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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Senator files bill to create Inclusive Recreation Law

Migdalia González Arroyo together with the senator Héctor Santiago Torres filed again the Senate Bill 1253.

By John McPhaul

The senator of the Mayagüez /Aguadilla District, Migdalia González Arroyo together with the senator of the District of Guayama, Héctor Santiago Torres filed again the Senate Bill 1253 that seeks to create the Inclusive Recreation Law so that all public parks must be prepared to receive people with functional diversity.

“This measure is intended to amend subsection (g) of Article 19 of Law 8-2004, as amended, known as the Organic Law of the Department of Recreation and Sports. It also seeks to install, identify and label recreational facilities for people with functional diversity, “ said in a written statement the Alternate Spokesperson of the Popular Democratic Party delegation in the upper house.

“It is of the utmost importance that our children with functional diversity have an equitable quality of life and recreation and that differences do not survive that make them different from their peers. If we break down physical barriers and bet on inclusion, we can facilitate the full social development of children and thus know the meaning of sharing, respect, inclusion, mutual help and fun for all, “said Senator González Arroyo.

According to Census data, 20% of the Puerto Rican population has some type of disability.

Law 8-2004, as amended, establishes in Article 19 that the Department of Recreation and Sports “must have in each municipality of Puerto Rico a park without barriers for the enjoyment of people with physical disabilities. This park must be enabled with all the necessary facilities so that the population with disabilities can enjoy recreational and sports activities. In pursuit of the above responsibility, the Secretary of the Agency shall establish a five-year plan to comply with the construction of a barrier-free park in each municipality.”

The measure that had been filed on July 8, 2022, that sought to create the law, received an express veto from the governor on May 16, 2023, but in he turn promised to sign the new piece of legislation as soon as legislative language was corrected to include the Ombudsman for People with Disabilities.

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