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Casino debate continues; committee to discuss possible alternative

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The Liberation carnival is less than a month away, and is already off to a rather rocky start. The casino has been at issue since KUAM first reported the construction of the facility on the Paseo grounds earlier this week.

On Thursday, Liberation carnival committee chair Mayor Robert Hoffman says the committee will meet next week to decide - that if there is no casino – what next steps they would take in order to continue with putting on the carnival, parade and fireworks. He says they will seek the governor’s advice on his wishes since he is the authorizing authority.

The construction of the casino stirred up frustration by the anti-gambling community who called for the Attorney General and the Guam OPA to investigate, and for the Legislature to hold an oversight hearing with the Mayor’s Council. Those groups also want lawmakers to act on Bill 50. The measure would immediately put a stop to the Liberation Casino operations.

Senator Telena Nelson, who is the author of the bill, has requested Tax and Finance Committee chair, Senator Joe San Agustin, to submit the bill's committee report so it would be eligible for discussion during next week's session. The measure was not included in this month's session agenda. Senator Nelson says she met with the Mayor's council last month. They requested she amend the measure so that, if passed, the ban on the casino would begin next year. However, she says that request was not brought up during the bill's public hearing.

Nelson says, "This bill is not against the mayors or one that is malicious. It is to protect our community from the ills of what casino gambling may cause that will negatively affect our families."On Wednesday, San Agustin told KUAM the bill could not make May session because he's still awaiting documents from the mayors. 

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