In a new attempt to make possible the salary increase for the country’s judges through legislative means, the president of the Upper House, Jose Luis Dalmaupresented this Tuesday a measure that is, basically, a copy of Senate Bill 1292, which was defeated at the close of the last ordinary session.
The new day requested an interview with Dalmau to discuss Senate Bill 1400, but the legislator was not available.
Previously, the senator has said that the Judiciary of Puerto Rico “It is the worst compensated among all the states and territories of the United States of America.” This salary gap caused the departure of a considerable group of judges, he said.
Senate Bill 1292 was defeated at the close of the last session, in November, after the House of Representatives added language to grant “uniform, fair and competitive compensation” not only to judges but also to court officials. Legislative branch and the Executive.
The original version contemplated increases only for judges, which ranged between $22,164 and $29,556 annually. But, during the legislative process, the measure was amended in the House to standardize the salaries of the secretaries of the constitutional cabinet and other departments to that of a senior judge of the Court of first instance. If approved, the salaries would have been $118,133.
In the case of the governor, who currently receives a salary of $70,000 per year, he proposed increasing his salary to $154,556 per year, which is the compensation that the presiding judge of the Supreme Court, Maite Oronoz, if the legislation has been approved. Also, it sought to equate the base compensation of legislators with that of a senior judge of the Court of First Instance ($118,133).
The changes, as the president of the Chamber indicated then, Rafael “Tatito” Hernandezresponded to the fact that among the popular representatives there was no atmosphere to approve the measure, as it had been presented in the Senate.
After failing to approve legislation that would allow the distribution of $11.2 million approved by the Fiscal Oversight Board (JSF) for the granting of the salary increase, the matter was raised to the court level with the filing of two lawsuits filed – separately – by the Puerto Rican Association of the Judiciary and the judge of appeals court, Ricardo Marrero Guerrero, demanding the implementation of the benefit.
The determination was in favor of the Judiciary, but the president of the Chamber has anticipated that he will appeal the judge’s decision Anthony Cuevas –which ordered the increase to be granted– before January 16. Although he favors the increase in salaries, Hernandez insists that the distribution be made through legislative means and that, in turn, there be greater compensation for the other constitutional branches.
Senate Bill 1400 was referred to the Legal Committee.