Should senators bind future governors from depriving freedoms in public health emergencies ahead?

Senators next week will hear public testimony on legislation by Sen. Chris Duenas that will limit the governor’s powers accorded to her (or him) in the local Emergency Health Powers Act.

The Act, instituted two decades ago, is where Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero derived her authority during the latest pandemic to declare a public health emergency, and endow herself with special powers. Among the powers she used included the shut down of churches, the designation of clinics, and the calling of the militia to establish checkpoints on roadways. She also threatened to seize private property, which the current law allows.

From now until the public hearing on April 11 at 3 p.m. at the Guam Congress Building (except from Thursday through Monday, when Kandit will be closed in observance of Holy Week), we will present information from this legislation.

The first series of changes to the law proposed in this bill reads as follows:

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