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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Speaker: House to vote on budget June 6

Speaker of the House of Representatives Rafael Hernández Montañez

By The Star Staff

Speaker of the House of Representatives Rafael Hernández Montañez announced Tuesday that on June 6, lawmakers will vote on the island government’s budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.

He also said the last day to pass bills for the current session is June 25.

The House on Tuesday approved House Resolution 971 to investigate the findings in recent police operations of about 100 vacant public housing apartments being used for drug trafficking operations.

“This legislative body must monitor compliance with the laws and safeguard the safety of its constituents,” said Rep. Ángel Bulerín Ramos, who authored the measure. “Therefore, it is necessary and worthy to investigate this matter of high public interest and request the pertinent information to ensure that corrective actions are taken that contribute to guaranteeing and improving the quality of life of citizens.”

The bill’s preamble highlights that during January of this year, and as part of the Puerto Rico Police Bureau (NPPR) offensive against violence and drug trafficking, a sizable simultaneous operation was carried out at three public housing facilities in the municipality of San Juan. The mega-operation was conducted in the Jardines del Paraíso, Las Dalias and Monte Hatillo areas, which resulted in a dozen arrests.

Meanwhile, the House passed House Bill 1546, which creates the Bill of Rights for Victims of Domestic Violence.

“Domestic violence is a manifestation of discrimination contrary to the provisions of our Constitution, and with this bill, we would take a great step forward in protecting surviving victims of this serious situation that afflicts society,” Rep. Wanda del Valle Correa said.

According to NPPR statistics, for the year 2020, the Early Intervention System, Domestic Violence Module reported 6,540 incidents. In addition, the Office of the Women’s Advocate reported some 6,725 incidents for the year 2019 and 6,603 for 2020.

Likewise, the House voted to investigate the existing protocols for addressing cases of gender violence and complaints filed against NPPR agents.

“We recognize that the working conditions of police officers are precarious and more resources are needed so that we have an optimal police force to work effectively,” said Popular Democratic Party Rep. Jocelyn Rodríguez Negrón, who chairs the Women’s Affairs Committee in the lower chamber.

The investigation seeks to find the system’s current failures, solve them, and provide the necessary resources so that the agents have professional help to deal with the pressure their work implies.

“It is a priority that processes are identified in time to avoid future misfortunes,” Rodríguez Negrón emphasized.

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