April 9, 2020 •

Puerto Rico Delays Democratic Presidential Primary A Second Time

Puerto Rico Capitol Building

Puerto Rico delayed its Democratic presidential primary election for a second time as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The Democratic presidential primary election was originally scheduled for March 29 before Democratic Party leadership postponed the election until April 26. Then on […]

Puerto Rico delayed its Democratic presidential primary election for a second time as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The Democratic presidential primary election was originally scheduled for March 29 before Democratic Party leadership postponed the election until April 26.

Then on April 2, the Democratic presidential primary became postponed indefinitely.

However, the island’s Republican presidential primary, as well as two major local party primaries (the pro-statehood New Progressive Party and the left-leaning Popular Democratic Party) are scheduled for June 7.

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March 18, 2020 •

Puerto Rico Postpones Presidential Primary, Special Election

Puerto Rico Capitol Building

The Puerto Rico Democratic presidential primary and special election to fill the seat of former Sen. Larry Seilhamer Rodriguez will be postponed. The elections will be postponed until April 26 in response to concerns of COVID-19. Rodriguez resigned from Senate […]

The Puerto Rico Democratic presidential primary and special election to fill the seat of former Sen. Larry Seilhamer Rodriguez will be postponed.

The elections will be postponed until April 26 in response to concerns of COVID-19.

Rodriguez resigned from Senate District 5 effective January 15, citing his desire to spend more time with family.

If the emergency caused by COVID-19 continues until April 26, the president of the State Election Commission and the president of the Democratic Party in Puerto Rico may choose an alternate date.

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March 16, 2020 •

Puerto Rico Considers Unpaid Emergency Leave for Private Sector Employees

Puerto Rico Capitol Building

House legislators approved a bill to establish a new unpaid emergency leave of 20 days for employees with a suspected or actual diagnosis of a pandemic illness. House Bill 2428 seeks to amend Puerto Rico Law 180-1998. This establishes paid […]

House legislators approved a bill to establish a new unpaid emergency leave of 20 days for employees with a suspected or actual diagnosis of a pandemic illness.

House Bill 2428 seeks to amend Puerto Rico Law 180-1998.

This establishes paid sick and vacation leave benefits to some private sector employees, excluding employees classified as executives, administrators, and professionals, among others.

If the bill is enacted, employees who are sick or suspected of being sick as a result of a pandemic illness during a state of emergency must first use any accrued sick leave.

Once accrued sick leave is exhausted, employees may use accrued vacation leave to receive pay during any absence.

The bill also allows employees to use the unpaid emergency leave before using accrued vacation leave.

House Bill 2428 is before the Puerto Rico Senate for consideration.

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January 28, 2020 •

Puerto Rico Protesters Urge Governor Vázquez to Resign

Gov. Wanda Vazquez

Hundreds of demonstrators are calling for Gov. Wanda Vázquez to resign after the recent discovery of unused disaster relief supplies in a warehouse in the southern coastal city of Ponce. A video of the crowd storming the warehouse went viral, […]

Hundreds of demonstrators are calling for Gov. Wanda Vázquez to resign after the recent discovery of unused disaster relief supplies in a warehouse in the southern coastal city of Ponce.

A video of the crowd storming the warehouse went viral, leading to nationwide outrage.

Gov. Vázquez terminated several officials who were unable to provide further information she requested about other collection and distribution centers in meetings with leaders of her administration.

The protests are similar to those that escalated over the summer and led to the resignation of former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, as demonstrators are once again vowing to remain in the streets until Gov. Vázquez also steps down.

Former Gov. Rosselló was forced to step down after a report leaked that he was using public resources and services for partisan purposes and was allowing government officials and contractors to misuse public funds and time for non-government work.

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November 8, 2019 •

Senator Indicted for Corruption Charges Again

Senator and former Yauco Mayor Abel Nazario was arrested and indicted on November 6, 2019, on federal corruption charges. Nazario is accused of using money from government programs receiving federal funds to pay people to work on his senatorial campaign. […]

Senator and former Yauco Mayor Abel Nazario was arrested and indicted on November 6, 2019, on federal corruption charges.

Nazario is accused of using money from government programs receiving federal funds to pay people to work on his senatorial campaign.

