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Guam - Bill 491 or the “Bucks for Buses act of 2012” will have a public hearing now that the August 7th session start date has been postponed until August 27th.
The bills sponsor, Senator Chris Duenas, is concerned that this will not be soon enough for DPW. Bill 491 would reduce senators salaries and give those savings to DPW to fund it's busing program. Duenas is asking that the need for a public hearing be waived and an earlier session even a special session be held in order to deal with the bill quickly and give DPW the money it needs before the start of the school year.
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"I understand the need for a public hearing and I understand the need for public input that's the process and I believe in it but I believe that we've set precedence in this legislature that when an emergency exists we move quickly and act quickly and so that's what I'm asking for at this time,” said Senator Duenas. Speaker Judi Won Pat issued a press release today noting that Senator Duenas' bill would not provide enough money to fix the bus situation at DPW.
She also noted that public law 31-229, which Duenas co-sponsored, addresses this problem by authorizing GovGuam to issue tax credits for the purchase or lease of up to 50 new school buses.
READ Sen. Duenas' letter to Speaker Won Pat requestingWaiver, followed by Sen. Dueanas's memo to Speaker following rejection of waiver below:
July 26, 2012
Honorable Judith T. Won Pat
I Mina Trentai Unu Na Liheslaturan Guahan
155 Hesler Place
Hagatna, Guam 96910
Re: Request for Speaker’s Waiver of Public Hearing for Bill No. 491-31 (COR).
Dear Speaker Won Pat,
I am respectfully requesting your approval and support on the public hearing waiver for Bill No. 491-31 (COR), “The Bucks For Busses Act of 2012”, which I had taken the liberty to write for your concurrence.
Christopher M. Duenas
July 29, 2012
TO: Speaker Judith T. Won Pat, Ed. D
FR: Senator Christopher M. Duenas
RE: Public Hearing Waiver of Bill No. 491-31 (COR)Buenas yan Hafa Adai! Thank you for your letter dated July 27, 2012, regarding my request for a Public Hearing Waiver for “Bucks for Busses” Bill No. 491-31 (COR) that rolls back senatorial salary increases to fund the ongoing bussing crisis for DOE.
As you are aware, the Director of Public Works has stated that her department does not have funding to accommodate the proposed bussing schedule for the upcoming school year scheduled to begin on August 21st. “Bucks for Busses” Bill No. 491-31 (COR) gives the Department of Public Works the resources needed to bus our school children to school at the beginning of the new school year by rolling back our salaries prior to the pay raise.
With this said, I am concerned that you have postponed session until August 27th, as this will not allow the Legislature to resolve the crisis until after the school year begins. I would hate to see our school children bussed late to school at the start of the school year because of your recent decision to postpone session.
I appeal to your leadership and request that you would reconsider rescheduling session to the original dates of Tuesday, August 7, 2012 to Friday, August 10, 2012 as indicated by the majority leader and Rules Chairman, Senator Respicio on his memorandum dated July 19, 2012. This will give the time to provide the necessary leadership to effectively resolve this crisis.
Please join in prioritizing education.
Cc: Joanne Brown, DPW Director
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