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Lawmakers Monday morning voted to make it a crime for government officials to divert money from the island’s emergency 911 system fund.
Past transfers of funds by the administration have left the government of Guam unable to pay for upgrades to the 911 system. The bill establishes fines and a year in prison for those who knowingly transfer 911 system funds.
Senators also voted to approve larger tax breaks for Core Tech Captive Insurance, despite protests by the Guam Economic Development Authority, which argued the government should follow the original provisions of the company’s pending qualifying certificate.
If Gov. Calvo approves
If approved by Gov. Eddie Calvo, Core Tech Captive would receive a 100 percent rebate of its income taxes for 20 years instead of the 75 percent rebate stated in its pending qualifying certificate. It also would get a 100 rebate of its gross receipts taxes – a tax break not included in its qualifying certificate.
Calvo has said he will not sign off on that qualifying certificate, which was approved by GEDA more than a year ago, because of the government’s financial crisis.
Core Tech International formed the captive insurance company so it can self-insure its businesses, including Core Tech Concrete, Core Tech Micronesia, Core Tech Asset Management, Core Tech Development, Core Tech Korea, Core Tech Energy, Core Tech Capital and the Guam Daily Post.
Sens. Telena Nelson, Regine Biscoe Lee and acting Speaker Therese Terlaje voted against the Core Tech bill.
Bingo operations bill approved
Lawmakers unanimously approved a bill by Sen. Joe S. San Agustin, which eases existing regulations on bingo operations. The bill eliminates the requirement that bingo be operated only at sites owned by a non-profit organization. It also eases restrictions on who can be paid to run those operations.
They narrowly approved a bill by Sen. Tom Ada, D-Tamuning, which corrects the language in the fiscal 2019 budget law regarding the higher tax on properties valued at $1 million or more.
Gender change bill defeated
They defeated one bill Monday, by Sen. Fernando Esteves, which would have allowed people to change their gender on their birth certificate.
Sens. Tom Ada, Frank Aguon, Jr., James Espaldon, Tommy Morrison, Nelson, Joe San Agustin and Mary Torres voted against the measure, which failed 6-7.
Sen. Louise Muna, R-Yigo, was absent for all votes.
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