Constitucion_PR

Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

We, the peo­ple of Puer­to Rico, in order to orga­nize our­selves polit­i­cal­ly on a ful­ly demo­c­ra­t­ic basis, to pro­mote the gen­er­al wel­fare, and to secure for our­selves and our pos­ter­i­ty the com­plete enjoy­ment of human rights, plac­ing our trust in Almighty God, do ordain and estab­lish this Con­sti­tu­tion for the com­mon­wealth which, in the exer­cise of our nat­ur­al rights, we now cre­ate with­in our union with the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca.

In so doing, we declare:

The demo­c­ra­t­ic sys­tem is fun­da­men­tal to the life of the Puer­to Rican com­mu­ni­ty;

We under­stand that the demo­c­ra­t­ic sys­tem of gov­ern­ment is one in which the will of the peo­ple is the source of pub­lic pow­er, the polit­i­cal order is sub­or­di­nate to the rights of man, and the free par­tic­i­pa­tion of the cit­i­zen in col­lec­tive deci­sions is assured;

We con­sid­er as deter­min­ing fac­tors in our life our cit­i­zen­ship of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca and our aspi­ra­tion con­tin­u­al­ly to enrich our demo­c­ra­t­ic her­itage in the indi­vid­ual and col­lec­tive enjoy­ment of its rights and priv­i­leges; our loy­al­ty to the prin­ci­ples of the Fed­er­al Con­sti­tu­tion; the co-exis­tence in Puer­to Rico of the two great cul­tures of the Amer­i­can Hemi­sphere; our fer­vor for edu­ca­tion; our faith in jus­tice; our devo­tion to the coura­geous, indus­tri­ous, and peace­ful way of life; our fideli­ty to indi­vid­ual human val­ues above and beyond social posi­tion, racial dif­fer­ences, and eco­nom­ic inter­ests; and our hope for a bet­ter world based on these prin­ci­ples.

ARTICLE I
THE COMMONWEALTH

Sec­tion 1. The Com­mon­wealth of Puer­to Rico is here­by con­sti­tut­ed. Its polit­i­cal pow­er emanates from the peo­ple and shall be exer­cised in accor­dance with their will, with­in the terms of the com­pact agreed upon between the peo­ple of Puer­to Rico and the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca.

Sec­tion 2. The gov­ern­ment of the Com­mon­wealth of Puer­to Rico shall be repub­li­can in form and its leg­isla­tive, judi­cial and exec­u­tive branch­es as estab­lished by this Con­sti­tu­tion shall be equal­ly sub­or­di­nate to the sov­er­eign­ty of the peo­ple of Puer­to Rico.

Sec­tion 3. The polit­i­cal author­i­ty of the Com­mon­wealth of Puer­to Rico shall extend to the Island of Puer­to Rico and to the adja­cent islands with­in its juris­dic­tion.

Sec­tion 4. The seat of the gov­ern­ment shall be the city of San Juan.

ARTICLE II
BILL OF RIGHTS

Sec­tion 1. The dig­ni­ty of the human being is invi­o­lable. All men are equal before the law. No dis­crim­i­na­tion shall be made on account of race, col­or, sex, birth, social ori­gin or con­di­tion, or polit­i­cal or reli­gious ideas. Both the laws and the sys­tem of pub­lic edu­ca­tion shall embody these prin­ci­ples of essen­tial human equal­i­ty.

Sec­tion 2. The laws shall guar­an­tee the expres­sion of the will of the peo­ple by means of equal, direct and secret uni­ver­sal suf­frage and shall pro­tect the cit­i­zen against any coer­cion in the exer­cise of the elec­toral fran­chise.

Sec­tion 3. No law shall be made respect­ing an estab­lish­ment of reli­gion or pro­hibit­ing the free exer­cise there­of. There shall be com­plete sep­a­ra­tion of church and state.

Sec­tion 4. No law shall be made abridg­ing the free­dom of speech or of the press, or the right of the peo­ple peace­ably to assem­ble and to peti­tion the gov­ern­ment for a redress of griev­ances.

Sec­tion 5. Every per­son has the right to an edu­ca­tion which shall be direct­ed to the full devel­op­ment of the human per­son­al­i­ty and to the strength­en­ing of respect for human rights and fun­da­men­tal free­doms. There shall be a sys­tem of free and whol­ly non-sec­tar­i­an pub­lic edu­ca­tion. Instruc­tion in the ele­men­tary and sec­ondary schools shall be free and shall be com­pul­so­ry in the ele­men­tary schools to the extent per­mit­ted by the facil­i­ties of the state. No pub­lic prop­er­ty or pub­lic funds shall be used for the sup­port of schools or edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions oth­er than those of the state. Noth­ing con­tained in this pro­vi­sion shall pre­vent the state from furnishing.to any child non-edu­ca­tion­al ser­vices estab­lished by law for the pro­tec­tion or wel­fare of chil­dren.*

* By Res­o­lu­tion num­ber 34, approved by the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Con­ven­tion and rat­i­fied in the Ref­er­en­dum held on Novem­ber 4, 1952, sec­tion 5 of arti­cle II was amend­ed, adding to such sec­tion the fol­low­ing dec­la­ra­tion: “Com­pul­so­ry atten­dance at ele­men­tary pub­lic schools to the extent per­mit­ted by the facil­i­ties of the state as here­in pro­vid­ed shall not be con­strued as applic­a­ble to those who receive ele­men­tary edu­ca­tion in schools estab­lished under non-gov­ern­men­tal aus­pices.”

Sec­tion 6. Per­sons may join with each oth­er and orga­nize freely for any law­ful pur­pose, except in mil­i­tary or qua­si-mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tions.

Sec­tion 7. The right to life, lib­er­ty and the enjoy­ment of prop­er­ty is rec­og­nized as a fun­da­men­tal right of man. The death penal­ty shall not exist. No per­son shall be deprived of his lib­er­ty or prop­er­ty with­out due process of law. No per­son in Puer­to Rico shall be denied the equal pro­tec­tion of the laws. No laws impair­ing the oblig­a­tion of con­tracts shall be enact­ed. A min­i­mum amount of prop­er­ty and pos­ses­sions shall be exempt from attach­ment as pro­vid­ed by law.

Sec­tion 8. Every per­son has the right to the pro­tec­tion of law against abu­sive attacks on his hon­or, rep­u­ta­tion and pri­vate or fam­i­ly life.

Sec­tion 9. Pri­vate prop­er­ty shall not be tak­en or dam­aged for pub­lic use except upon pay­ment of just com­pen­sa­tion and in the man­ner pro­vid­ed by law. No law shall be enact­ed autho­riz­ing con­dem­na­tion of print­ing press­es, machin­ery or mate­r­i­al devot­ed to pub­li­ca­tions of any kind. The build­ings in which these objects are locat­ed may be con­demned only after a judi­cial find­ing of pub­lic con­ve­nience and neces­si­ty pur­suant to pro­ce­dure that shall be pro­vid­ed by law, and may be tak­en before such aju­di­cial find­ing only when there is placed at the dis­po­si­tion of the pub­li­ca­tion an ade­quate site in which it can be installed and con­tin­ue to oper­ate for a rea­son­able time.

Sec­tion 10. The right of the peo­ple to be secure in their per­sons, hous­es, papers and effects against unrea­son­able search­es and seizures shall not be vio­lat­ed.

Wire-tap­ping is pro­hib­it­ed.

No war­rant for arrest or search and seizure shall issue except by judi­cial author­i­ty and only upon prob­a­ble cause sup­port­ed by oath or affir­ma­tion, and par­tic­u­lar­ly describ­ing the place to be searched and the per­sons to be arrest­ed or the things to be seized.

Evi­dence obtained in vio­la­tion of this sec­tion shall be inad­mis­si­ble in the courts.

Sec­tion 11. In all crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tions, the accused shall enjoy the right to have a speedy and pub­lic tri­al, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accu­sa­tion and to have a copy there­of, to be con­front­ed with the wit­ness­es against him, to have assis­tance of coun­sel, and to be pre­sumed inno­cent.

In all pros­e­cu­tions for a felony the accused shall have the right of tri­al by an impar­tial jury com­posed of twelve res­i­dents of the dis­trict, who may ren­der their ver­dict by a major­i­ty vote which in no case may be less than nine.

