Borrowing measures pass, but election reform bill fails - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Borrowing measures pass, but election reform bill fails

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Lawmakers wrapped up this month's session by passing a pair of major borrowing bills, but voting down a measure that would fundamentally alter the local election process. 

In what can be described as an unusually long debate, lawmakers spent the better part of six days slicing and dicing a Port Authority bond measure. In the end, it passed by a vote of 11-3.  Sponsor Senator Frank Aguon Jr. calling the approval of a $72.6 million bond for facility and infrastructure improvements greats news for the port. Senators also giving the nod to the Power Authority's proposal to refund its current $150 million bond to save about $415,000 a year in interest. 

Another high profile bill, was Senator Joe S. San Agustin's bid to save taxpayer money by precluding the election commission from conducting primaries. He said, "You all agree that the primary election is a party election, and the party should step up and do their part, and the people of Guam shouldn't be paying for what they should be doing. That was the main thrust of this bill."

But several senators including Mary Torres and Jim Espaldon argued that while well-intended, without further work San Agustin's bill might do more harm than good. "But ultimately, abolishing a primary election although it will not necessarily result in a runoff gubernatorial election, it will increase the probability and negate any initial cost-savings achieved by eliminating the primary," Torres said.

Senator Espaldon added, "I think there's still a lot of questions that need to be answered, and issues that need to be scrutinized before we can pass this type of election reform and I don't think we've done that just yet."

The measure was defeated by a vote of 9 to 4, with two senators excused. 

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