As anticipated, the governor, Peter Pierluisitoday called the Legislative Assembly to an extraordinary session starting this coming Wednesday, July 6, in order to attend to the bill that would grant citizens relief to mitigate the rise in water and electricity services that It entered into force on July 1.
Senate Bill 931 would transfer $145 million from the State Insurance Fund Corporation (CFSE) to the Electric Power Authority (PREPA) and $20 million to the Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) to mitigate increases in services.
“The refusal of the legislative leadership to give way to this project in the Ordinary Session caused the Energy Bureau to implement an increase in the electricity bill as a consequence of the increase in the cost of fuel. However, the regulatory entity could reconsider that decision if we can provide the funds that the Electric Power Authority needs to meet these fuel costs,” he said in written expressions.
“I hope that the members of the Legislative Assembly, regardless of colors or party lines, evaluate and approve this measure in favor of the people on its merits,” Pierluisi said.
Pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of Puerto Rico, the Governor may convene the Legislative Assembly for a special session, which may not extend for more than 20 days. During the call, only the issues and measures included in the call may be considered.
the chamber president, Rafael “Tatito” Hernandezmaintained -through written statements- that they will attend the call “with the diligence and commitment that has characterized us”, but asked the governor to amend the summons and include among the issues to be considered five legislative proposals to address the energy crisis that are pending approval, a request that was rejected by the chief executive.
“The (project) that I included in the call is the one that we want to be resolved immediately. Those other projects are there, they are projects that are going to generate more debate, I don’t necessarily support those projects… and they don’t solve the immediate problem of the increase in the cost of oil. We attend to this immediate problem with the project that I included in the call”, insisted Pierluisi.
“You have to have clear priorities, the first priority has to be to vote in favor of the project that basically gives the resources to the Electric Power Authority so that, then, the Energy Bureau does not have to impose that increase in the cost of electricity”, added Pierluisi
Among those measures that Hernández requested to be included is the Senate Bill 728 to provide additional instruments to PREPA that allow it to collect delinquent debts and empower the Energy Bureau to develop regulatory processes for the purchase of fuel.
Another measure was Senate Bill 525, measure that seeks to define the instances in which a client may claim an adjustment to their bill when the electricity has not been generated by PREPA.
What the governor did include were several appointments, among which is not that of the judge Jorge Diaz Reveronthe husband of former Governor Wanda Vázquez, to a seat at the Court of Appeals.
On June 30, at the close of the legislative session, the governor once again withdrew the appointment of Díaz Reverón -which he had submitted three times- after the president of the Senate, Joseph Louis Dalmaunoticed that he still did not have the necessary votes for his confirmation.
Here the appointments submitted by the first executive:
Judges of Appeals
Hon. Jose J. Monge Gomez
Hon. Waleska I. Aldebol Mora
attorney Rodney J. Rios Medina
Hon. Juan M. Guzman Escobar
Pfamily affairs director
Lcda. Thaizza M. Rodríguez Pagan
Board of Directors of the Health Insurance Administration
Mrs. Lilliam Rodríguez Capó
Dr. Jorge Hess Riutort
Board of Directors of the Institute of Statistics
Mrs. Carola Ballester Descartes
Governing Board of the Aqueduct and Sewer Authority
attorney Hector J. Del Rio Jimenez
attorney Alberto J. Castañer Padró
attorney Ivan E. Lopez Baez
Puerto Rico Planning Board
Ms. Rebecca Rivera Torres
Mrs. Mercemar Rodríguez Santiago
Ing. Jose Diaz Diaz