The San Juan Daily Star
Call made for proposed amendments to PR Constitution
By John McPhaul
The deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, José “Conny” Varela, called on the people of Puerto Rico on Monday to present their proposals for amendments to the island Constitution and express their arguments and why they should be considered.
“By this means we are calling on all civic, professional, and academic organizations, political movements and citizens in general to submit to us, from now until the end of March 2022, their ideas or substantiated proposals for possible amendments to the Constitution, in order of importance,” Varela said at a press conference. “With this information, we will evaluate their feasibility in order to approve the necessary legislation to carry out a referendum on the preferences of the people.”
The Puerto Rico Constitution, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, has not been amended since 1970, when the voting age was lowered to 18 years.
“For the benefit of citizens, we have created a portal on the [lower] chamber’s official website, with the following address: camara.pr.gov/constitucion/. In that portal, those interested will be able to participate in a brief survey on the possible proposals for constitutional amendments that have emerged so far and write in a space provided any other proposal that should be considered,” the Caguas lawmaker said. “For those less inclined to technology, we will also be receiving the input of your recommendations through the traditional methods of receiving drafts, in person, by mail or at the following email address: email@example.com.”
Varela added that a process of public hearings will be opened to evaluate those proposals in which the greatest interest and priority are shown. As part of that process, experts in the field of constitutional law will be summoned and forums will be held throughout the island to make the discussion more accessible to the people.
“Although our Constitution is solid and has served us well, it is important to assess possible changes in light of the social, economic and political developments of these past 70 years,” Varela said. “The Committee for the Evaluation of Constitutional Amendments, which I chair, wants to open the space for a calm and deep discussion, which allows our Constitution to continue being a useful tool for the Puerto Rico of the future.”