Headed to Fortaleza: DMO bills and amendments to electoral law
SAN JUAN – With the opposition of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP), the Senate concurred during Tuesday’s session with the amendments that the House introduced to Senate Bill 300, which eliminates the option of an additional column on plebiscite ballots in an attempt to force voters to choose between the Statehood or Free Association/Independence options in the June 11 status consultation.
It also concurred with the amendments that the House introduced to Senate Bills 4 and 10, which proposes to create a destination marketing organization (DMO) and amend Act 54 against domestic violence to allow the presence of legal intercessors or support individuals during victims’ testimonies, respectively.
The three bills now go to Gov. Ricardo Rosselló for his signature.
On another note, the Senate unanimously confirmed Consumer Affairs (DACO by its Spanish acronym) Secretary Michael Pierluisi, who received praises from the three delegations and attended the session accompanied by his father, former Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi. The newly confirmed official said his commitment centers on digitalizing the agency to ensure better service to consumers.
The legislative body also confirmed Loretta Phelps de Córdova as a board member of the Visual Arts and Design School Corporation (EAP by its Spanish acronym) representing the public’s interest. This appointment was opposed by the PDP delegation in the Senate. Minority Whip Eduardo Bhatia said the opposition was in response to the process followed by La Fortaleza to handle the designation and not based on the designee’s merits.
“The director of the institution was appointed before the board of directors was… Why did Fortaleza appoint the director if there was a board of directors? … The process was [done] backward,” Bhatia said during the session, which was held for the first time at the Leopoldo Figueroa Hall.
The Senate also agreed to require food establishments to place a poster showing the process to follow in case someone is choking (Bill 76) and to study the Cyclist’s Bill of Rights and Driver’s Obligations as a requirement to obtain the student driver’s license (Senate Bill 100).
They also approved—with the opposition of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP)—an amendment to the Autonomous Municipalities Act to require the affirmative vote of an absolute majority of the members of a municipal legislature to approve donations (Senate Bill 243).
Investigation into helicopter purchase at the Health Department
The Senate approved an investigation into a helicopter purchase by the local Health Department, a matter that is also under investigation by the House. Other investigations will focus on determining the support required by Puerto Rico’s ports to enhance their development and analyzing the performance of the Metropolitan Bus Authority (AMA by its Spanish acronym).
The legislative body recessed until Thursday at 3 p.m.—when it is expected to evaluate House Bill 475, which alters the composition and remuneration of the members of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (Prepa) governing board and House Bill 741 to consolidate eight law enforcement agencies into a Department of Public Safety.