Legislature Adopts Resolution Nos. 51-34 (LS) and 52-34 (LS)

Resolution Nos. 51-34 (LS) and No. 52-34 (LS) were introduced during the March 9, 2017 session within hours after Vice Speaker Terlaje learned about the threatened lawsuit against the Chamorro Land Trust Commission (CLTC) and a day after the Davis v. Guam District Court decision was released. It was urgent that both resolutions be passed immediately given the April 7th appeal deadline for the Davis case, and the CLTC deadline of January 2017 (2 months ago). The matters discussed in Resolution Nos. 51-34 (LS) and 52-34 (LS) are complicated legal issues that will require extensive analysis and immediate decisions by the Attorney General and Governor of Guam. The resolutions were meant to show the support and solidarity of the Legislature with the Executive Branch and the AG, and in no way prevent the government of Guam from seeking other options. There were enough votes and support from the other senators during the March 9th session to pass both resolutions, but Senator Michael F.Q. San Nicolas and a couple of other senators requested that a public hearing be held. Speaker Cruz indicated that a special session would be called as soon as a public hearing was held, since the next session was not planned until after April 17th. Unfortunately, Speaker Cruz left off-island on the day of the public hearing, which was held five working days after the March 9 session.

The public hearing notice was sent out on March 9, 2017, with ample time for senators to consult with or invite interested parties to participate in the public hearing. The hearing lasted over 5 hours; only Senator San Nicolas and Vice Speaker had questions for the panel. One attorney was asked to wait for further questioning by Senator San Nicolas after the other testifiers had their turn. The attorney waited, but Senator San Nicolas left before the hearing was concluded without resuming his questions to the attorney.

The audio from the public hearing was uploaded to the Legislature website and attached to the committee report, along with all written testimony, a digest, and all other requirements per the standing rules.

The committee report was filed with the Committee on Rules but the COR Chair refused to approve it for upload to the website prior to the March 17, 2017 session. The report was made available on the session floor.

Discussion on the resolutions was halted by a motion of Senator Morrison which Vice Speaker Terlaje did not support. Senator San Nicolas left the room during the vote. Both resolutions were adopted.

These resolutions do nothing to change current Guam policy and simply convey that the Legislature supports the defense of current policies and preservation of options at this time. Nothing in this resolution prevents the pursuit of all avenues available to the government of Guam, nor prevents any senator from proposing another policy or course for the government and people of Guam.