No per­son shall be com­pelled in any crim­i­nal case to be a wit­ness against him­self and the fail­ure of the accused to tes­ti­fy may be nei­ther tak­en into con­sid­er­a­tion nor com­ment­ed upon against him.

No per­son shall be twice put in jeop­ardy of pun­ish­ment for the same offense.

Before con­vic­tion every accused shall be enti­tled to be admit­ted to bail.

Incar­cer­a­tion pri­or to tri­al shall not exceed six months nor shall bail or fines be exces­sive. No per­son shall be impris­oned for debt.

Sec­tion 12. Nei­ther slav­ery nor invol­un­tary servi­tude shall exist except in the lat­ter case as a pun­ish­ment for crime after the accused has been duly con­vict­ed. Cru­el and unusu­al pun­ish­ments shall not be inflict­ed. Sus­pen­sion of civ­il rights includ­ing the right to vote shall cease upon ser­vice of the term of impris­on­ment imposed.

No ex post fac­to law or bill of attain­der shall be passed.

Sec­tion 13. The writ of habeas cor­pus shall be grant­ed with­out delay and free of costs. The priv­i­lege of the writ of habeas cor­pus shall not be sus­pend­ed, unless the pub­lic safe­ty requires it in case of rebel­lion, insur­rec­tion or inva­sion. Only the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly shall have the pow­er to sus­pend the priv­i­lege of the writ of habeas cor­pus and the laws reg­u­lat­ing its issuance. The mil­i­tary author­i­ty shall always be sub­or­di­nate to civ­il author­i­ty.

Sec­tion 14. No titles of nobil­i­ty or oth­er hered­i­tary hon­ors shall be grant­ed. No offi­cer or employ­ee of the Com­mon­wealth shall accept gifts, dona­tions, dec­o­ra­tions or offices from any for­eign coun­try or offi­cer with­out pri­or autho­riza­tion by the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly.

Sec­tion 15. The employ­ment of chil­dren less than four­teen years of age in any occu­pa­tion which is prej­u­di­cial to their health or morals or which places them in jeop­ardy of life or limb is pro­hib­it­ed.

No child less than six­teen years of age shall be kept in cus­tody in a jail or pen­i­ten­tiary.

Sec­tion 16. The right of every employ­ee to choose his occu­pa­tion freely and to resign there­from is rec­og­nized, as is his right to equal pay for equal work, to a rea­son­able min­i­mum salary, to pro­tec­tion against risks to his health or per­son in his work or employ­ment, and to an ordi­nary-work­day which shall not exceed eight hours. An employ­ee may work in excess of this dai­ly lim­it only if he is paid extra com­pen­sa­tion as pro­vid­ed by law, at a rate nev­er less than one and one-half times the reg­u­lar rate at which he is employed.

Sec­tion 17. Per­sons employed by pri­vate busi­ness­es, enter­pris­es and indi­vid­ual employ­ers and by agen­cies or instru­men­tal­i­ties of the gov­ern­ment oper­at­ing as pri­vate busi­ness­es or enter­pris­es, shall have the right to orga­nize and to bar­gain col­lec­tive­ly with their employ­ers through rep­re­sen­ta­tives of their own free choos­ing in order to pro­mote their wel­fare.

Sec­tion 18. In order to assure their right to orga­nize and to bar­gain col­lec­tive­ly, per­sons employed by pri­vate busi­ness­es, enter­pris­es and indi­vid­ual employ­ers and by agen­cies, enter­pris­es and indi­vid­ual employ­ers and by agen­cies or instru­men­tal­i­ties of the gov­ern­ment oper­at­ing as pri­vate busi­ness­es or enter­pris­es, in their direct rela­tions with their own employ­ers shall have the right to strike, to pick­et and to engage in oth­er legal con­cert­ed activ­i­ties.

Noth­ing here­in con­tained shall impair the author­i­ty of the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly to enact laws to deal with grave emer­gen­cies that clear­ly imper­il the pub­lic health or safe­ty or essen­tial pub­lic ser­vices.

Sec­tion 19. The fore­go­ing enu­mer­a­tion of rights shall not be con­strued restric­tive­ly nor does it con­tem­plate the exclu­sion of oth­er rights not specif­i­cal­ly men­tioned which belong to the peo­ple in a democ­ra­cy. The pow­er of the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly to enact laws for the pro­tec­tion of the life, health and gen­er­al wel­fare of the peo­ple shall like­wise not be con­strued restric­tive­ly.

* Sec­tion 20. The Com­mon­wealth also rec­og­nizes the exis­tence of the fol­low­ing human rights:

The right of every per­son to receive free ele­men­tary and sec­ondary edu­ca­tion.

The right of every per­son to obtain work.

The right of every per­son to a stan­dard of liv­ing ade­quate for the health and well-being of him­self and of his fam­i­ly, and espe­cial­ly to food, cloth­ing, hous­ing and med­ical care and nec­es­sary social ser­vices.

The right of every per­son to social pro­tec­tion in the event of unem­ploy­ment, sick­ness, old age or dis­abil­i­ty.

The right of moth­er­hood and child­hood to spe­cial care and assis­tance.

The rights set forth in this sec­tion are close­ly con­nect­ed with the pro­gres­sive devel­op­ment of the econ­o­my of the Com­mon­wealth and require, for their full effec­tive­ness, suf­fi­cient resources and an agri­cul­tur­al and indus­tri­al devel­op­ment not yet attained by the Puer­to Rican com­mu­ni­ty.

In the light of their duty to achieve the full lib­er­ty of the cit­i­zen, the peo­ple and the gov­ern­ment of Puer­to Rico shall do every­thing in their pow­er to pro­mote the great­est pos­si­ble expan­sion of the sys­tem of pro­duc­tion, to assure the fairest dis­tri­b­u­tion of eco­nom­ic out­put, and to obtain the max­i­mum under­stand­ing between indi­vid­ual ini­tia­tive and col­lec­tive coöper­a­tion. The exec­u­tive and judi­cial branch­es shall bear in mind this duty and shall con­strue the laws that tend to ful­fill it in the most favor­able man­ner pos­si­ble.

* By Res­o­lu­tion num­ber 34, approved by the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Con­ven­tion and rat­i­fied in the Ref­er­en­dum held on Novem­ber 4, 1962, sec­tion 20 of arti­cle II was elim­i­nat­ed.

ARTICLE III
THE LEGISLATURE

Sec­tion 1. The leg­isla­tive pow­er shall be vest­ed in a Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly, which shall con­sist of two hous­es, the Sen­ate and the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, whose mem­bers shall be elect­ed by direct vote at each gen­er­al elec­tion.

Sec­tion 2, The Sen­ate shall be com­posed of twen­ty-sev­en Sen­a­tors and the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of fifty-one Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, except as these num­bers may be increased.in accor­dance with the pro­vi­sions of Sec­tion 7 of this Arti­cle.

Sec­tion 3. For the pur­pose of elec­tion of mem­bers of the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly, Puer­to Rico shall be divid­ed into eight sen­a­to­r­i­al dis­tricts and forty rep­re­sen­ta­tive dis­tricts. Each sen­a­to­r­i­al dis­trict shall elect two Sen­a­tors and each rep­re­sen­ta­tive dis­trict one Rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

There shall also be eleven Sen­a­tors and eleven Rep­re­sen­ta­tives elect­ed at large. No elec­tor may vote for more than one can­di­date for Sen­a­tor at Large or for more than one can­di­date for Rep­re­sen­ta­tive at Large.

Sec­tion 4. In the first and sub­se­quent elec­tions under this Con­sti­tu­tion the divi­sion of sen­a­to­r­i­al and rep­re­sen­ta­tive dis­tricts as pro­vid­ed in Arti­cle VIII shall be in effect. After each decen­ni­al cen­sus begin­ning with the year 1960, said divi­sion shall be revised by a Board com­posed of the Chief Jus­tice of the Supreme Court as Chair­man and of two addi­tion­al mem­bers appoint­ed by the Gov­er­nor with the advice and con­sent of the Sen­ate. The two addi­tion­al mem­bers shall not belong to the same polit­i­cal par­ty. Any revi­sion shall main­tain the num­ber of sen­a­to­r­i­al and rep­re­sen­ta­tive dis­tricts here cre­at­ed, which shall be com­posed of con­tigu­ous and com­pact ter­ri­to­ry and shall be orga­nized, inso­far as prac­ti­ca­ble, upon the basis of pop­u­la­tion and means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Each sen­a­to­r­i­al dis­trict shall always include five rep­re­sen­ta­tive dis­tricts.

