The Penal Code once again saw two years pass in Congress

Exactly two years have passed since the legislative authorities assumed their positions and the responsibility of legislate in favor of Dominican society.

The 222 congressmen, divided into 190 deputies and 32 senators, have had 730 days to demonstrate if they had sufficient capacity to promote legislative regulations that would allow, in the first instance, to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pandemic was the first challenge for legislators. During that time, nine requests for states of emergency, starting on August 28, 2020 and ending exactly one year later.

In addition to this, during the pandemic at least five loans intended to deal with Covid-19, for a estimated amount of US$1,086,080,000a figure to which other debts approved during this period can be added, but with different purposes.

A second challenge they had was the reform of a Penal Code which is more than a century old, but the approval could never be finalized.

The Penal Code bill was debated for more than a year in special, bicameral commissions, public consultations and other spaces, however, when everything seemed to be agreed upon, the Chamber of Deputies did not get enough votes to pass a report already sanctioned by the Senate and finally the project perished.

A third challenge that also captured national attention was the Domain Forfeiture Law, approved after controversy, heated debates and both national and international pressure.

In the first sanction of the Senate he did not have the support of the opposition benches. However, a series of reforms and consensus in the Chamber of Deputies allowed its unanimous approval in both legislative bodies.

Although these three challenges captured national attention for much of these two years, this medium compiled and analyzed all the legislative initiatives approved by Congress, based on their extraction from the legislative information systems of both chambers, and detected where legislators They have put in their effort.

incomplete laws

For two years, Congress has only managed to agree to approve 41 laws, but of this number, 23 were sent by the Executive Power and one by the Supreme Court of Justice, so only 17 were initiatives of some legislator.

In addition, of this last number, eight were laws that only change the name of some street or structure, so only the remaining nine constitute pieces that can generate an impact.

Precisely from this lack of laws approved by both legislative chambers lies a problem, and it is that seen in another way, the deputies and senators have only been able to agree on 17 occasions when it comes to initiatives proposed by a legislator.

This problem is based on the fact that the Chamber of Deputies has approved some 96 bills and in the Senate more than 100 laws, however, most of these fail to materialize, being stalled when passing the chamber.

This problem has also been reflected in public conflicts, such as the National Vaccine Law, approved in the Senate, but stalled in the Chamber of Deputies, after a group of deputies argued that with this piece they wanted to force the population to “must be vaccinated”.

Similarly, there is the case of the bill that regulates sign language and the Braille System in the Dominican Republic, which has been approved at least five times in the Chamber of Deputies and upon reaching the Perimese Senate.

outstanding debts

Beyond what was done by the National Congress during these two years, in its chambers there are dozens of laws pending approval, which are limited to being sent to a commission, but never debated.

The first pending debt that the National Congress has and that is consistent with one of the unfulfilled challenges, is to achieve consensus and approval of the new Penal Code.

The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Alfredo Pacheco, mentioned this project shortly after the last legislature concluded, suggesting that they could resume the debates and actions to try to sanction the legislative piece in the remaining two years.

Also, within the legislative delay that they have in the National Congress, there are others pending, such as the reform of the Civil Code, the laws of Hydrocarbons, Purchases and Hiring, Trusts, Contentious Administrative Jurisdiction, Water, Referendum, among other initiatives.

However, although there is plenty of work, the proximity to the start of the electoral pre-campaign could be detrimental to legislative work for the next two years.

Subtracting two years, the legislators still have time to recompose themselves and face the responsibilities that are still pending.


Between the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, 655 resolutions have been approved in these two years, almost one per day, in which the legislators request, request, recommend, instruct or exhort to some first-level official to build some works or execute some action in favor of his province.

They are still valid.

Thousands of resolutions are still in force in both chambers that, in the end, have no weight, since they do not commit the officials to having to give an answer, since they are a declaratory document, because a solution is requested from an authority, but without commitment or requirement.

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