La Fortaleza presents package of legislative measures
SAN JUAN – The administration of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló will present four bills Monday that affect government contractors, the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) and the Public Service Commission (CSP by its Spanish initials), among other agencies and sectors.
Public Affairs Secretary Ramón Rosario offered general details during a press conference on the executive branch’s new legislative measures.
Under the UPR Financial Support Act, the administration expects that the university would generate some $10 million in additional funds through several initiatives such as a commemorative vehicle license plate; special marbetes, or vehicle stickers that certify payment of the compulsory insurance and emissions test passed; and the “Donate Your Change” program. The latter seeks to reach agreements with businesses where the customer has the option of donating money to the university when paying for a product or service.
As for the commemorative plates, the UPR would receive $20 for each. Meanwhile, 50% of the revenue from fines imposed in the medical cannabis industry, would go to the educational institution.
Rosario also spoke about a bill that would impose penalties and even result in the elimination for a year from the government’s bidding registry to those contractors that do not promote gender equality. Contractors must certify that they have “adopted a gender pay equity policy and begun a process of self-evaluation of their compensation practices aimed at eliminating wage differences,” Rosario said.
Another measure seeks to “reorganize” the CSP and turn it into “an entity that regulates public transportation, which has to do with public transportation, tourism, ambulances and transportation networks,” the official said. The bill addresses much of the controversy that exists between taxi drivers and the Uber ride-hailing company.
“When [the bill] becomes law, these regulations and powers will be covered and overseen by the Public Service Commission and not [the] Tourism [Company], Health or Transportation & Public Works [DTOP by its Spanish acronym],” he added in reference to Transportation Department regulations that govern Uber’s operations in Puerto Rico.
Meanwhile, a new medical malpractice law would create a special panel to evaluate such cases when filed in court. If the panel determines “the claim has no merit, and the judge accepts that determination, the plaintiff will have to pay a bond to continue the lawsuit,” Rosario explained.
Finally, the current functions of the Office of the Municipal Affairs Commissioner’s Office (OCAM by its Spanish acronym) would be transferred to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which would be in charge of providing municipalities with advice on fiscal matters and agreements with other government entities.
“No OCAM employee is out of work,” said Rosario, who explained that the entity had already lost most of its functions with the creation of the Socioeconomic and Community Development Office.