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Several initiatives become public law

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From implementing stiffer sentences to individuals caught smuggling contraband into the Department of Corrections to modernizing voter registration on Guam - these are just some of the new initiatives made into public law today. More than a week after being passed by lawmakers, Governor Eddie Calvo put pen to paper signing nearly a dozen bills into public law today.

Senator Brant McCreadie saw his Bill 42, otherwise known as the Contraband Reform Act of 2015, become official today. "This is a nearly 40-year-old bill that hasn't been amended or repealed," he said. "My colleagues voted unanimously to pass this bill and I hope by sending this strong message that department of corrections goes after everybody who decided to bring contraband into our correctional facility and we punish them as harsh as we can with this new mandate." The bill is timely - more than ever - as DepCor has made headlines lately over contraband being snuck into the prison including by one of its own guards.

And while there was much debate on session floor, Senator Tommy Morrison saw his Bill 3 become public law. "Our mayors work very hard to ensure that our kids who participate in youth programs are not left behind and none of them want to see them without the necessities or equipment and supplies or to also see a child show up to an opening ceremony without a uniform," he explained. Bill 3 would allow mayors to use funds made available through the limited gaming fund to purchase sports equipment.

Senator Nerissa Underwood saw her First Generation Trust Fund initiative become public law recently and her second measure in line with education does the same as well. She said, "With this bill, we're actually giving the educators the tools for them to monitor the progress of our students toward being prepared for post secondary, for career and college."

Bill 43 would change standardized testing within schools as DOE begins to use the ACT Aspire Assessment this year. For Vice Speaker BJ Cruz, his Bill 41 adopting revisions to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act was on a timeline. "It is uniformed child support law and unfortunately our children are being raised by parents are living elsewhere, so we need uniform law. This has been adopted by a convention of the United Nations, so I'm hoping you approve it because otherwise we lose $7.2 million today," he said. Cruz says the bill was written by the Attorney General's Office along with the Child Support Section in Washington, DC and for freshman senator Mary Torres, she saw not one but two bills become her first public laws.

"We've seen democracy is so dependent on participation and with the growing decline, there's a steady decline of participation in the voting process, we felt incumbent to do something to enable people to have better access online for voter registration," she concluded.

Senator Torres' Bill 23 would streamline voter registration and Bill 24 would allow 16-year-olds to pre-register to vote.

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