Debate continues over Klitzkie's Bill 1

by Sabrina Salas Matanane, KUAM News
Friday, May 20, 2005

Education dominated most of today's discussion on session floor as lawmakers continued their date on Bill 1. The proposed legislation, introduced by Senator Bob Klitzkie (R), aims to give every child the right to an adequate education in Guam's public school system.

There have already been several amendments made to this bill and although Senator Klitzkie supports amendments that he felt strengthened the bill, he says there are proposed alterations that he doesn't support. One such change would have given taxpayers a general right to sue the local government. "This bill arises under the Organic Act and it deals with public school students' rights to adequate education not to everybody in the territory having the ability to sue if they're dissatisfied with our school system," said the senator, now in his second term.

Among the amendments passed today was an amendment introduced by Senator Frank Aguon, Jr. (D). According to the senator this amendment was passed to ensure that Bill 1 does not take away from any money appropriated for the delivery of healthcare and public safety. "What I introduced today," he explained, "is to make sure that it's not misinterpreted that not only is education a priority but also healthcare as well as public safety."

Even with all of the debate on Bill 1 Speaker Mark Forbes feels that the meat of the discussion seems to be done and believes that most of the controversial amendments are already out of the way. He told KUAM News, "I don't think we're going to finish the entirety of the agenda, but then we knew that going in. We've got a substantial number of bills and the plan was only to be in session for two days then to come back on June 6."

Lawmakers finished discussion on bill one this afternoon and moved to Resolution 73, which relates to the impact of radiation exposure to Guam from nuclear weapons testing conducted in the Marshall Islands more than fifty years ago. Resolution 73 petitions the U.S. Congress to amend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990, to include Guam as a jurisdiction eligible for compensation

KUAM's Clynt Ridgell contributed to this report


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