Fortuño Favors Tripartite Status Proposal Suit Filed In Failure To Rehire Guard AAV Wont Rescind Cabinet Nominations Cities Can Impose Trash Pick-Up Sales Tax AAV Wants 25 Nominees With No Objections Confirmed, McClintock Says That 5 Others Will Be Rejected Want To Drive? Stay In School 5,100 Public Employees Will Be Laid Off
Fortuño Favors Proposal by Carlos Vizcarrondo
March 14, 2005
SAN JUAN (AP) Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuño on Monday said he favors the recommendation by Sen. Carlos Vizcarrondo, to officially form a tripartite committee that can present non-territorial status options to the federal government.
"The resident commissioner could serve to facilitate these meetings, without intending to inhibit the right of each group to free expression; we must create mechanisms that tend to work in teams," said Fortuño at his appearance before the Senate Federal, Industrial and Economic Issues Committee.
According to the commissioner, processes must be created that prevent the use of public funds in Washington, D.C., to get letters of endorsement for the Constitutional Assembly process proposed by Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vila.
About the Constitutional Assembly, he said, "this process proposal is not only antidemocratic from the point of view of each Puerto Ricans individual right to vote, but also from the point of view that it can not possibly work in the political reality in Washington."
Suit Filed In Failure To Rehire Guard
March 12, 2005
SAN JUAN -- The U.S. Justice Department has filed suit against a company in Puerto Rico for allegedly failing to rehire a soldier from the National Guard.
The lawsuit alleges that the San Juan-based International Ethical Laboratories violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act by refusing to rehire Benito Colón Ortiz, Justice Department spokesman Eric Holland said on Friday.
The 1994 act protects the rights of people who voluntarily or involuntarily leave their jobs to undertake military service.
Colón had served as a sergeant in the Army National Guard.
Governor will not rescind Cabinet nominations
March 12, 2005
SAN JUAN (AP) Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila on Friday said he will not rescind the nominations that are not getting votes to be confirmed by the Senate.
The governor said that he had not privately or publicly received legitimate reasons for the Senate opposition and he reaffirmed that his nominees were "the best talent available."
"I am not going to take back any of the nominations, and, in the name of the people of Puerto Rico, I ask the Senate to hold public hearings," he said at a press conference.
Senate President Kenneth McClintock notified Acevedo Vila by letter on Thursday that five of his nominees, including designated Justice Secretary Roberto Sanchez Ramos, would not be confirmed by the Senate.
Cities Can Impose Sales Tax, But Only To Pay For Trash Pick-Up
By José Fernández Colón
March 12, 2005
Ponce (AP) Rep. Antonio Silva Delgado, president of the House Treasury Committee, said Friday that cities can impose a sales tax, only if the money generated goes toward costs for the collection and disposal of solid waste.
The legislator was reacting to press reports that said a study on the legality of the city tax, recommended by Caguas Mayor William Miranda Marin, concluded that cities are authorized to impose the controversial tax.
"Based on the analysis we did, we think that the cities have the right to impose a city tax to increase their general fund. What was approved through the Autonomous Municipalities Law was a fee for the collection of trash. If this fee is for solid waste, they are authorized to impose it," he said.
According to Silva Delgado, the city tax will be detrimental to merchants and cities in the sale of permits, because sales will be reduced due to consumers going to other cities for their shopping. The taxs biggest proponent has been the Caguas mayor, who already approved its implementation for July.
La Fortaleza Wants 25 Nominees With No Objections To Be Confirmed
March 12, 2005
SAN JUAN (AP) Chief of Staff Aníbal Jose Torres on Friday asked senators from the New Progressive majority to confirm the remaining 25 Cabinet nominees that they have not claimed objections to.
On Thursday, Senate President Kenneth McClintock sent a letter to Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vila informing him that five of his nominees did not have the necessary votes from the NPP Senate majority to be confirmed in their posts.
"If the objection of the senators is with these five people, there is no reason to further delay the process with the other 25 who have submitted all the necessary documentation," Torres said.
Acevedo Vila, from the Popular Democratic Party, said he would not rescind the nominations rejected by McClintock: designated Justice Secretary Roberto Sanchez Ramos; Lourdes Rios, of the Office of Youth Affairs; Crisanta Gonzalez, of the panel of the Special Independent Investigator; Marta Beltran, director of the Human Resources Office; or Ivan Otero Matos, of the Cooperative Development Administration.
Of the 32 nominees to the Cabinet, only two have been confirmed: Sports and Recreation Secretary David Bernier, and Police Superintendent Pedro Toledo.
McClintock Informs Governor That 5 Nominees Will Be Rejected
March 11, 2005
SAN JUAN (AP) The Senate will not confirm five people nominated to the Cabinet by Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila, including designated Justice Secretary Roberto Sanchez Ramos, Senate President Kenneth McClintock told the governor Thursday in a letter.
McClintock sent five identical letters to Acevedo Vila, stating that the New Progressive Party (NPP) majority would not confirm Sanchez Ramos; Lourdes Rios, of the Office of Youth Affairs; Crisanta Gonzalez, of the panel of the Special Independent Investigator; Marta Beltran, director of the Human Resources Office; or Ivan Otero Matos, of the Cooperative Development Administration.
"As Senate president, I have exercised my responsibility to recognize the opinions among members of the parliamentary majority regarding this designation. The result of this effort has been a rejection of this nomination," McClintocks letters said.
Want To Drive? Stay In School
March 11, 2005
SAN JUAN -- Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá introduced legislation Thursday that would require teenagers under 18 to be in school to get driver's licenses, in a bid to lower Puerto Rico's 40 percent school drop out rate.
Puerto Ricans can get driver's licenses at 16. The proposed bill would require those between 16 and 18 to present proof that they are enrolled in school to get and retain licenses. Acevedo Vilá cited 15 states with similar laws. Acevedo Vilá said those states have reduced drop out rates by between 10 and 34 percent in the last eight years.
5,100 Public Employees Will Be Laid Off
March 11, 2005
SAN JUAN (AP) Some 5,100 temporary government employees will be laid off in the next few months, as part of a plan to reduce the commonwealths high payroll.
According to media reports, the government estimates the layoffs represent savings of approximately $90 million annually.
The affected workers will be some 4,700 temporary employees and another 450 that are in irregular positions.
Nevertheless, some workers that have the 450 irregular positions could complete three years of service before June 30, which would allow them to get regular positions and could save their jobs.
The other 4,700 workers will be laid off gradually, as their contracts expire. But after June 30 they will be out of jobs.
The plan will be made official soon by Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vila, through an executive order.
Documents indicate that the agencies most affected will be the Family Department and the Transportation and Public Works Department.