• The San Juan Daily Star

House passes bill that encourages public servants to work during an emergency

Rep. Gabriel Rodríguez Aguiló

By The Star Staff

The island House of Representatives on Monday passed House Bill 187, which creates the Law to Encourage Public Service in Emergency Events, with the purpose of establishing the cash payment for public servants, without making any discount for contributions of hours worked in excess of the legal day during an emergency declared by the governor or the U.S. president.

“Annually, our island goes through different emergency situations, such as hurricanes, earthquakes and pandemics that have caused the declaration of states of emergency by the governor of Puerto Rico or the president of the United States,” said New Progressive Party (NPP) Rep. Gabriel Rodríguez Aguiló. “That said, it is up to me to recognize and encourage the work of those public servants who, in the midst of emergencies, expose their life and safety in order to guarantee order and safety.”

Likewise, House Resolution 217 was endorsed. The bill is authored by NPP Rep. José “Memo” González Mercado and seeks to carry out an investigation into the steep increase in the cost of propane gas on the island over the past 12 months.

“The price per gallon is currently at $2.95, which is too high for many, if not all, restaurants on the island that are already affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” González Mercado said.

During the past 12 months, the price per gallon of propane gas in Puerto Rico has experienced a series of gradual, constant and unexpected increases. In February 2020 the price per unit (gallon) was around $2. It increased to about $2.45 for November of that same year. In less than a month, in December 2020, another increase was registered, raising the price to $2.70. This figure was maintained for just a few days, since at the moment the price is at $2.95.

Meanwhile, the lower chamber passed House Resolution 254 calling for a probe into the current situation and the urban and rural socioeconomic development of the municipalities that make up the northeast region of the island.

The resolution also seeks to investigate all matters related to government programs and legislative recommendations that are necessary to reach solutions to achieve the integrated and harmonious development of the region in conjunction with the services provided by municipal governments, including but not limited to, environmental development and natural resources, unemployment, housing, recreation, health, education, transportation, infrastructure, public safety, services for people with disabilities. The measure was introduced by Popular Democratic Party Rep. Ángel Matos García.

House Resolution 190 was also endorsed, which conducts an investigation on the causes of economic and social inequality, existing economic limitations and poverty in Puerto Rico, to identify alternatives aimed at creating alliances between the public sector, private and community, to determine the measures and affirmative actions of the Legislative Assembly.

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