THE island’s youth leaders yesterday passed eight of nine bills proffered and three resolutions during the Legislative Mock Session for Island Leadership Day 2012, using the event as a platform to raise concerns that affect their lives as well.
Bill 8-31, introduced by Vice Speaker Benjamin Cruz’s counterpart, T’nelta Mori, and co-sponsored by Jobert Petree, failed to pass.
According to Cruz’s Chief Policy Analyst Carlo Branch, who was Petree’s counterpart, the bill received a majority vote of 7 yeas to 3 noes; but because the Legislature adopted the “rule of 8,” Bill 8 failed to pass.
“No one who works a full-time job should be forced to live in poverty. This is why I introduced Bill 8,” Mori said. “I know that some members will be concerned that we may hurt island businesses, but people who earn $16,000 a year buy milk and bread, not BMWs and summer homes. Families earning minimum wage return every dollar to the private sector.”
Mori revealed she is the child of a single parent and said she understood the struggles of Guam’s families.
Several bills that were introduced and passed yesterday reflected issues affecting the education community today. One of the bills, Bill 6, introduced by Austin Grant, Hope Calip and Danielle Stephenson-Threatt, aims to promote transparency among the Guam Education Board relative to the adoption of class schedules.
GEB has been under fire lately for passing the “4 by 4” bell schedule that would become effective next school year. The bell schedule will extend school hours but will effectively decrease instruction time in core classes such as math, science and English and add two alternative classes to the current curriculum implemented in the high schools.
Since the passing of the new bell schedule, a growing movement has been seen composed of stakeholders from high schools such as Okkodo, Simon Sanchez, John F. Kennedy and Southern High.
Another item, Resolution 3, was also introduced to raise awareness on the status of the completion of the JFK campus. The resolution, introduced by Kojay Quichocho, Austin Grant and Cris C. Perez, calls upon Gov. Eddie Calvo and the Guam Department of Education to conduct a status meeting for all stakeholders on the completion of the construction of the JFK Tumon campus before the end of the current school year.
“I know this is a mock session, but this is a serious call to GDOE to find out when JFK will be complete,” Quichocho said.
The other bills that passed include:
- Bill 1, introduced by Mariana Connelley and Perez, dedicates departure gates at the A.B. Won Pat International Air Port to Guam villages;
- Bill 2, introduced by Hannah C.J. Marzan, establishes a peer review evaluation process for Guam Department of Education teachers;
- Bill 3, introduced by Cris Czar Perez and Althea Balajadia, requires the incorporation of green technology for Guam public schools to be rehabilitated;
- Bill 4, introduced by Petree and Mori, relative to unpaid overtime to retired Department of Corrections personnel;
- Bill 5, by Mori, relative to online disclosures of small purchase awards and open purchase orders;
- Bill 7, introduced by Annisha M. Perez, relative to establishing a “Guma-Ta” homeless shelter via partnership between the Department of Public Health and Social Services and a nonprofit organization; and
- Bill 9, by Stephenson-Threatt, Hope Calip and Grant, requires Qualifying Certificate beneficiaries to display local art.
The other resolutions that passed are:
- Resolution 1, by Balajadia and Perez, relative to healthier meal alternatives for all schoolchildren; and
- Resolution 2, by Calip, Stephenson-Threatt, Grant, Marzan, Connelley, Petree, Balajadia, and Quichocho, relative to inventory and redistribution of school textbooks.