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Bill's language concerns GEC

by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Language contained in recently passed Bill 215 has ignited some concern from the Guam Election Commission. The measure passed last weekend and would let voters decide in this year's general election whether medicinal marijuana should be allowed on Guam.

Bill 215 was initially proposed as a binding referendum but was amended on session floor to read as a legislative submission. However, according to GEC executive director Maria Pangelinan, what was transmitted to the GEC for review didn't say as much. "The words legislative submission does not appear, but at this point, it's not the executive director's call, legal counsel will advise us on such," she said.

Bill 215 still reads as a binding referendum in the title. Matter of fact the word 'referendum' is mentioned ten other times in the bill.  Unlike a legislative submission, a referendum would require signatures from 20-percent of the number of voters who participated in the last gubernatorial election. GEC chairman Joe Mesa says while the bill is now with  legal counsel, under his cursory review the legislation would need some technical changes. He added "if we don't take a hard look at the process and the proposal goes through, the last thing we need is somebody challenging the process." he says there is still sufficient time to address any problems as the election isn't until November. Senator Tina Muna Barnes is currently off-island and was unavailable for comment.

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