Governor vetoes Municipal Code amendment allowing towns more leeway with grid repairs
By The Star Staff
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia on Tuesday vetoed an amendment to the Municipal Code that would allow municipalities to manage energy maintenance and repairs, citing conflicts with federal efforts and Law 120 of 2018.
The governor stated his rejection of Senate Bill 484, noting its potential to hinder progress toward an energy transformation on the island.
“This legislation, despite its good intentions, clashes with the reconstruction and modernization of the electrical system that is already underway,” Pierluisi said in his communication with legislative leaders.
The governor noted that the bill could be detrimental to ongoing collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy and the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Puerto Rico’s energy modernization project. He stressed that municipalities can now form voluntary agreements to speed up the restoration of electrical service.
The governor emphasized that the legislative measure, which did not have the backing of the Puerto Rico Mayors Federation, would interfere with the crucial upgrade of the island’s electrical system, resulting in a setback for efficiency improvements already underway.
Pierluisi approved other legislative initiatives meanwhile, including one that increases the amounts of donations that mayors can grant in emergency situations, and others that facilitate improvements in the management of electronic prescriptions and vaccination processes. In addition, he signed laws that promote training in information technologies and that direct special attention to the prevention and management of strokes.
The former measure supports the government’s goal of advancing the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics, in line with the Department of Economic Development and Commerce’s 21st Century Techforce initiative, and aligns with an executive order to advance computer science and applied technologies as part of basic education. In addition, a new badge has been created for veteran police officers through an amendment to the Puerto Rico Vehicle and Traffic Law.