Monday, January 28, 2013

Puerto Rico: Ruling PPD Proposes Bill Prescribing Fines If Puerto Rican Flag Not Flown with That of US

Carlos Hernandez López, a legislator of Puerto Rico's ruling Popular Democratic Party (PPD) has introduced a bill in the US territory's House of Representatives that would bar raising the United States flag unless the Puerto Rican flag is raised at the same time.

The proposed bill, introduced on Friday (January 25) by the Majority Speaker, includes a first article that would “prohibit the raising of the United States flag in the absence of the flag of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico by an agency of any of the three branches of government.”

The second article states that any agency or government employee that violates said prohibition “will be guilty of administrative misdemeanor and will be fined no less that $100 and no more than $500.”

COMMENT: Considering that US federal law entitles all citizens of Puerto Rico to US passports, it seems logical to assume that the US flag would have priority, as it does in the 50 states, yet it appears that the Congressman is wanting to "make a political statement."

No doubt, the Majority Speaker's intent is to draw attention to the island's Commonwealth status, which accords it a certain amount of autonomy, even though US law has precedence.

It should also be noted that the PPD, which won the November 7 election, prefers that Puerto Rico continue as a US territory, although there are legal challenges over recent polls to that effect.

The success or failure of the law will be updated as new information becomes available.