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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Governor denounces 10-day window to sign bills into law

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi criticized the island Legislature on Monday for sending him 101 bills that had completed the legislative process in November, giving him only 10 days to evaluate them and decide whether to sign them into law or veto them.

During a legislative session, the governor has 10 days, excluding Sunday, upon transmittal to act upon a bill, or it becomes law without his/her signature. If the Legislature is not in session, the measure only becomes law if the governor signs it within 30 days. If the measure is not signed into law within 30 days, it is called a pocket veto.

The governor criticized the 10-day deadline imposed upon him.

“So, now they intend that, within 10 days, we evaluate each of those 101 measures, and I decide whether to sign or veto each,” the governor said in response to questions from the press. “To a certain extent, it is incredible that they have accumulated all these measures since November and are ignoring what our Constitution provides. Because the [Puerto Rico] Constitution establishes a process [for signing measures] when the session is in progress, and a process when the session is adjourned. And yes, it is correct, vetoes are given out of pocket without having to express the criteria that led to that decision, but that is provided for in our Constitution. They could care less … let’s leave it at that.”

He said he has a team in La Fortaleza that will do the work but that the 10-day window was onerous.

“We are going to do the work, but you can see the intention. Why 101 measures?” Pierluisi added. “I can understand what the spokesperson says, that some of them have taken a while to process, but 101! It’s outrageous.”

Senate Minority Leader Thomas Rivera Schatz stated that “[t]he numbers of the legislative assembly of the Popular Democratic Party are a shame and it has been the most unproductive legislature in the history of Puerto Rico. …”

“Once the measures are approved, there is no justification and it is contrary to the law to have them approved since November and for them not to have sent them to La Fortaleza,” he added.

The governor also said he hopes the Legislature acts soon on Joint Resolution 583, which would grant a credit to taxpayers.

The remarks were made at the end of a caucus meeting of the New Progressive Party delegations in the Senate and the House of Representatives ahead of the start of the Seventh Ordinary Session 2021-2024 of the Legislative Assembly.

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