November 16, 2020 •

Puerto Rico House Representative Néstor Alonso Vega Resigns

Puerto Rico Capitol Building

Puerto Rico Capitol Building

Rep. Néstor Alonso Vega of the Puerto Rico New Progressive Party resigned from his seat in the Puerto Rico House of Representatives on November 10. Vega, who held an at-large seat in the chamber, had been arrested and indicted for […]

Rep. Néstor Alonso Vega of the Puerto Rico New Progressive Party resigned from his seat in the Puerto Rico House of Representatives on November 10.

Vega, who held an at-large seat in the chamber, had been arrested and indicted for allegedly increasing an employee’s salary to receive half of the increase in return.

Vega had recently won re-election to his seat on November 3. He is the third member of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives to resign after being arrested and charged with corruption this year, after María Charbonier Laureano and Nelson Del Valle Colón.

The Puerto Rico House of Representatives is the lower chamber of Puerto Rico’s bicameral legislature. All 51 of Puerto Rico’s House seats were up for election on November 3.

Special elections to fill the vacant seats have not yet been announced.

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November 9, 2020 •

Puerto Rico Elects Pedro Pierluisi as Governor

Puerto Rico Capitol Building

Puerto Rico Capitol Building

Pedro Pierluisi of Puerto Rico’s pro-statehood New Progressive Party won a majority of votes to become the U.S. territory’s next governor, according to official results released in the late evening on November 7. With 100% of precincts reporting, Pierluisi received […]

Pedro Pierluisi of Puerto Rico’s pro-statehood New Progressive Party won a majority of votes to become the U.S. territory’s next governor, according to official results released in the late evening on November 7.

With 100% of precincts reporting, Pierluisi received nearly 33% of votes compared with nearly 32% obtained by Carlos Delgado of the Popular Democratic Party, which supports the current territorial status.

The results come four days after Puerto Rico held general elections, an unusual delay blamed on a record number of early and absentee votes that overwhelmed officials.

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November 4, 2020 •

Puerto Rico Awaits Final Results in Tight Gubernatorial Race

Puerto Rico Capitol Building

Puerto Rico Capitol Building

Voters across Puerto Rico await final results on November 4 following elections that saw long lines and produced a tight gubernatorial race. Candidate Pedro Pierluisi holds a slight lead over Carlos Delgado Altieri and several other candidates in the race […]

Voters across Puerto Rico await final results on November 4 following elections that saw long lines and produced a tight gubernatorial race.

Candidate Pedro Pierluisi holds a slight lead over Carlos Delgado Altieri and several other candidates in the race for governor.

Pierluisi, the candidate for the pro-statehood New Progressive Party, is the territory’s former non-voting representative in Congress.

He also briefly served as governor following huge street protests last year that led to the resignation of former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.

Rosselló was forced out of office in August 2019 amid mass street protests and corruption allegations.

His successor, Wanda Vázquez Garced, battled the pandemic and earthquakes until Pierluisi won the gubernatorial primary earlier this year.

Pierluisi also trailed gubernatorial opponents Juan Dalmau of the Puerto Rican Independence Party, Alexandra Lúgaro of Citizen Victory Movement, César Vázquez of the Dignity Project, and independent candidate Eliezer Molina.

With more than 95% of the votes counted, Pierluisi leads Altieri 32.40% to 31.36%.

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April 9, 2020 •

Puerto Rico Delays Democratic Presidential Primary A Second Time

Puerto Rico Capitol Building

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. Democratic Party leadership postponed the election until April 26. Then on April […]

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.

Democratic Party leadership postponed the election until April 26.

Then on April 2, the Democratic presidential primary was 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

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

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

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

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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