Governor urging senators to act on contaminated water bill
Watch out for a possible move to call the legislature back from recess as early as tomorrow. A majority of senators voted yesterday to call off a special session until next week so they could hold a public hearing on the governor's water protection Bill.
Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero called the special session for Monday to address her bill that would authorize the Attorney General to hire special counsel to possibly join a multi-state lawsuit against deep pocket manufacturers of harmful chemicals known as PFAS that have allegedly contaminated certain Guam water wells. But in a parliamentary tactic, Vice Speaker Telena Nelson called for an undebatable motion to recess, which eight of her colleagues agreed to.
But it was the governor who raised the possibility during a news conference on an unrelated topic.
"I am going to ask for a reconsideration of the vote, and I'm working with the speaker to make that happen, so we'll go from there," she said. "I just can't overemphasize the importance of this in it being expedient."
Speaker Tina Barnes would not specifically confirm such a move, but also did not rule it out.
"It is the efforts of looking at the additional information that was provided from the attorney general's office to our colleagues and I understand that there has been a request from a couple of my colleagues to look at a reconsideration," she said. "But again we are not adjourned, we are in recess, so we're hoping that based on the additional information that has been provided that there will be a request to me to act more faster."
Senators who voted for the recess said a public hearing on the bill was already scheduled for Monday, but the governor says there's an August 5 deadline, and not only does the AG need time to select a special counsel, the special counsel needs time to come here and assess the situation enough to prepare the litigation. That's why she insists there's no time to waste.
"Everyday that it's delayed we are losing opportunity to get on this litigation so that we can provide some justice to our people and also to rectify those wells," Leon Guerrero said in a release from Adelup. "It's a matter to me of water purity safety and a matter of social justice."