• The San Juan Daily Star

Rivera Schatz: Enabling bill’s passage rests on inclusion of 3 amendments

Sen. Thomas Rivera Schatz

By The Star Staff

New Progressive Party Sen. Thomas Rivera Schatz said Thursday that the inclusion of three amendments to House Bill 1003 will ensure there are enough votes to pass the legislation that would enable the central government’s debt deal.

“The rest of the Senate delegation met with the governor and the secretary of state and the component of legislative advisers to the governor and we had a meeting that, in my opinion, was positive,” Rivera Schatz said at a press conference. “The governor showed us his concerns, we expressed ours.”

The amendments that Rivera Schatz said must be included in the bill will ensure there are no pension cuts and would also guarantee the pensions of future retirees.

“They would vote in favor if three amendments are included: one, the provisions that establish that, if the cuts move forward, the law will be invalid,” he said. “That prevents cuts to pensions; the part that talks about future freezes is eliminated, and the repeal of the severability clause is included.”

The severability clause states that if the court invalidates a portion of the bill, the rest remains in force.

“If they declare [unconstitutional] one [part] in particular, the law is invalid,” he said. “That way they wouldn’t have the discretion to seek some subterfuge.”

“The governor agreed with us and we are going to speak with the president of the Senate to express it to him,” Rivera Schatz said.

He gave assurances that Senate President José Luis Dalmau Santiago has five senators from the Popular Democratic Party who will vote against HB 1003.

“If that is achieved there would be the votes, if not, then it would be necessary to continue talking until an alternative is found,” Rivera Schatz said.

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