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In photo: The island's manamko' gather in the public hearing room to watch arguments made by senators for and against Bill 174 during session at the Guam Legislature in Hagåtña, yesterday. Bill 174, which would appropriate funds for an exclusive health insurance plan, is expected to save the government $18 million. Those savings would be diverted to increase COLA for retirees to $1,800. The bill was introduced and passed on Saturday. Dance Aoki/Pacific Sunday News

Written by:
Dance Aoki - Pacific Sunday News

The Legislature yesterday morning passed a bill aimed at saving $18 million in health insurance costs and using that money to pay for cost-of-living allowances for government of Guam retirees.

When they returned to session in the afternoon, senators adjourned, still without a budget for the upcoming fiscal year. They are in session because the governor, who vetoed the fiscal 2014 budget bill, called them there to consider an alternative bill.


Three of four machines had problems: Election workers prepare tabulation machines for the 2012 General Election at the University of Guam field house in this Nov. 5, 2012, file photo. The Guam Election Commission is trying to purchase new machines after experiencing problems with three of its four machines during last November's election.

Written by:
Jerick Sablan - Pacific Sunday News

Next election could run faster and smoother if the Guam Election Commission can purchase new tabulators.

During last year's General Election, the GEC had problems with at least three of its four tabulators.

Those problems drew attention to the age of the machines, and the GEC has since looked at whether it would be feasible to keep using them, Director Maria Pangelinan said.


Marianas Variety

FOLLOWING up on the implementation of the "Three Strikes" law, Majority Leader Rory J. Respicio has requested Attorney General Leonardo Rapadas to submit an intermediate report by Aug. 30. The report should include the number of Compacts of Free Association (COFA) citizens incarcerated at the Department of Corrections as well as the status of deportation cases that the office has forwarded to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

In a letter sent to the AG yesterday, Respicio said he would like to ensure that the AG's Office is working with federal agencies to begin deporting convicted criminals who fall under the terms of the COFA.


Marianas Variety

SEN. Rory Respicio yesterday introduced a bill eliminating all existing Qualifying Certificates awarded to insurance companies under the government’s controversial tax incentive program.

At the same time, Bill 167-32 would repeal a provision in the QC law that allows tax exemptions on premiums collected by insurance companies.

The bill was filed in response to Gov. Eddie Calvo’s call for the Legislature to revamp the QC program and make local insurance companies pay their fair share of taxes.

“I hope the governor will help in the implementation of this proposal when it becomes law,” Respicio said.


Marianas Variety

FORMER Speakers of past Guam Legislatures joined other members of the community yesterday in supporting Bill No. 155-32 (COR) which would restore the historic Guam Legislature Building in Hagåtña.

Bill 155, introduced by Sen. Rory J. Respicio, seeks to finance the additional renovations for the historic Guam Legislature Building through a $4 million loan with the Bank of Guam.

During yesterday’s public hearing, Bill 155 received support from former Speakers such as Joaquin C. Arriola, Tomas V.C. Tanaka, and Joe T. San Agustin.

“It was an honor to hear from these great leaders and to listen as they reminisced about the history of that building and how important it is to the legacy of our island,” Respicio said.