Nazario, a member of the majority New Progressive Party (PNP), was previously arrested in 2018 for mandating employees work without pay.

He was later accused of withholding wages in retaliation.

Nazario maintains his innocence and is refusing to step down.

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October 16, 2019 •

Puerto Rico Department of Justice Releases Lobbyist Registry

The Puerto Rico Department of Justice released a lobbyist registry on its website, as required by Executive Order 2019-031, to establish a code of transparency for all agency heads in the executive branch. The lobbyist registry is part of an […]

The Puerto Rico Department of Justice released a lobbyist registry on its website, as required by Executive Order 2019-031, to establish a code of transparency for all agency heads in the executive branch.

The lobbyist registry is part of an automatic slideshow on the main page of the Department of Justice site.

There are two separate links: one to conduct a search in the registry and the other for lobbyists to register.

However, lobbyists have not yet been featured on the registry webpage.

The Puerto Rico Innovation and Technology Service and the Department of Justice indicated they are working to publish the content.

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September 18, 2019 •

Puerto Rico to Release First Digital Lobbyist Registry Platform

Puerto Rico Capitol Building

The Puerto Rico Department of Justice plans to launch its digital Lobbyist Registry platform this week to regulate interactions with government agencies. The launch is pursuant to former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s executive order. Executive Order 2019-031 provides that any person […]

The Puerto Rico Department of Justice plans to launch its digital Lobbyist Registry platform this week to regulate interactions with government agencies.

The launch is pursuant to former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s executive order.

Executive Order 2019-031 provides that any person who carries out any lobbying activity before a government agency must register with the Lobbyists Registry and provide a sworn statement with the clients he or she represents before the Government of Puerto Rico.

Additionally, the lobbyist must disclose the businesses in which he or she has roles in either through shares or professional service contracts.

The executive order also calls for the creation of a transparency code prohibiting all executive branch cabinet members from participating in any type of meeting with any person who engages in lobbying and not registered in the Lobbyist Registry.

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August 9, 2019 •

Supreme Court Ruling Means Third Governor for Puerto Rico in One Week

Puerto Rico Capitol Building

The Supreme Court of the territory ruled unanimously that Pedro Pierluisi’s swearing in as governor was unconstitutional and ordered him to resign by 5 p.m. Last week, then-Governor Ricardo Rosello appointed Pierluisi Secretary of State in order to assume office […]

The Supreme Court of the territory ruled unanimously that Pedro Pierluisi’s swearing in as governor was unconstitutional and ordered him to resign by 5 p.m.

Last week, then-Governor Ricardo Rosello appointed Pierluisi Secretary of State in order to assume office after Rosello’s planned resignation.

However, Pierluisi only received a confirmation vote in the House of Representatives.

This complied with a 2005 legislative amendment, but the court ruled it violated Puerto Rico’s constitution, which mandates confirmation from both of the territory’s legislative bodies.

Rosello’s Secretary of Justice Wanda Vazquez was next in line for the governorship, but said she did not want the position.

After the court’s ruling, though, Vazquez said she will assume the governorship in order to provide the island certainty and stability.

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July 25, 2019 •

Rosello to Resign

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello

Just days after vowing to complete his term, Gov. Ricardo Rosello announced he will resign on August 2. Rosello, who already was weathering accusations of embezzlement, faced widespread protests this month when the Center for Investigative Journalism published over 800 […]

Just days after vowing to complete his term, Gov. Ricardo Rosello announced he will resign on August 2.

Rosello, who already was weathering accusations of embezzlement, faced widespread protests this month when the Center for Investigative Journalism published over 800 pages from a leaked private group chat.

In the chat, Rosello used derogatory slurs about stateside politicians and institutions, joked about assassinating a political opponent, and made light of the death toll from Hurricane Maria.

Wanda Vazquez, a fellow New Progressive and the current secretary of justice, will take the governorship when Rosello leaves office.

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July 23, 2019 •

Protestors Demand Governor’s Resignation

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello

Tens of thousands of protesters marched in San Juan during a territory-wide strike to call for the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rosello. Rosello was already facing accusations of embezzlement when the Center for Investigative Journalism published over 800 pages from […]

Tens of thousands of protesters marched in San Juan during a territory-wide strike to call for the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rosello.

