Sunday, December 15, 2019

Senate Concludes Special Session with 18 Appointments, Four Bills Passed

By on December 28, 2016

The Senate approved Wednesday 18 appointments and four bills included by governor Alejandro García Padilla in the convocation to the fifth special session, among them a bill to ban the collection of service charges on purchase receipts if services are nonexistent or not susceptible of being corroborated (S.B. 1557).

The Puerto Rico Capitol in San Juan (CB photo/Luis J. Valentín)

The Puerto Rico Capitol in San Juan (CB photo/Luis J. Valentín)

However, after concluding the special session in both legislative chambers, the Legislature left 12 of the 18 bills unattended, as well as the appointment of Rolando Torres Carrión, former treasurer for García Padilla and the Popular Democratic Party (PDP), as deputy electoral comptroller.

Among the measures that were left unattended are a reduction on penalties for minimum possession of marijuana, a bill to fortify the poultry industry as well as the registration of the brand Pollo Picú, amendments to the Wildlife Act, and a bill that would place Spanish as the first official language and English as the second.

Another appointment rejected by the Senate was the designation of attorney Claudia Juan García as superior court judge.

During the eight hours of session, the Senate also approved two additional bills (H.B. 3024 and H.B. 3025), which seek to amend the Internal Revenue Code to exempt the collection of contributions to the Association and Federation of Mayors and to establish that all goods purchased on military stores from the National Guard are exempt from taxes, respectively.

Past 4:00 p.m., the Senate considered two appointments included by the governor in a last minute second amendment to the convocation of the session. These included the appointment of the director of the Senate Finance Committee, José Orta, as superior court judge and attorney Gretchen Camacho as prosecutor VI.

Both Orta and Camacho were included in the original convocation to the fifth special session. Orta was recommended to hold a position as assistant prosecutor IV, while Camacho was confirmed last week as assistant prosecutor III.

Emmalind García and Rafael Ortiz Carrión were also appointed as alternate members to the Independent Special Prosecutor’s Panel (PFEI), an action that revived the controversy that took place earlier in the week in the House for approving designations with only 24 votes, when the majority of the House is 26 of 51 representatives.

Another 14 appointments to judges, prosecutors and board members were considered, as well as a resolution to assign money to Villalba.

Three additional resolutions were considered, the first to designate the Center for Fiscal Analysis and Innovation (CLAFI, in Spanish) under the name of Miguel Hernández Agosto. Another resolution sought to designate the Senate Conference Room in the Tropical Medicine Building under the name of “Dr. Antonio Fernós Isern Ideas Exchange Center”. The third resolution asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow the stay of synchronized AM boosters used by WAPA/WISO radio stations.

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