FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2016
Health Chairman Recommends Rejection of the Proposed Rules and Regulations;
Seeks Simultaneous Introduction of New Measure Addressing Stakeholder Concerns.
Tamuning, Guam. In a June 22, 2016 letter to Sub-committee Chairperson, Senator Tina Muna-Barnes, Health Committee Chairman, Senator Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr., recommended the rejection of the proposed rules and regulations for the Joaquin (KC) Conception II Compassionate Cannabis Use Act of 2013.
Among the concerns raised by Rodriguez is the issue that the proposed draft rules contain provisions outside of, or in addition to the enabling statute, contains contradictory definitions and language, and may as well inadvertently impose undesirable burdens’ upon caregivers and patients alike.
Rodriguez wrote, "there are numerous valid concerns relative to the legitimate medical validation for prospective patients, cultivation and dispensing monitoring, what is deemed exorbitant permittion costs, as well as access and costs of laboratory monitoring for health and safety purposes."
In an effort to ensure the potentially deficient proposed rules and regulations do not lapse into law, the Health Committee Chair recommends that the proposal be formally rejected and that a new measure be simultaneously introduced to address the concerns and suggestions raised by stakeholders.
"I thank Senator Barnes for her tireless efforts to get us this far. I share her desires to ensure the rules we adopt are all encompassing and addresses the concerns raised by our people. The best course of action would be to reject the current proposal and diligently work towards drafting rules and regulations that accurately reflect the intent and mandates voted into law by our people," Rodriguez stated.
Senator Rodriguez is committed to working with Senator Barnes and other colleagues to draft new rules and regulations using the proposal proffered by the Department of Public Health submitted as a working draft template.
"Lots of hard work and research went into developing the proposed rules and regulations. I thank those who've had a hand in this and assure them that their efforts will be duly considered in developing a final version. I also thank our people for their patience with us in getting this implemented. We need to ensure this is done right, taking into consideration all the components that are needed to support this complex program," Rodriguez concluded.
A number of Senator Rodriguez's Bills and a Resolution was debated and passed in the latest session of the Guam Legislature this month and now await the Governor's approval.
Of significant importance is the passage of Bill 282-33.
Bill 282-33 would establish withholding assessment fee for non-resident person to capture the 4% equivalent of the Business Privilege Tax on contracts awarded by Gov Guam for professional services.
In her testimony, Guam's Public Auditor, Doris Flores Brooks said, "While the amount of potential tax collection is not known, the FY 2014 financial audit of the government of Guam excluding autonomous entities, reported GovGuam spent $159 million in contractual services. Bill 282 attempts to plug a perceived revenue leak and provides the collection mechanism to do so. It also attempts to provide parity for professional services rendered by residents of Guam who pay 4% GRT and non-residents who may not be paying."
This bill, if enacted, will help the government capture revenue that may be used toward vital services in government.
Also passed in session was Resolution 308. This Resolution was to encourage the Governor of Guam to pursue the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's inclusion of Vietnam and the Philippines to the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008, the Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program.
This resolution expresses the support of the people of Guam for inclusion to the program and encourages the governor of Guam to act on this opportunity to broaden the visitor industry with an increase from these regions.
Other Bills that passed and are awaiting the Governor's signature are:
Bill 249-33: An act to mandate the payment of compensation benefits of Animal Control Officers of the Dept. of Agriculture pursuant to P.L. 29-105.
Bill 282-33: Relative to extending the BPT exemptions for Child Care Centers and Group Child Care Homes so as to promote Early Childhood learning and development opportunities for child care facilities.