The deci­sions of the Board shall be made by major­i­ty vote and shall take effect in the gen­er­al elec­tions next fol­low­ing each revi­sion. The Board shall cease to exist after the com­ple­tion of each revi­sion.

Sec­tion 5. No per­son shall be a mem­ber of the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly unless he is able to read and write the Span­ish or Eng­lish lan­guage and unless he is a cit­i­zen of the Unit­ed States and of Puer­to Rico and has resided in Puer­to Rico at least two years imme­di­ate­ly pri­or to the date of his elec­tion or appoint­ment. No per­son shall be a mem­ber of the Sen­ate who is not over thir­ty years of age, and no per­son shall be a mem­ber of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives who is not over twen­ty-five years of age.

Sec­tion 6. No per­son shall be eli­gi­ble to elec­tion or appoint­ment as Sen­a­tor or Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for a dis­trict unless he has resided there­in at least one year imme­di­ate­ly pri­or to his elec­tion or appoint­ment. When there is more than one rep­re­sen­ta­tive dis­trict in a munic­i­pal­i­ty, res­i­dence in the munic­i­pal­i­ty shall sat­is­fy this require­ment.

Sec­tion 7. If in a gen­er­al elec­tion more than two-thirds of the mem­bers of either house are elect­ed from one polit­i­cal par­ty or from a sin­gle tick­et, as both are defined by law, the num­ber of mem­bers shall be increased in the fol­low­ing cas­es:

(a) If the par­ty or tick­et which elect­ed more than two-thirds of the mem­bers of either or both hous­es shall have obtained less than two-thirds of the total num­ber of votes cast for the office of Gov­er­nor, the num­ber of mem­bers of the Sen­ate or of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives or of both bod­ies, whichev­er may be the case, shall be increased by declar­ing elect­ed a suf­fi­cient num­ber of can­di­dates of the minor­i­ty par­ty or par­ties to bring the total num­ber of mem­bers of the minor­i­ty par­ty or par­ties to nine in the Sen­ate and to sev­en­teen in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. When there is more than one minor­i­ty par­ty, said addi­tion­al mem­bers shall be declared elect­ed from among the can­di­dates of each minor­i­ty par­ty in the pro­por­tion that the num­ber of votes cast for the can­di­date of each of said par­ties for the office of Gov­er­nor bears to the total num­ber of votes cast for the can­di­dates of all the minor­i­ty par­ties for the office of Gov­er­nor.

When one or more minor­i­ty par­ties shall have obtained rep­re­sen­ta­tion in a pro­por­tion equal to or greater than the pro­por­tion of votes received by their respec­tive can­di­dates for Gov­er­nor, such par­ty or par­ties shall not be enti­tled to addi­tion­al mem­bers until the rep­re­sen­ta­tion estab­lished for each of the oth­er minor­i­ty par­ties under these pro­vi­sions shall have been com­plet­ed.

(b) If the par­ty or tick­et which elect­ed more than two-thirds of the mem­bers of either or both hous­es shall have obtained more than two-thirds of the total num­ber of votes cast for the office of Gov­er­nor, and one or more minor­i­ty par­ties shall not have elect­ed the num­ber of mem­bers in the Sen­ate or in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives or in both hous­es, whichev­er may be the case, which cor­re­sponds to the pro­por­tion of votes cast by each of them for the office of Gov­er­nor, such addi­tion­al num­ber of their can­di­dates shall be declared elect­ed as is nec­es­sary in order to com­plete said pro­por­tion as near­ly as pos­si­ble, but the num­ber of Sen­a­tors of all the minor­i­ty par­ties shall nev­er, under this pro­vi­sion, be more than nine or that of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives more than sev­en­teen.

In order to select addi­tion­al mem­bers of the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly from a minor­i­ty par­ty in accor­dance with these pro­vi­sions, its can­di­dates at large who have not been elect­ed shall be the first to be declared elect­ed in the order of the votes that they have obtained, and there­after its dis­trict can­di­dates who; not hav­ing been elect­ed, have obtained in their respec­tive dis­tricts the high­est pro­por­tion of the total num­ber of votes cast as com­pared to the pro­por­tion of votes cast in favor of oth­er can­di­dates of the same par­ty not elect­ed to an equal office in the oth­er dis­tricts.

The addi­tion­al Sen­a­tors and Rep­re­sen­ta­tives whose elec­tion is declared under this sec­tion shall be con­sid­ered for all pur­pos­es as Sen­a­tors at Large or Rep­re­sen­ta­tives at Large.

The mea­sures nec­es­sary to imple­ment these guar­an­tees, the method of adju­di­cat­ing frac­tions that may result from the appli­ca­tion of the rules con­tained in this sec­tion, and the min­i­mum num­ber of votes that a minor­i­ty par­ty must cast in favor of its can­di­date for Gov­er­nor in order to have the right to the rep­re­sen­ta­tion pro­vid­ed here­in shall be deter­mined by the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly.

Sec­tion 8. The term of office of Sen­a­tors and Rep­re­sen­ta­tives shall begin on the sec­ond day of Jan­u­ary imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing the date of the gen­er­al elec­tion in which they shall have been elect­ed. If, pri­or to the fif­teen months imme­di­ate­ly pre­ced­ing the date of the next gen­er­al elec­tion, a vacan­cy occurs in the office of Sen­a­tor or Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for a dis­trict, the Gov­er­nor shall call a spe­cial elec­tion in said dis­trict with­in thir­ty days fol­low­ing the date on which the vacan­cy occurs. This elec­tion shall be held not lat­er than nine­ty days after the call, and the per­son elect­ed shall hold office for the rest of the unex­pired term of his pre­de­ces­sor. When said vacan­cy occurs dur­ing a leg­isla­tive ses­sion, or when the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly or the Sen­ate has been called for a date pri­or to the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the results of the spe­cial elec­tion, the pre­sid­ing offi­cer of the appro­pri­ate house shall fill said vacan­cy by appoint­ing the per­son rec­om­mend­ed by the cen­tral com­mit­tee of the polit­i­cal par­ty of which his pre­de­ces­sor in office was a mem­ber. Such per­son shall hold the office until cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the elec­tion of the can­di­date who was elect­ed. When the vacan­cy occurs with­in fif­teen months pri­or to a gen­er­al elec­tion, or when it occurs in the office of a Sen­a­tor at Large or a Rep­re­sen­ta­tive at Large, the pre­sid­ing offi­cer of the appro­pri­ate house shall fill it, upon the rec­om­men­da­tion of the polit­i­cal par­ty of which the pre­vi­ous hold­er of the office was a mem­ber, by appoint­ing a per­son select­ed in the same man­ner as that in which his pre­de­ces­sor was select­ed. A vacan­cy in the office of a Sen­a­tor at Large or a Rep­re­sen­ta­tive at Large elect­ed as an inde­pen­dent can­di­date shall be filled by an elec­tion in all dis­tricts.

Sec­tion 9. Each house shall be the sole judge of the elec­tion, returns and qual­i­fi­ca­tions of its mem­bers; shall choose its own offi­cers; shall adopt rules for its own pro­ceed­ings appro­pri­ate to leg­isla­tive bod­ies; and, with the con­cur­rence of three-fourths of the total num­ber of mem­bers of which it is com­posed, may expel any mem­ber for the caus­es estab­lished in Sec­tion 21 of this Arti­cle, autho­riz­ing impeach­ments. The Sen­ate shall elect a Pres­i­dent and the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives a Speak­er from among their respec­tive mem­bers.

Sec­tion 10. The Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly shall be deemed a con­tin­u­ous body dur­ing the term for which its mem­bers are elect­ed and shall meet in reg­u­lar ses­sion each year com­menc­ing on the sec­ond Mon­day in Jan­u­ary. The dura­tion of reg­u­lar ses­sions and the peri­ods of time for intro­duc­tion and con­sid­er­a­tion of bills shall be pre­scribed by law. When the Gov­er­nor calls the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly into spe­cial ses­sion it may con­sid­er only those mat­ters spec­i­fied in the call or in any spe­cial mes­sage sent to it by him dur­ing the ses­sion. No spe­cial ses­sion shall con­tin­ue longer than twen­ty cal­en­dar days.

Sec­tion 11. The ses­sions of each house shall be open.

