Puerto Rico governor calls legislature for special session
Slated for Monday, to address gov’t transparency, funding for nonprofits
SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló called for a special session slated to begin Monday, July 8, so lawmakers can address several measures that were not passed during the 28th Legislative Session, which ended June 30.
At a press conference, where he signed Executive Order 032-2019 to create the Puerto Rico Government Civic Innovation Program, Rosselló said he also convened the session for senators to confirm his appointment of Treasury Designate Secretary Francisco Parés, who was designated to head to the Treasury Department after June 30.
“The measures that will be included in the special session have already been discussed with the Legislative Assembly leaders and are all very close of culminating the legislative process,” Rosselló said. “I appreciate the availability of the House speaker, Senate president and other lawmakers and their commitment to address these important measures that will bring positive results in our credibility with the federal government, and for the nonprofit organizations that do so much for Puerto Rico.”
House Bill 2112, which would create the General Services Administration law, will be one of the measures to be discussed in the special session. The measure seeks to transform government procurement to become “transparent, centralized and uniform.”
In addition, it seeks to reduce bureaucracy by eliminating hundreds of regulations while seeking lower purchase costs to ensure the “best use of public funds.”
Senate Bill 280, which would lower the excise tax on craft beer production to foster the development of the microbrewery industry will also be considered during the session.
Furthermore, the governor asked lawmakers to also address Joint House Bill 514, the so-called Legislative Donations measure, which allocates some $20 million to nonprofit organizations through the Joint Legislative Donations Committee.
According to Article III, section 10, of the Puerto Rico Constitution, special sessions can last up to 20 days, thus should not extend past July 27.
Meanwhile, although the Weapons Act was passed by both legislative chambers, Rosselló said that he will not be enacting it.
“I will not sign anything that makes it feasible to obtain weapons more easily…. I will veto it,” he said. “I am waiting for it to arrive at my desk and I will evaluate it, but this is a philosophical position based on that giving easier access to weapons is not beneficial to our society.”