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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

House speaker declares special session in recess until July 25

Speaker of the House of Representatives Rafael Hernández Montañez

By The Star Staff

Speaker of the House of Representatives Rafael “Tatito” Hernández Montañez on Thursday declared a recess of the extraordinary session until July 25, assuring that the House will depend on the Senate in order to approve the measures listed by Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia in the call convening the session.

“The governor’s call does not have a single measure the House needs to deal with now,” Hernández Montañez said in a speech to the floor. “We need legislative action from the other legislative body obviously so that we can work on them.”

Hernández Montañez said the governor can make changes to the list of bills in the summons convening the extraordinary session to include measures that the House can evaluate, and which the speaker had previously asked Pierluisi to include.

Last Monday, Pierluisi called the Legislative Assembly to an extraordinary session in order for lawmakers to address the measure that seeks to create the “Law to Mitigate the Increase in the Price of Energy in Puerto Rico” and that transfers $145 million from the State Insurance Fund Corp. to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) and the Aqueduct and Sewer Authority.

The transfer would mitigate hikes in energy rates. A temporary 17% energy hike went into effect on July 1.

Hernández Montañez this week asked the governor for the inclusion in the extraordinary session of Senate Bill 813, which creates the “Fuel Price Purchase and Stabilization Office;” Senate Bill 728, which regulates the purchase of long-term fuel; and Senate Bill 818, which bans LUMA Energy and PREPA from charging customers an energy transition charge. He also asked for the inclusion of Senate Bill 525, which provides the procedure for a customer to request an adjustment on his or her utility bill, and of Senate Bill 906, which guarantees the payment of pensions to PREPA retirees.

The governor rejected the request.

According to the provisions of the Puerto Rico Constitution, a special session cannot last more than 20 days.

Hernández Montañez also scheduled for July 25 an event to commemorate and recognize the careers of former representatives.

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