Sec­tion 12. A major­i­ty of the total num­ber of mem­bers of which each house is com­posed shall con­sti­tute a quo­rum, but a small­er num­ber may adjourn from day to day and shall have author­i­ty to com­pel the atten­dance of absent mem­bers.

Sec­tion 13. The two hous­es shall meet in the capi­tol of Puer­to Rico and nei­ther of them may adjourn for more than three con­sec­u­tive days with­out the con­sent of the oth­er.

Sec­tion 14. No mem­ber of the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly shall be arrest­ed while the house of which he is a mem­ber is in ses­sion, or dur­ing the fif­teen days before or after such ses­sion, except for trea­son, felony or breach of the peace. The mem­bers of the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly shall not be ques­tioned in any oth­er place for any speech, debate or vote in either house or in any com­mit­tee.

Sec­tion 15. No Sen­a­tor or Rep­re­sen­ta­tive may, dur­ing the term for which he was elect­ed or cho­sen, be appoint­ed to any civ­il office in the Gov­ern­ment of Puer­to Rico, its munic­i­pal­i­ties or instru­men­tal­i­ties, which shall have been cre­at­ed or the salary of which shall have been increased dur­ing said term. No per­son may hold office in the Gov­ern­ment of Puer­to Rico, its munic­i­pal­i­ties or instru­men­tal­i­ties and be a Sen­a­tor or Rep­re­sen­ta­tive at the same time. These pro­vi­sions shall not pre­vent a mem­ber of the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly from being des­ig­nat­ed to per­form func­tions ad hon­orem.

Sec­tion 16. The Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly shall have the pow­er to cre­ate, con­sol­i­date or reor­ga­nize exec­u­tive depart­ments and to define their func­tions.

Sec­tion 17. No bill shall become a law unless it has been print­ed, read, referred to a com­mit­tee and returned there­from with a writ­ten report, but either house may dis­charge a com­mit­tee from the study and report of any bill and pro­ceed to the con­sid­er­a­tion there­of. Each house shall keep a jour­nal of its pro­ceed­ings and of the vot­ers cast for and against bills. The leg­isla­tive pro­ceed­ings shall be pub­lished in a dai­ly record in the form deter­mined by law. Every bill, except gen­er­al appro­pri­a­tion bills, shall be con­fined to one sub­ject, which shall be clear­ly expressed in its title, and any part of an act whose sub­ject has not been expressed in the title shall be void. The gen­er­al appro­pri­a­tion act shall con­tain only appro­pri­a­tions and rules for their dis­burse­ment. No bill shall be amend­ed in a man­ner that changes its orig­i­nal pur­pose or incor­po­rates mat­ters extra­ne­ous to it.

In amend­ing any arti­cle or sec­tion of a law, said arti­cle or sec­tion shall be pro­mul­gat­ed in its entire­ty as amend­ed. All bills for rais­ing rev­enue shall orig­i­nate in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, but the Sen­ate may pro­pose or con­cur with amend­ments as on oth­er bills,

Sec­tion 18. The sub­jects which may be dealt with by means of joint res­o­lu­tion shall be deter­mined by law, but every joint res­o­lu­tion shall fol­low the same leg­isla­tive process as that of a bill.

Sec­tion 19. Every bill which is approved by a major­i­ty of the total num­ber of mem­bers of which each house is com­posed shall be sub­mit­ted to the Gov­er­nor and shall become law if he signs it or if he does not return it, with his objec­tions, to the house in which it orig­i­nat­ed with­in ten days (Sun­days except­ed) count­ed from the date on which he shall have received it.

When the Gov­er­nor returns a bill the house that receives it shall enter his objec­tions on its jour­nal and both hous­es may recon­sid­er it. If approved by two-thirds of the total num­ber of mem­bers of which each house is com­posed, said bill shall become law.

If the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly adjourns sine die before the Gov­er­nor has act­ed on a bill that has been pre­sent­ed to him less than ten days before, he is relieved of the oblig­a­tion of return­ing it with his objec­tions and the bill shall become law only if the Gov­er­nor signs it with­in thir­ty days after receiv­ing it.

Every final pas­sage or recon­sid­er­a­tion of a bill shall be by a roll-call vote.

Sec­tion 20. In approv­ing any appro­pri­a­tion bill that con­tains more than one item, the Gov­er­nor may elim­i­nate one or more of such items or reduce their amounts, at the same time reduc­ing the total amounts involved.

Sec­tion 21. The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives shall have exclu­sive pow­er to ini­ti­ate impeach­ment pro­ceed­ings and, with the con­cur­rence of two-thirds of the total num­ber of mem­bers of which it is com­posed, to bring an indict­ment. The Sen­ate shall have exclu­sive pow­er to try and to decide impeach­ment cas­es, and in meet­ing for such pur­pos­es the Sen­a­tors shall act in the name of the peo­ple and under oath or affir­ma­tion. No judg­ment of con­vic­tion in an impeach­ment tri­al shall be pro­nounced with­out the con­cur­rence of three-fourths of the total num­ber of mem­bers of which the Sen­ate is com­posed, and the judg­ment shall be lim­it­ed to removal from office. The per­son impeached, how­ev­er, may be liable and sub­ject to indict­ment, tri­al, judg­ment and pun­ish­ment accord­ing to law. The caus­es of impeach­ment shall be trea­son, bribery, oth­er felonies, and mis­de­meanors involv­ing moral turpi­tude. The Chief Jus­tice of the Supreme Court shall pre­side at the impeach­ment tri­al of the Gov­er­nor.

The two hous­es may con­duct impeach­ment pro­ceed­ings in their reg­u­lar or spe­cial ses­sions. The pre­sid­ing offi­cers of the two hous­es, upon writ­ten request of two-thirds of the total num­ber of mem­bers of which the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives is com­posed, must con­vene them to deal with such pro­ceed­ings.

Sec­tion 22. The Gov­er­nor shall appoint a Con­troller with the advice and con­sent of a major­i­ty of the total num­ber of mem­bers of which each house is com­posed. The Con­troller shall meet the require­ments pre­scribed by law and shall hold office for a term of ten years and until his suc­ces­sor has been appoint­ed and qual­i­fies. The Con­troller shall audit all the rev­enues, accounts and expen­di­tures of the Com­mon­wealth, of its agen­cies and instru­men­tal­i­ties and of its munic­i­pal­i­ties, in order to deter­mine whether they have been made in accor­dance with law. He shall ren­der annu­al reports and any spe­cial reports that may be required of him by the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly or by the Gov­er­nor.

In the per­for­mance of his duties the Con­troller shall be autho­rized to admin­is­ter oaths, take evi­dence and com­pel under pain of con­tempt, the atten­dance of wit­ness­es and the pro­duc­tion of books, let­ters, doc­u­ments, papers, records and all oth­er arti­cles deemed essen­tial to a full under­stand­ing of the mat­ter under inves­ti­ga­tion.

The Con­troller may be removed for the caus­es and pur­suant to the pro­ce­dure estab­lished in the pre­ced­ing sec­tion.

ARTICLE IV
THE EXECUTIVE

Sec­tion 1. The exec­u­tive pow­er shall be vest­ed in a Gov­er­nor, who shall be elect­ed by direct vote in each gen­er­al elec­tion.

Sec­tion 2. The Gov­er­nor shall hold office for the term of four years from the sec­ond day of Jan­u­ary of the year fol­low­ing his elec­tion and until his suc­ces­sor has been elect­ed and qual­i­fies. He shall reside in Puer­to Rico and main­tain his office in its cap­i­tal city.

Sec­tion 3. No per­son shall be Gov­er­nor unless, on the date of the elec­tion, he is at least thir­ty-five years of age, and is and has been dur­ing the pre­ced­ing five years a cit­i­zen of the Unit­ed States and a cit­i­zen and bona fide res­i­dent of Puer­to Rico.

Sec­tion 4. The Gov­er­nor shall exe­cute the laws and cause them to be exe­cut­ed.

He shall call the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly or the Sen­ate into spe­cial ses­sion when in his judg­ment the pub­lic inter­est so requires.

He shall appoint, in the man­ner pre­scribed by this Con­sti­tu­tion or by law, all offi­cers whose appoint­ment he is autho­rized to make. He shall have the pow­er to make appoint­ments while the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly is not in ses­sion. Any such appoint­ments that require the advice and con­sent of the Sen­ate or of both hous­es shall expire at the end of the next reg­u­lar ses­sion.

