Several measures remain on the table as legislative sessions close



The country’s budget, two retirement projects, a measure that would increase the future pensions of police, fire and correctional officers, the Municipal Code and the new Condominium Law are on the list of measures to be discussed in conference committees ahead of the closing of the last regular session of the quadrennium on Tuesday.

Conference committees allow legislative bodies to settle differences around a measure that has been approved in the Senate o la Camera, but to which one of the bodies introduced changes.

The spokesman for the majority in the Senate, Carmelo Rios, and the president of the House of Representatives, Carlos “Johnny” MéndezThey listed some of these pieces of legislation whose process could not be completed on Thursday night, when the Senate closed its session at 8:00 pm and the House at 11:30 pm

Precisely, that early closure of the Senate, according to sources, was caused by the already inevitable scenario that the governor Wanda Vázquez Garced It will convene an extraordinary session in which it will include measures it has promised to address the relationship of insurance companies with patients.

Also, it would include legislation that was pending in one of the legislative bodies such as the distribution of $ 18 million in legislative donations, an injection of $ 536 million to the Emergency Fund and the project that creates the new Retirement Law of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR).

Measures like the latter have been contested, in the past few days, by the Fiscal Supervision Board (JSF) for its alleged fiscal impact.

The JSF has also objected to the proposed Decent Retirement Law and the incentive retirement project. These two will form part of the conference committees, Ríos said.

“The ‘issue’ here, the dynamic, is to show the Board that they are necessary projects and that the money is there,” said Ríos. Regarding the budget, which underwent amendments in the Senate, Ríos said that they will defend those changes because “they better serve the purpose of what Puerto Rico needs.”

Some of those amendments to the budget, in the Senate, caused discomfort, in figures such as Méndez because cuts were made to allocations for his representative district, El Nuevo Día learned.

Asked what measures he would like to see in an extraordinary session, Méndez mentioned the allocation of $ 536 million and the legislative donations project.

The Senate and the House will not meet again until Monday, when they will begin to announce the projects in which they concur in terms of their language and in which a conference committee will be necessary.

The exact date of the extraordinary session remains uncertain, but, sources of this newspaper assure that there is concern among the side that supports Pedro Pierluisi in the race for governance in the New Progressive Party (PNP) to what would be an attempt by his rival, the governor, to keep them busy on legislation and prevent them from campaigning with their candidate.

This extraordinary session anticipates the inclusion of the project that places the functions of the Health Insurance Administration within the Department of Health. This merger was recorded within the budget approved by the Chamber. Likewise, some measure that would make the privatization of WIPR-TV feasible would be included, be it the one that La Fortaleza established and that was not attended by the Legislature or a variation. Méndez has said that he could favor a channel concession to a non-profit entity, but that the ownership of the station remains in the hands of the government.

A project that is in limbo is the one that orders an increase in the minimum wage in the private sector to $ 8.50 and another measure that increases the number of minimum accumulative vacation days in private companies. Both cases would only be considered if they were included in the extraordinary.

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