingo and cockfighting that didn't receive any public hearing. Fortunately, the amendment was defective because of a missing appendix. The bill doesn't have the effect of banning bingo and cockfighting because of a mistake made. That reinforces my first reason for not signing this measure," he said.

And while the Facebook comments were leaning more toward a veto, Calvo says he wasn't going to take that route either as Bill 19 would send more money to the hospital adding that after all the debate - Bill 19 actually does something meaningful for anyone who has visited GMH. "And so if casinos will remain illegal, and your hospital gets more money, that's a good enough reason to allow this bill to become law," he said.

Meanwhile, Governor Calvo calls out the Attorney General's Office, who has adamantly butted heads with the administration over the licensure of these specific gaming machines. "If the AG believes these machines are illegal, then why did he drop the lawsuit and not pursue charges? It's because the AG has written that the law itself is ambiguous and conflicting. I would suggest for someone to clarify the law...and for everyone to get back to the business of running the government," he said.

So what's next? Calvo says not only has the entire process revealed flaws in the system but says if the legislature wants to outlaw liberty machines, bingo, cockfighting or other forms of existing gambling, he recommends they do so through separate legislation- one with public hearings and widespread community input. 

 

 

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