He shall be the com­man­der-in-chief of the mili­tia.

He shall have the pow­er to call out the mili­tia and sum­mon the posse comi­ta­tus in order to pre­vent or sup­press rebel­lion, inva­sion or any seri­ous dis­tur­bance of the pub­lic peace.

He shall have the pow­er to pro­claim mar­tial law when the pub­lic safe­ty requires it in case of rebel­lion or inva­sion or immi­nent dan­ger there­of. The Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly shall meet forth­with on their own ini­tia­tive to rat­i­fy or revoke the procla­ma­tion.

He shall have the pow­er to sus­pend the exe­cu­tion of sen­tences in crim­i­nal cas­es and to grant par­dons, com­mu­ta­tions of pun­ish­ment, and total or par­tial remis­sions of fines and for­fei­tures for crimes com­mit­ted in vio­la­tion of the laws of Puer­to Rico. This pow­er shall not extend to cas­es of impeach­ment.

He shall approve or dis­ap­prove in accor­dance with this Con­sti­tu­tion the joint res­o­lu­tions and bills passed by the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly.

He shall present to the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly, at the begin­ning of each reg­u­lar ses­sion, a mes­sage con­cern­ing the affairs of the Com­mon­wealth and a report con­cern­ing the state of the Trea­sury of Puer­to Rico and the pro­posed expen­di­tures for the ensu­ing fis­cal year. Said report shall con­tain the infor­ma­tion nec­es­sary for the for­mu­la­tion of a pro­gram of leg­is­la­tion.

He shall exer­cise the oth­er pow­ers and func­tions and dis­charge the oth­er duties assigned to him by this Con­sti­tu­tion or by law.

Sec­tion 5. For the pur­pose of exer­cis­ing exec­u­tive pow­er, the Gov­er­nor shall be assist­ed by Sec­re­taries whom he shall appoint with the advice and con­sent of the Sen­ate. The appoint­ment of the Sec­re­tary of State shall in addi­tion require the advice and con­sent of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, and the per­son appoint­ed shall ful­fill the require­ments estab­lished in Sec­tion 3 of this arti­cle. The Sec­re­taries shall col­lec­tive­ly con­sti­tute the Governor’s advi­so­ry coun­cil, which shall be des­ig­nat­ed as the Coun­cil of Sec­re­taries.

Sec­tion 6. With­out prej­u­dice to the pow­er of the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly to cre­ate, reor­ga­nize and con­sol­i­date exec­u­tive depart­ments and to define their func­tions, the fol­low­ing depart­ments are here­by estab­lished: State, Jus­tice, Edu­ca­tion, Health, Trea­sury, Labor, Agri­cul­ture and Com­merce, and Pub­lic Works. Each of these exec­u­tive depart­ments shall be head­ed by a Sec­re­tary.

Sec­tion 7. When a vacan­cy occurs in the office of Gov­er­nor, caused by death, res­ig­na­tion, removal, total and per­ma­nent inca­pac­i­ty, or any oth­er absolute dis­abil­i­ty, said office shall devolve upon the Sec­re­tary of State, who shall hold it for the rest of the term and until a new Gov­er­nor has been elect­ed and qual­i­fies. In the event that vacan­cies exist at the same time in both the office of Gov­er­nor and that of Sec­re­tary of State, the law shall pro­vide which of the Sec­re­taries shall serve as Gov­er­nor.

Sec­tion 8. When for any rea­son the Gov­er­nor is tem­porar­i­ly unable to per­form his func­tions, the Sec­re­tary of State shall sub­sti­tute for him dur­ing the peri­od he is unable to serve. If for any rea­son the Sec­re­tary of State is not avail­able, the Sec­re­tary deter­mined by law shall tem­porar­i­ly hold the office of Gov­er­nor.

Sec­tion 9. If the Gov­er­nor-elect shall not have qual­i­fied or if he has qual­i­fied and a per­ma­nent vacan­cy occurs in the office of Gov­er­nor before he shall have appoint­ed a Sec­re­tary of State, or before said Sec­re­tary, hav­ing been appoint­ed, shall have qual­i­fied, the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly just elect­ed, upon con­ven­ing for its first reg­u­lar ses­sion, shall elect, by a major­i­ty of the total num­ber of mem­bers of which each house is com­posed, a Gov­er­nor who shall hold office until his suc­ces­sor is elect­ed in the next gen­er­al elec­tion and qual­i­fies.

Sec­tion 10. The Gov­er­nor may be removed for the caus­es and pur­suant to the pro­ce­dure estab­lished in Sec­tion 21 of Arti­cle III of this Con­sti­tu­tion.

ARTICLE V
THE JUDICIARY

Sec­tion 1. The judi­cial pow­er of Puer­to Rico shall be vest­ed in a Supreme Court, and in such oth­er courts as may be estab­lished by law.

Sec­tion 2. The courts of Puer­to Rico shall con­sti­tute a uni­fied judi­cial sys­tem for pur­pos­es of juris­dic­tion, oper­a­tion and admin­is­tra­tion. The Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly may cre­ate and abol­ish courts, except for the Supreme Court, in a man­ner not incon­sis­tent with this Con­sti­tu­tion, and shall deter­mine the venue and orga­ni­za­tion of the courts.

Sec­tion 3. The Supreme Court shall be the court of last resort in Puer­to Rico and shall be com­posed of a Chief Jus­tice and four Asso­ciate Jus­tices. The num­ber of Jus­tices may be changed only by law upon request of the Supreme Court.

Sec­tion 4. The Supreme Court shall sit, in accor­dance with rules adopt­ed by it, as a full court or in divi­sions com­posed of not less than three Jus­tices. No law shall be held uncon­sti­tu­tion­al except by a major­i­ty of the total num­ber of Jus­tices of which the Court is com­posed in accor­dance with this Con­sti­tu­tion or with law. [As amend­ed in Gen­er­al Elec­tion of Nov. 8, 1960.)

Sec­tion 5. The Supreme Court, any of its divi­sions, or any of its Jus­tices may hear in the first instance peti­tions for habeas cor­pus and any oth­er caus­es and pro­ceed­ings as deter­mined by law.

Sec­tion 6. The Supreme Court shall adopt for the courts rules of evi­dence and of civ­il and crim­i­nal pro­ce­dure which shall not abridge, enlarge or mod­i­fy the sub­stan­tive rights of the par­ties. The rules thus adopt­ed shall be sub­mit­ted to the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly at the begin­ning of its next reg­u­lar ses­sion and shall not go into effect until six­ty days after the close of said ses­sion, unless dis­ap­proved by the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly, which shall have the pow­er both at said ses­sion and sub­se­quent­ly to amend, repeal or sup­ple­ment any of said rules by a spe­cif­ic law to that effect.

Sec­tion 7. The Supreme Court shall adopt rules for the admin­is­tra­tion of the courts. These rules shall be sub­ject to the laws con­cern­ing pro­cure­ment, per­son­nel, audit and appro­pri­a­tion of funds, and oth­er laws which apply gen­er­al­ly to all branch­es of the gov­ern­ment. The Chief Jus­tice shall direct the admin­is­tra­tion of the courts and shall appoint an admin­is­tra­tive direc­tor who shall hold office at the will of the Chief Jus­tice.

Sec­tion 8. Judges shall be appoint­ed by the Gov­er­nor with the advice and con­sent of the Sen­ate. Jus­tices of the Supreme Court shall not assume office until after con­fir­ma­tion by the Sen­ate and shall hold their offices dur­ing good behav­ior. The terms of office of the oth­er judges shall be fixed by law and shall not be less than that fixed for the terms of office of a judge of the same or equiv­a­lent cat­e­go­ry exist­ing when this Con­sti­tu­tion takes effect. The oth­er offi­cials and employ­ees of the courts shall be appoint­ed in the man­ner pro­vid­ed by law.

Sec­tion 9. No per­son shall be appoint­ed a Jus­tice of the Supreme Court unless he is a cit­i­zen of the Unit­ed States and of Puer­to Rico, shall have been admit­ted to the prac­tice of law in Puer­to Rico at least ten years pri­or to his appoint­ment, and shall have resided in Puer­to Rico at least five years imme­di­ate­ly pri­or there­to.

