Bill 52-31 COR Mtg 03/28/11

This is a break down of the actions that occurred at the meeting for the Committee on Rules on March 28, 2011, where Senator Respicio mocks the legislative process, thumbs his nose at the people of Guam, insults Senator Rodriguez, and violates the Legislative Standing Rules, the Open Government Law, and the Organic Act.

Committee on Rules Meeting, March 28, 2011 re: Bill 52-31

1. First, you will notice how "prepared" Senator Respicio is. Immediately after the request by Senator Rodriguez to place several bills on the agenda, including Bill 52-31, Respicio, ignores Senator Rodriguez and the work done by his Committee, and passes out his substitute bill.

2. He then asks for a motion to divide Rodriguez's request to place his bills on the agenda so that he can isolate Bill 52.

3. While the Standing Rules allows the Committee on Rules to amend bills before placement on the agenda, Respicio's entirely revised bill, in which all the information requirements are struck out, is not the result of any "amending" process by the Committee on Rules, but Respicio's personal premeditated effort to derail and gut Bill 52-31 and try to slip it through as a shell of the original bill.

4. It is obvious that the six Democrats who eventually vote for the "shell" know what's up because they don't even look at the Respicio's bill.

5. Respicio then requests for a motion to place his new bill on the agenda. At that moment Senator Guthertz turns to Respicio and apparently provides the motion. (The audio is too low to hear - which is why the minutes are supposed to be a written record by the way - but the motion appears to come from Guthertz in what appears to be a pre-planned move where Guthertz is following instructions.)

6. Senator Rodriguez then objects - something Respicio obviously expects. Respicio then asks "Any discussion?"

7. Senator Duenas asks for a description of what changes have been made. And here Respicio violates the Open Government law in a clearly premeditated move to deny the people of Guam access to the information we have a right to.

8. Respicio then says "there's been a request for a recess". But you can see that there was no call for a recess. Apparently Barnes was supposed to call for one but did not respond on cue as Respicio waits a moment and then turns to Barnes, who makes a small gesture towards Respicio (talk about bullying), and then Respicio says "there's been a request for a recess".

9. NOW WATCH THIS. Both Barnes and Respicio turn to the staff behind them and apparently give them a sign to cut the recording. The woman on the right of your screen immediately moves to apparently carry out Respicio's order, however, the audio gets cut before the video is turned off and you can see that Respicio is NOT taking a recess, nor is anyone leaving the table.

10. It's obvious that there was no intent to "recess", but to go off the record.  The audio gets cut, but the camera catches Respicio beginning to address the committee. At this moment a critical discussion occurs and Respicio answers the question posed by Senator Duenas.  We personally verified with Senator Rodriguez and Senator Duenas that a discussion did take place during the time the recording was turned off.

11. So the public never gets an answer to Senator Duenas' question. And since he asked the question on the record as a response to Respicio's request for a discussion, then Respicio's answer to Duenas' question MUST be part of the public record. BUT IT IS NOT. Respicio purposely shuts out the public at that point because he does not want us to see what he is doing. He obviously knows that he is in violation of the Standing Rules, and in order to cover himself, violates the Open Government law in the process.

12. The video comes back on and Respicio says "before we took a brief recess we had been discussing the matter of Bill 52-31..." Of course THERE WAS NO DISCUSSION before the recess because the discussion would have started with Senator Duenas question, upon which Respicio called for a recess. The discussion happened during the recess and the public has a right to the record of this discussion since it was an explanation, as per Duenas' question, as to the changes Respicio made to Bill 52-31.

13. Respicio calls for a vote to place his stripped version of Bill 52-31 on the agenda. The Democrats, except for Senator Rodriguez, all immediately raise their hands EVEN THOUGH they know that this same action by Respicio, only a few months ago, resulted in a veto. Such a radical commitment to abortion!!

You may also find Senator Barnes' "vote" interesting. She knows she's facing the camera. She barely raises her hand above the table. Respicio has to look at her twice. Obviously cowed by Respicio, she raises it a little higher when he looks at her again in another bullying move. How embarrassing for her.

Incredibly, according to a friend who is close to her, Barnes had stated her support for Bill 52. However, here, she is complicit not just in the destruction of the bill and the following charade, but in turning the recording off and denying the public access to information that is mandated by law to be recorded, specifically: Respicio's answer to Duenas' question and his response to Rodriguez' objection.

Why is all this important?

This goes far beyond the pro-life issue. Guam is a mess from top to bottom because of the arrogance and unaccountability of its leadership, and it is clearly on display in this little clip. Those who make the laws and who should be most responsible for upholding them, apparently hold themselves above them.

Respicio not only acts as if he is above the law, he also acts as an arrogant bully. First he bullies freshman Senator Rodriguez by completely ignoring the hard work he and his Committee did on the bill: held a public hearing, reviewed the testimony, reworked the bill to reflect some of the concerns of the public, and requested for it to be placed on the agenda.

At least 3 months of work by Senator Rodriquez was completely ignored by Respicio, who, as you can see, did not care to discuss the bill as legitimately reported out by his Committee, but simply passed out his own monstrosity, shut down the discussion, and called for a vote, in a true "screw you Rodriguez, don't you know who I am" move.

The other Democrats at the table all are well-rehearsed. They keep their heads down and say nothing except for the two women to the right and left of Respicio who perform on cue as follows: 1) Guthertz supplies the motion, 2) Barnes supplies, albeit behind cue, the request for recess. This is why they are seated at his side. Then, as shown, Respicio needs to bully Barnes a bit more when her hand is not raised high enough. Perhaps Barnes is shy about this because of how we called her out publicly on her ignorant and arrogant argument that there is no such term as an "unborn child" during the Bill 54 debate. Something we know she took some heat for.