Rosello was already facing accusations of embezzlement when the Center for Investigative Journalism published over 800 pages from a leaked private group chat where the governor used derogatory slurs about stateside politicians and institutions, joked about assassinating a political opponent, and made light of the death toll from Hurricane Maria.

Rosello, who’s administration has received over $92 billion in federal aid, has resigned from the New Progressive Party and dropped his re-election bid; however, he is vowing to finish his current term in office.

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July 5, 2018 •

Puerto Rico Convenes Extraordinary Session

Puerto Rico’s Legislature was called into an extraordinary session July 3, 2018, to reconsider labor protections. Ricardo Rosselló and the fiscal oversight board are pushing for the repeal of the law to make Puerto Rico more attractive to outside investors. […]

Puerto Rico’s Legislature was called into an extraordinary session July 3, 2018, to reconsider labor protections.

Ricardo Rosselló and the fiscal oversight board are pushing for the repeal of the law to make Puerto Rico more attractive to outside investors.

The session is scheduled to adjourn on July 22, 2018.

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June 12, 2017 •

Puerto Ricans Vote on Issue of Statehood

Puerto Ricans went to the polls Sunday to vote on whether Puerto Rico should become America’s 51st state. Voters chose between remaining a commonwealth, becoming a state, or gaining sovereignty with an official affiliation with the United States. Critics viewed […]

Puerto Ricans went to the polls Sunday to vote on whether Puerto Rico should become America’s 51st state. Voters chose between remaining a commonwealth, becoming a state, or gaining sovereignty with an official affiliation with the United States.

Critics viewed the election as flawed, arguing the ballot language was skewed to favor the pro-statehood New Progressive Party. Ninety-seven percent of ballots cast were in favor of statehood.

However, on an island averaging roughly 80 percent voter turnout, only 23 percent of registered voters participated in Sunday’s election.

Nevertheless, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló plans to take the referendum results to Washington, D.C. and speak with Congress, the White House, and various agencies regarding admitting Puerto Rico to the union.

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March 2, 2017 •

Puerto Rican Governor Approve June Referendum

This month, Gov. Ricardo Rosello approved a nonbinding referendum to determine whether Puerto Rico will continue free association or seek statehood or independence. The referendum will be held on June 11, 2017, and will give voters the choice between statehood […]

Flag_of_Puerto_RicoThis month, Gov. Ricardo Rosello approved a nonbinding referendum to determine whether Puerto Rico will continue free association or seek statehood or independence.

The referendum will be held on June 11, 2017, and will give voters the choice between statehood and independence/free association. Previous referendums and plebiscites have given independence and free association as separate options, but the upcoming referendum lumps them together.

If a majority chooses independence/free association, a second referendum will be held in October to determine the preference between those options. If the referendum passes in favor of statehood, Puerto Rico, currently facing $70 billion in public debt, would have access to more federal funding if ultimately approved by the U.S. Congress as the 51st state.

Currently, Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens but cannot vote in presidential elections and have limited representation in Congress.

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November 9, 2016 •

Ricardo Rosselló Wins Puerto Rico Governor Race

New Progressive Party president Ricardo Roselló defeated David Brenier and two independent candidates for Puerto Rico’s highly contested gubernatorial seat. Rosselló, a college professor and scientist, ran on a platform supporting Puerto Rican statehood and pushing new ideas for economic […]

ricardo-roselloNew Progressive Party president Ricardo Roselló defeated David Brenier and two independent candidates for Puerto Rico’s highly contested gubernatorial seat. Rosselló, a college professor and scientist, ran on a platform supporting Puerto Rican statehood and pushing new ideas for economic recovery. He is the son of former Puerto Rican Governor Pedro Rosselló who also fought for statehood while in office from 1993-2001.

Puerto Rico, a commonwealth, does not have the right to vote in U.S. presidential elections nor do they have legislative representatives in the Senate.

Rosselló plans to hold elections for senators and representatives who will then go to Washington and demand statehood. This model was first followed by Tennessee who created a state constitution and presented it to Congress as a request to join the Union in 1796.

Photo of Ricardo Roselló by Edgardo Colon on Wikimedia Commons.

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