Sec­tion 10. The· Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly shall estab­lish a retire­ment sys­tem for judges. Retire­ment shall be com­pul­so­ry at the age of sev­en­ty years.

Sec­tion 11. Jus­tices of the Supreme Court may be removed for the caus­es and pur­suant to the pro­ce­dure estab­lished in Sec­tion 21 of Arti­cle III of this Con­sti­tu­tion. Judges of the oth­er courts may be removed by the Supreme Court for the caus­es and pur­suant to the pro­ce­dure pro­vid­ed by law.

Sec­tion 12. No judge shall make a direct or indi­rect finan­cial con­tri­bu­tion to any polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tion or par­ty, or hold any exec­u­tive office there­in, or par­tic­i­pate in a polit­i­cal cam­paign of any kind, or be a can­di­date for an elec­tive pub­lic office unless he has resigned his judi­cial office at least six months Pri­or to his nom­i­na­tion.

Sec­tion 13. In the event that a court or any of its divi­sions or sec­tions is changed or abol­ished by law, the per­son hold­ing a post of judge there­in shall con­tin­ue to hold it dur­ing the rest of the term for which he was appoint­ed and shall per­form the judi­cial func­tions assigned to him by the Chief Jus­tice of the Supreme Court.

Puerto Rico Punishing Politicians

ARTICLE VI
GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sec­tion 1. The Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly shall have the pow­er to cre­ate, abol­ish, con­sol­i­date and reor­ga­nize munic­i­pal­i­ties; to change their ter­ri­to­r­i­al lim­its; to deter­mine their orga­ni­za­tion and func­tions; and to autho­rize them to devel­op pro­grams for the gen­er­al wel­fare and to cre­ate any agen­cies nec­es­sary for that pur­pose.

No law abol­ish­ing or con­sol­i­dat­ing munic­i­pal­i­ties shall take effect until rat­i­fied in a ref­er­en­dum by a major­i­ty of the qual­i­fied elec­tors vot­ing in said ref­er­en­dum in each of the munic­i­pal­i­ties to be abol­ished or con­sol­i­dat­ed. The ref­er­en­dum shall be con­duct­ed in the man­ner deter­mined by law, which shall include the applic­a­ble pro­ce­dures of the elec­tion laws in effect when the ref­er­en­dum law is approved.

Sec­tion 2. The pow­er of the Com­mon­wealth of Puer­to Rico to impose and col­lect tax­es and to autho­rize their impo­si­tion and col­lec­tion by munic­i­pal­i­ties shall be exer­cised as deter­mined by the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly and shall nev­er be sur­ren­dered or sus­pend­ed. The pow­er of the Com­mon­wealth of Puer­to Rico to ‘con­tract and to autho­rize the con­tract­ing of debts shall be exer­cised as deter­mined by the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly, but no direct oblig­a­tions of the Com­mon­wealth for mon­ey bor­rowed direct­ly by the Com­mon­wealth evi­denced by bonds or notes for the pay­ment of which the full faith cred­it and tax­ing pow­er of the Com­mon­wealth shall be pledged shall be issued by the Com­mon­wealth if the total of (i) the amount of prin­ci­pal of and inter­est on such bonds and notes, togeth­er with the amount of prin­ci­pal of and inter­est on all such bonds and notes thereto­fore issued by the Com­mon­wealth and then out­stand­ing, payable in any fis­cal year and (ii) any amounts paid by the Com­mon­wealth in the fis­cal year next pre­ced­ing the then cur­rent fis­cal year for prin­ci­pal or inter­est on account of any out­stand­ing oblig­a­tions evi­denced by bonds or notes guar­an­teed by the Com­mon­wealth, shall exceed 15% of the aver­age of the total amount of the annu­al rev­enues raised under the pro­vi­sions of Com­mon­wealth leg­is­la­tion and cov­ered into the Trea­sury of Puer­to Rico in the two fis­cal years next pre­ced­ing the then cur­rent fis­cal year; and no such bonds or notes issued by the Com­mon­wealth for any pur­pose oth­er than hous­ing facil­i­ties shall mature lat­er than 30 years from their date and no bonds or notes issued for hous­ing facil­i­ties shall mature lat­er than 40 years from their date; and the Com­mon­wealth shall not guar­an­tee any oblig­a­tions evi­denced by bonds or notes if the total of the amount payable in any fis­cal year on account of prin­ci­pal of and inter­est on all the direct oblig­a­tions referred to above thereto­fore issued by the Com­mon­wealth and then out­stand­ing and the amounts referred to in item (ii) above shall exceed 15 per­cent of the aver­age of the total amount of such annu­al rev­enues.

The Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly shall fix lim­i­ta­tions for the issuance of direct oblig­a­tions by any of the munic­i­pal­i­ties of Puer­to Rico for mon­ey bor­rowed direct­ly by such munic­i­pal­i­ty evi­denced by bonds or notes for the pay­ment of which the full faith, cred­it and tax­ing pow­er of such munic­i­pal­i­ty shall be pledged; pro­vid­ed, how­ev­er, that no such bonds or notes shall be issued by any munic­i­pal­i­ty in an amount which, togeth­er with the amount of all such bonds and notes thereto­fore issued by such munic­i­pal­i­ty and then out­stand­ing, shall exceed the per­cent­age deter­mined by the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly, which shall be not less than five per cen­tum (5%) nor more than ten per cen­tum (10%) of the aggre­gate tax val­u­a­tion of the prop­er­ty with­in such munic­i­pal­i­ty.

The Sec­re­tary of the Trea­sury may be required to apply the avail­able rev­enues includ­ing sur­plus to the pay­ment of inter­est on the pub­lic debt and the amor­ti­za­tion there­of in any case pro­vid­ed for by Sec­tion 8 of this Arti­cle VI at the suit of any hold­er of bonds or notes issued in evi­dence there­of. [As amend­ed by the vot­ers at a ref­er­en­dum held Dec. 10, 1961.]

Sec­tion 3. The rule of tax­a­tion in Puer­to Rico shall be uni­form.

Sec­tion 4. Gen­er­al elec­tions shall be held every four years on the day of Novem­ber deter­mined by the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly. In said elec­tions there shall be elect­ed a Gov­er­nor, the mem­bers of the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly, and the oth­er offi­cials whose elec­tion on that date is pro­vid­ed for by law.

Every per­son over eigh­teen years of age shall be enti­tled to vote if he ful­fills the oth­er con­di­tions deter­mined by law. No per­son shall be deprived of the right to vote because he does not know how to read or write or does not own prop­er­ty.

All mat­ters con­cern­ing the elec­toral process, reg­is­tra­tion of vot­ers, polit­i­cal par­ties and can­di­dates shall be deter­mined by law.

Every pop­u­lar­ly elect­ed offi­cial shall be elect­ed by direct vote and any can­di­date who receives more votes than any‘other can­di­date for the same office shall be declared elect­ed.

Sec­tion 5. The laws shall be pro­mul­gat­ed in accor­dance with the pro­ce­dure pre­scribed by law and shall spec­i­fy the terms under which they shall take effect.

Sec­tion 6. If at the end of any fis­cal year the appro­pri­a­tions nec­es­sary for the ordi­nary oper­at­ing expens­es of the Gov­ern­ment and for the pay­ment of inter­est on and‘amortization of the pub­lic debt for the ensu­ing fis­cal year shall not have been made, the sev­er­al sums appro­pri­at­ed in the last appro­pri­a­tion acts for the objects and pur­pos­es there­in spec­i­fied, so far as the same may be applic­a­ble, shall con­tin­ue in effect item by item, and the Gov­er­nor shall autho­rize the pay­ments nec­es­sary for such pur­pos­es until cor­re­spond­ing appro­pri­a­tions are made.

Sec­tion 7. The appro­pri­a­tions made for any fis­cal year shall not exceed the total rev­enues, includ­ing avail­able sur­plus, esti­mat­ed for said fis­cal Year unless the impo­si­tion of tax­es suf­fi­cient to cov­er said appro­pri­a­tions is pro­vid­ed by law.

Sec­tion 8. In case the avail­able rev­enues includ­ing sur­plus for any fis­cal year are insuf­fi­cient to meet the appro­pri­a­tions made for that year, inter­est on the pub­lic debt and amor­ti­za­tion there­of shall first be paid, and oth­er dis­burse­ments shall there­after be made in accor­dance with the order of pri­or­i­ties estab­lished by law.

