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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Ban on electricity bill changes is among a slew of measures signed into law

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia has signed a package of 16 legislative measures into law, including Senate Bill (SB) 1218, which would eliminate certain charges in the electricity bill.

Pierluisi has signed into law 55 of over 100 measures sent by the Legislature earlier this month that lawmakers had approved in the session that concluded in November.

SB 1218 immediately prohibits charging customers of the electrical energy system for administrative calculation errors or estimates, if the collection is made 120 days from issuing invoices. The provisions cover commercial, industrial, residential and institutional customers.

On health-related issues, the governor enacted SB 76, which amends the Health Insurance Administration Law and the Puerto Rico Insurance Code so that people who suffer from a chronic or high-cost illness, as defined by the Department of Health, do not need referrals from their primary doctor to treat the disease.

Meanwhile, Pierluisi also signed SB 671, which provides that every patient will have access to clinical laboratory services and specific tests without a medical order as long as the patient covers the costs.

Pierluisi also signed House Bill (HB) 1307, which makes it viable and gives legal certainty to rental housing projects for low-income families. The law also reestablishes the exemption from paying taxes on real property under the Rural Development Program that operates under the provisions of Section 8. Likewise, it establishes an exemption from paying Municipal Revenue Collection Center taxes to properties that the Housing Department manages and are assigned to homeless people and for other related purposes.

With regard to community issues, the governor signed SB 880, which establishes as a permanent fund the Special Fund for Social Equality to continue paying for public works, and to increase allocations for nonprofit and community self-management entities that offer direct services to citizens.

The governor also signed HB 1909, which sets the base salary for School Lunch Division employees at $12 per hour. Currently, the base salary is $8.66 an hour.

With the governor’s signature, SB 791, the Law for the Care of Students with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes in Public and Private School Institutions of Puerto Rico, is amended to establish additional responsibilities for school institutions and parents, guardians, or tutors of students with diabetes. The bill notes that training on diabetes knowledge will be theoretical and practical and that a pediatric endocrinologist will be responsible for writing the student’s Diabetes Medical Management Plan.

Meanwhile, Pierluisi signed into law Senate Bill 1040, which would regulate the Traffic Regulation Corps of the Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTOP) to intervene with violations related to illegal parking, as well as those connected to intelligent traffic lights and enforcing provisions related to vehicle weight and measurements.

The governor also signed House Joint Resolution 498 for the Highways and Transportation Authority and DTOP to conduct an analysis on traffic between Highway PR-19 (Luis Vigoreaux Avenue) in Guaynabo and the intersection with Highway PR-17 (Jesús T. Piñero Avenue) in San Juan, to identify viable alternatives aimed at decongesting motor vehicle traffic.

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