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Legislature to extend Moratorium Act with replacement measure

By on January 23, 2017

fortaleza-meeting-rossello-mendez-schatz

From left, House Speaker Carlos ‘Johnny’ Méndez, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz and La Fortaleza Public Affairs Secretary Ramón Rosario (Via La Fortaleza)

SAN JUAN – A bill to be presented by Gov. Ricardo Rosselló this week to extend and replace the Emergency Moratorium & Financial Rehabilitation Act to avoid a lack of cash flow in February “has the support of the House and the Senate.”

Following a meeting between the governor and the legislative leadership in La Fortaleza, Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz said the measure would be approved “expeditiously,” because “we are in perfect harmony with the governor.”

The moratorium law, which allowed for the default in more than $2.3 billion in debt service payments since mid-2016, expires Jan. 31. The specific way in which the legislation would be extended has not been detailed.

During the meeting of legislative leaders with the governor, the amendments that will be included in the bill that turns the government into a single employer (House Bill 454) were also discussed.

La Fortaleza’s secretary of Public Affairs, Ramón Rosario, said at a press conference that the benefits that public employees currently enjoy will be transferred if their entities were converted into public-private partnerships (PPPs).

“There are some salary rights that those employees have that…are going to be retained no matter where they go. If they go to the private sector, they will have the rights they had,” Rosario said of one of the amendments that will be proposed by the union sector, which opposes the concept of the government as a single employer.

For his part, the Senate president  insisted that the measure will protect the jobs of public servants.

The single employer bill is currently being discussed at public hearings held in the House, where an amendment has already been announced to ensure that employee benefits are guaranteed, as well as collective-bargaining agreements, another request from the labor union sector, which was not considered when drafting the measure.

Despite addressing the bill quickly, it is yet to be known when it could be approved, as the chairman of the House Labor Affairs Committee, Ángel Peña, said more public hearings to receive input from all parties will be held this week.

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