Sec­tion 9. Pub­lic prop­er­ty and funds shall only be dis­posed of for pub­lic pur­pos­es, for the sup­port and oper­a­tion of state insti­tu­tions, and pur­suant to law.

Sec­tion 10· No law shall give extra com­pen­sa­tion to any pub­lic offi­cer, employ­ee, agent or con­trac­tor after ser­vices shall have been ren­dered or con­tract made. No law shall extend the term of any pub­lic offi­cer or dimin­ish his salary or emol­u­ments after his elec­tion or appoint­ment. No per­son shall draw a salary for more than one office or posi­tion in the gov­ern­ment of Puer­to Rico.

Sec­tion 11. The salaries of the Gov­er­nor, the Sec­re­taries, the mem­bers of the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly, the Con­troller and Judges shall be fixed by a spe­cial law and, except for the salaries of the mem­bers of the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly, shall not be decreased dur­ing the terms for which they are elect­ed or appoint­ed. The salaries of the Gov­er­nor and the Con­troller shall not be increased dur­ing said terms. No increase in the salaries of the mem­bers of the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly shall take effect until the expi­ra­tion of the term of the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly dur­ing which it is enact­ed. Any reduc­tion of the salaries of the mem­bers of the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly shall be effec­tive only dur­ing the term of the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly which approves it.

Sec­tion 12. The Gov­er­nor shall occu­py and use, free of rent, the build­ings and prop­er­ties belong­ing to.the Com­mon­wealth which have been or shall here­after be used and occu­pied by him as chief exec­u­tive.

Sec­tion 13. The pro­ce­dure for grant­i­ng fran­chis­es, rights, priv­i­leges and con­ces­sions of a pub­lic or qua­si-pub­lic nature shall be deter­mined by law, but every con­ces­sion of this kind to a per­son or pri­vate enti­ty must be approved by the Gov­er­nor or by the exec­u­tive offi­cial whom he des­ig­nates. Every fran­chise, right, priv­i­lege or con­ces­sion of a pub­lic or qua­si-pub­lic nature shall be sub­ject to amend­ment, alter­ation or repeal as deter­mined by law.

Sec­tion 14. No cor­po­ra­tion shall be autho­rized to con­duct the busi­ness of buy­ing and sell­ing real estate or be per­mit­ted to hold or own real estate except such as may be rea­son­ably nec­es­sary to enable it to car­ry out the pur­pos­es for which it was cre­at­ed, and every cor­po­ra­tion autho­rized to engage in agri­cul­ture shall by its char­ter be restrict­ed to the own­er­ship and con­trol of not to exceed five hun­dred acres of land; and this pro­vi­sion shall be held to pre­vent any mem­ber of a cor­po­ra­tion engaged in agri­cul­ture from being in any wise inter­est­ed in any oth­er cor­po­ra­tion engaged in agri­cul­ture.

Cor­po­ra­tions, how­ev­er, may loan funds upon real estate secu­ri­ty, and pur­chase real estate when nec­es­sary for the col­lec­tion of loans, but they shall dis­pose of real estate so obtained with­in five years after receiv­ing the title.

Cor­po­ra­tions not orga­nized in Puer­to Rico, but doing busi­ness in Puer­to Rico, shall be bound by the pro­vi­sions of this sec­tion so far as they are applic­a­ble.

These pro­vi­sions shall not pre­vent the own­er­ship, pos­ses­sion or man­age­ment of lands in excess of five hun­dred acres by the Com­mon­wealth, its agen­cies or instru­men­tal­i­ties.

Sec­tion 15. The Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly shall deter­mine all mat­ters con­cern­ing the flag, the seal and the anthem of the Com­mon­wealth. Once deter­mined, no law chang­ing them shall take effect until one year after the gen­er­al elec­tion next fol­low­ing the date of enact­ment of said law.

Sec­tion 16. All pub­lic offi­cials and employ­ees of the Com­mon­wealth, its agen­cies, instru­men­tal­i­ties and polit­i­cal sub­di­vi­sions, before enter­ing upon their respec­tive duties, shall take an oath to sup­port the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Unit­ed States and the Con­sti­tu­tion and laws of the Com­mon­wealth of Puer­to Rico.

Sec­tion 17. In case of inva­sion, rebel­lion, epi­dem­ic or any oth­er event giv­ing rise to a state of emer­gency, the Gov­er­nor may call the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly to meet in a place oth­er than the Capi­tol of Puer­to Rico, sub­ject to the approval or dis­ap­proval of the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly. Under the same con­di­tions, the Gov­er­nor may, dur­ing the peri­od of emer­gency, order the gov­ern­ment, its agen­cies and instru­men­tal­i­ties to be moved tem­porar­i­ly to a place oth­er than the seat of the gov­ern­ment.

Sec­tion 18. All crim­i­nal actions in the courts of the Com­mon­wealth shall be con­duct­ed in the name and by the author­i­ty of “The Peo­ple of Puer­to Rico” until oth­er­wise pro­vid­ed by law.

Sec­tion 19. It shall be the pub­lic pol­i­cy of the Com­mon­wealth to con­serve, devel­op and use its nat­ur­al resources in the most effec­tive man­ner pos­si­ble for the gen­er­al wel­fare of the com­mu­ni­ty; to con­serve and main­tain build­ings and places declared by the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly to be of his­toric or artis­tic val­ue; to reg­u­late its penal insti­tu­tions in a man­ner that effec­tive­ly achieves their pur­pos­es and to pro­vide, with­in the lim­its of avail­able resources, for ade­quate treat­ment of delin­quents in order to make pos­si­ble their moral and social reha­bil­i­ta­tion.

ARTICLE VII
AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION

Sec­tion 1. The Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly may pro­pose amend­ments to this Con­sti­tu­tion by a con­cur­rent res­o­lu­tion approved by not less than two-thirds of the total num­ber of mem­bers of which each house is com­posed. All pro­posed amend­ments shall be sub­mit­ted to the qual­i­fied elec­tors in a spe­cial ref­er­en­dum, but if the con­cur­rent res­o­lu­tion is approved by not less than three-fourths of the total num­ber of mem­bers of which each house is com­posed, the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly may pro­vide that the ref­er­en­dum shall be held at the same time as the next gen­er­al elec­tion. Each pro­posed amend­ment shall be vot­ed on sep­a­rate­ly and not more than three pro­posed amend­ments may be sub­mit­ted at the same ref­er­en­dum. Every pro­posed amend­ment shall spec­i­fy the terms under which it shall take effect, and it shall become a part of this Con­sti­tu­tion if it is rat­i­fied by a major­i­ty of the elec­tors vot­ing there­on. Once approved, a pro­posed amend­ment must be pub­lished at least three months pri­or to the date of the ref­er­en­dum.

Sec­tion 2. The Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly, by a con­cur­rent res­o­lu­tion approved by two-thirds of the total num­ber of mem­bers of which each house is com­posed, may sub­mit to the qual­i­fied elec­tors at a ref­er­en­dum, held at the same time as a gen­er­al elec­tion, the ques­tion of whether a con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ven­tion shall be called to revise this Con­sti­tu­tion. If a major­i­ty of the elec­tors vot­ing on this ques­tion vote in favor of the revi­sion, it shall be made by a Con­sti­tu­tion­al Con­ven­tion elect­ed in the man­ner pro­vid­ed by law. Every revi­sion of this Con­sti­tu­tion shall be sub­mit­ted to the qual­i­fied elec­tors at a spe­cial ref­er­en­dum for rat­i­fi­ca­tion or rejec­tion by a major­i­ty of the votes cast at the ref­er­en­dum.

