• The San Juan Daily Star

Governor rips House speaker for refusal to approve bills in extra session

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia on Monday blasted the speaker of the island House of Representatives, Rafael “Tatito” Hernández Montañez, for his refusal to approve legislation sent for an extraordinary session.

“I am not here to play games. I am not into petty fights. Here we all have to work,” the governor said at a press conference. “Since when is it a great sacrifice to be there [in the Capitol] working for two or three days?”

“These bills can be addressed in a matter of a couple of days if both the House and the Senate coordinate their work, but to say that they are not going to be taken up because they are not important, seems to me, to a certain extent, to be a lack of respect.”

As of press time Monday, the extraordinary session in the House and Senate had not started.

“Instead of playing to the crowd, and getting into petty fights, what you have to do is finish considering these bills and approving them -- what that should take is a couple of days,” he said.

The measures to be considered include House Bill 911, which would establish the “Law for the Prevention of Abuse and Preservation of the Family Unit,” compliance with parts B and E of Title IV of the Social Security law. It is a requirement of federal law that state law be consistent with federal regulations.

Another measure included in the list of bills for the special session is Administration Bill 51 (Senate Bill 654), which amends the Civil Code that went into effect a year ago. The upper-chamber bill establishes the norm for suspension of the statute of limitations regarding the minority of a person, and for the duration of a declared incapacity following due process in court.

On pensioner issues, Pierluisi included Administration Bill 1 (House Bill 533) to provide the mechanisms for retired workers to go back to work without impacting their pensions.

Another piece of legislation that must be evaluated in the special session is Senate Bill 45, which amends the “Law of the Department of Public Safety” of 2017 to change requirements for occupying the position of commissioner of the Emergency Management and Disaster Administration Bureau, a post currently occupied by Nino Correa Filomena.

Meanwhile, to correct legal deficiencies in the “Puerto Rico Vehicle and Traffic Law” regarding all-terrain vehicles, the list included legislation to adopt a new definition of that type of vehicle. Vehicles that are registered and have been granted a permit and license plate authorizing them to travel on public roads, highways and paved roads are exempted. Likewise with vehicles that belong to the federal or state government and authorized under the established conditions.

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