Puerto Rico’s latest laws from May and June
2016 has been a busy year for Puerto Rico’s government. Their own legislative assembly passed 64 laws so far this year. 27 of these laws have been passed in the months of May and June. Here we examine five significant laws that have been recently passed by the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico.
On May 24, 2016: Measure P S1270, Act No. 53
This law creates the “Act for the Certification of Functional Academic Skills and Pre-Employment for Students with Disabilities.” It is for students who have received services from the Special Education Department, but have not met the standards and academic requirements of the Department of Education to obtain a diploma. It helps students with intellectual and developmental disabilities earn a high school equivalent of a diploma. The Special Education and Education Department implements a curriculum designed to develop and enhance the skills as well as the competencies of each student with disabilities, through an individualized education program. It helps them obtain not just academic education, but also life skills for employment and social functioning. Once these students complete their education, they obtain the Academic Certificate, Functional Skills, and Pre-Employment Document showing that they are certified to pursue all post-school desires. This certificate grants them the same opportunities as those with high school diplomas. This bill helps individuals with disabilities transition from school to post-school including, but not limited to: postsecondary education, occupational training, integrated employment, adult education, independent living services, and participation in community. It opens up a new pathway for students with disabilities to help them achieve their dreams.
On June 7, 2016: Measure P C2076, ActT No. 57
This law is about creating a new tourist attraction that will be known as the “Gastronomic Tourism Zone.” Gastronomic Tourism is a term that includes food, restaurants, food festivals, food markets, and food sampling of exquisite varieties. It will appeal to all tourists who come to Puerto Rico looking for a taste of the Caribbean world and the experiences that come with it. It will be created in the areas of the PR-152 Highway, PR-143 Highway, and PR-152 Ramal Municipality of Barranquitas. The bill orders the Tourism Company of Puerto Rico to integrate the Gastronomic Tourism Zone to develop and plan out the attraction. The Tourism Company will then provide incentives for merchants and traders to do business with this new attraction. This bill helps has the ability to bring forth economic development and job creation.
On June 10, 2016 Measure P S0960, Act No. 58
The purpose of this law is to amend new sections into a current law created in 2004 known as Measure P C3844, Act No. 184. Originally, public corporations were excluded from Act 184 which allowed them to have their own administrative autonomy to carry out their functions. They had the power to regulate and manage their own resources, including salary. It turns out, some public corporations authorized reckless salary increases, bonuses, and concessions. This irresponsible management of public resources has caused a range of problems including: increased cost of financing public works, increase interest in loans, and accelerating maturity of some loans. This law puts a stop to this mismanagement and provides some regulations that must be followed. Some of the regulations have the ability to monitor and audit certain public corporations to make sure all rules are followed. It ensures that economic resources are used efficiently.
On June 18, 2016: Measure P C2763, Act No. 63
This law helps set up periodic funds for the ENLACE Project Corporation for Cano Martin Pena. The community of Cano Martin Pena and its neighbors are suffering an environmental disaster. Their homes, schools, and streets are being flooded repeatedly at an alarming rate. It is ruining the land and causing adverse side affects to the population. This law gives five-million dollars to the ENLACE Project Corporation each year, for 15 years. It goes into effect from the 2016-2017 fiscal year, until the 2030-2031 fiscal year. This Corporation is responsible for coordinating and implementing all aspects of the ENLACE Project including: housing development, infrastructure, dredging, channeling, urban development, socio-economic development, citizen participation, and partnerships with other public and private corporations. It is a massive plan that hopes to change the ecosystem and stabilize the region. This bill helps contribute to the funds that allow the ENLACE Project to operate and help fix the environmental tragedy.
On June 20, 2016: Measure P C0204, Act No. 64
This law removes the participation fee that makes craftsmen/artisans have to pay to be involved in the celebration of exhibitions, exhibitions in general, craft fairs, and festivals. The law forbids agencies, instrumentalities, corporations, the municipality of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and citizens who receive government funds from making craftsmen pay a fee to be involved in any type of exhibition or activity. For example, agencies that receive government funds can not charge a craftsmen a fee in order for the craftsmen to participate in the agencies event. If a corporation or any other entity does not receive government funds, then they are allowed to charge a participation fee to the craftsmen. This law helps encourage more artisans and craftsmen to expand their personal business. It also helps them to promote Puerto Rican Culture more freely.
As you can see, these five laws are very different from each other. But they are all very significant and important to the collective society of Puerto Rico.