Sec­tion 3. No amend­ment to this Con­sti­tu­tion shall alter the repub­li­can form of gov­ern­ment estab­lished by it or abol­ish its bill of rights.*

* By Res­o­lu­tion num­ber 34, approved by the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Con­ven­tion and rat­i­fied in the Ref­er­en­dum held on Novem­ber 4, 1952, the fol­low­ing new sen­tence was added to sec­tion 3 of arti­cle VII: “Any amend­ment or revi­sion of this con­sti­tu­tion shall be con­sis­tent with the res­o­lu­tion enact­ed by the applic­a­ble pro­vi­sions of the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Unit­ed States, with the Puer­to Rican Fed­er­al Rela­tions Act and with Pub­lic Law 600, Eighty-first Con­gress, adopt­ed in the nature of a com­pact”

ARTICLE VIII
SENATORIAL AND REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICTS

Sec­tion 1. The sen­a­to­r­i­al and rep­re­sen­ta­tive dis­tricts shall be the fol­low­ing:

I. SENATORIAL DISTRICT OF SAN JUAN, which shall be com­posed of the fol­low­ing Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dis­tricts: l.– The Cap­i­tal of Puer­to Rico, exclud­ing the present elec­toral precincts of San­turce and Río Piedras; 2.– Elec­toral zones num­bers 1 and 2 of the present precinct of San­turce; 3.– Elec­toral zone num­ber 3 of the present precinct of San­turce; 4.– Elec­toral zone num­ber 4 of the present precinct of San­turce; and 5.– Wards Hato Rey, Puer­to Nue­vo and Caparra Heights of the Cap­i­tal of Puer­to Rico.

II. SENATORIAL DISTRICT OF BAYAMON, which shall be com­posed of the fol­low­ing Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dis­tricts: 6.– The munic­i­pal­i­ty of Bayamón; 7.– The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Car­oli­na and Tru­jil­lo Alto; 8.– The present elec­toral precinct of Río Piedras, exclud­ing wards Hate Rey, Puer­to Nue­vo and Caparra Heights of the Cap­i­tal of Puer­to Rico; 9.– The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Cataño, Guayn­abo and Toa Baja; and lO.– The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Toa Alta, Corozal and Naran­ji­to.

III. SENATORIAL DISTRICT OF ARECIBO, which shall be com­posed of the fol­low­ing Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dis­tricts: ll.– The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Vega Baja, Vega Alta and Dora­do; 12.– The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Manatí and Barcelone­ta; 13.– The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Ciales and Moro­vis; l4.– The munic­i­pal­i­ty of Areci­bo; and 15.-The munic­i­pal­i­ty of Utu­a­do.

IV. SENATORIAL DISTRICT OF AGUADILLA, which shall be com­posed of the fol­low­ing Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dis­tricts: 16. -The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Camuy, Hatil­lo and Que­bradil­las; 17. The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Aguadil­la and Isabela; 18.–The munic­i­pal­i­ties of San Sebastián and Moca; 19.–The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Lares, Las Marías and Mar­i­cao; and 20.-The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Añasco, Agua­da and Rincón.

V. SENATORIAL DISTRICT OF MAYAGUEZ, which shall be com­posed of the fol­low­ing Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dis­tricts: 21.– The munic­i­pal­i­ty of Mayaguez; 22.– The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Cabo Rojo, Hormigueros and Lajas; 23.– The munic­i­pal­i­ties of San Germán and Sabana Grande; 24.– The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Yau­co and Guani­ca; and 25.– The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Guayanil­la and Peñuelas.

VI. SENATORIAL DISTRICT OF PONCE, which shall be com­posed of the fol­low­ing Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dis­tricts: 26.– The first, sec­ond, third, fourth, fifth and sixth wards and the City Beach of the munic­i­pal­i­ty of Ponce; 27.– The munic­i­pal­i­ty of Ponce, except for the first, sec­ond, third, fourth, fifth and sixth wards and the City Beach; 28.– The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Adjun­tas and Jayuya; 29.– The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Jua­na Díaz, San­ta Isabel and Vil­lal­ba; and 30.–The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Coamo and Oro­co­vis.

VII. SENATORIAL DISTRICT OF GUAYAMA, Which shall be com­posed of the fol­low­ing Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dis­tricts: 31.– The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Aiboni­to, Bar­ran­quitas and Com­e­rio; 32.– The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Cayey and Cidra; 33.– The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Caguas and Aguas Bue­nas; 34.– The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Guaya­ma and Sali­nas; and 35.– The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Patil­las, Maun­abo and Arroyo.

VIII. SENATORIAL DISTRICT OF HUMACAO, which shall be com­posed of the fol­low­ing Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dis­tricts: 36.– The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Humacao and Yabu­coa; 37.– The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Jun­cos, Guarabo and San Loren­zo; 38.– The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Naguabo, Cei­ba and Las Piedras; 39.– The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Fajar­do and Vieques and the Island of Cule­bra; and 40.– The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Río Grande, and Loíza and Luquil­lo.

Sec­tion 2. Elec­toral zones num­bers 1, 2, 3 and 4 includ­ed in three rep­re­sen­ta­tive dis­tricts with­in the sen­a­to­r­i­al dis­trict of San Juan are those present­ly exist­ing for pur­pos­es of elec­toral orga­ni­za­tion in the sec­ond precinct of San Juan.

ARTICLE IX
TRANSITORY PROVISIONS

Sec­tion 1. When this Con­sti­tu­tion goes into effect all laws not incon­sis­tent there­with shall con­tin­ue in full force until amend­ed or repealed, or until they expire by their own terms.

Unless oth­er­wise pro­vid­ed by this Con­sti­tu­tion, civ­il and crim­i­nal lia­bil­i­ties, rights, fran­chis­es, con­ces­sions, priv­i­leges, claims, actions, caus­es of action, con­tracts, and civ­il crim­i­nal and admin­is­tra­tive pro­ceed­ings shall con­tin­ue unaf­fect­ed, notwith­stand­ing the tak­ing effect of this Con­sti­tu­tion.

Sec­tion 2. All offi­cers who are in office by elec­tion or appoint­ment on the date this Con­sti­tu­tion takes effect shall con­tin­ue to hold their offices and to per­form the func­tions there­of in a man­ner not incon­sis­tent with this Con­sti­tu­tion, unless the func­tions of their offices, are abol­ished or until their suc­ces­sors are select­ed and qual­i­fy in accor­dance with this Con­sti­tu­tion and laws enact­ed pur­suant there­to.

Sec­tion 3. Notwith­stand­ing the age lim­it fixed by this Con­sti­tu­tion for com­pul­so­ry retire­ment, all the judges of the courts of Puer­to Rico who are hold­ing office on the date this Con­sti­tu­tion takes effect shall con­tin­ue to hold their judi­cial offices until the expi­ra­tion of the terms for which they were appoint­ed, and in the case of Jus­tices of the Supreme Court dur­ing good behav­ior.

Sec­tion 4. The Com­mon­wealth of Puer­to Rico shall be the suc­ces­sor of the Peo­ple of Puer­to Rico for all pur­pos­es, includ­ing with­out lim­i­ta­tion the col­lec­tion and pay­ments of debts and lia­bil­i­ties in accor­dance with their terms.

Sec­tion 5. When this Con­sti­tu­tion goes into effect, the term “cit­i­zen of the Com­mon­wealth of Puer­to Rico” shall replace the term “cit­i­zen of Puer­to Rico” as pre­vi­ous­ly used.

Sec­tion 6. Polit­i­cal par­ties shall con­tin­ue to enjoy all rights rec­og­nized by the elec­tion law, pro­vid­ed that on the effec­tive date of this Con­sti­tu­tion they ful­fill the min­i­mum require­ments for the reg­is­tra­tion of new par­ties con­tained in said law. Five years after this Con­sti­tu­tion shall have tak­en effect the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly may change these require­ments, but any law increas­ing them shall not go into effect until after the gen­er­al elec­tion next fol­low­ing its enact­ment.

Sec­tion 7. The Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly may enact the laws nec­es­sary to sup­ple­ment and make effec­tive these tran­si­to­ry pro­vi­sions in order to assure the func­tion­ing of the gov­ern­ment until the offi­cers pro­vid­ed for by this Con­sti­tu­tion are elect­ed or appoint­ed and qual­i­fy, and until this Con­sti­tu­tion takes effect in all respects.

Sec­tion 8. If the leg­isla­tive Assem­bly cre­ates a Depart­ment of Com­merce, the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Com­merce shall there­after be called the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture.

Sec­tion 9. The first elec­tion under the pro­vi­sions of this Con­sti­tu­tion shall be held on the date pro­vid­ed by law, but not lat­er than six months after the effec­tive date of this Con­sti­tu­tion. The sec­ond gen­er­al elec­tion under this Con­sti­tu­tion shall be held in the month of Novem­ber 1956 on a day pro­vid­ed by law.

Sec­tion 10. This Con­sti­tu­tion shall take effect when the Gov­er­nor so pro­claims, but not lat­er than six­ty days after its rat­i­fi­ca­tion by the Con­gress of the Unit­ed States.

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