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House of Representatives of Puerto Rico

House of Representatives of Puerto Rico

The House of Representatives of Puerto Rico (Cámara de Representantes de Puerto Rico) is the lower house of the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico, larger than the Senate. Together, they compose the legislative branch of the government of Puerto Rico.

Composition

In order to elect the members of the House, Puerto Rico is divided into forty representative districts. Article VIII of the Constitution of Puerto Rico divides Puerto Rico into eight senatorial districts, each one of them composed of five of the aforementioned representative districts.

For each one of the representative districts, the people of Puerto Rico elect one Representative. In addition, the people are allowed to vote for one Representative At-Large of their preference. The eleven Representatived At-Large with the majority of votes complete the rest of the House, which totals 51 members.

Article III, Section 5 of the Constitution of Puerto Rico states that no person shall be a member of the Senate unless he:

  • is capable of reading and writing in either Spanish or English;
  • is a citizen of the United States and Puerto Rico;
  • has resided in Puerto Rico for at least two years immediately prior to the date of his election or appointment;
  • is over twenty-five years of age.

History

Created in 1900 as the House of Delegates under the Foraker Act, the lower body of the Puerto Rico Legislature was the only elected body until the Senate was created in 1917 under the Jones-Shaffroth Act.

In 1969, the House was controlled by the New Progressive Party, which also controlled the governorship, but not the Senate, Puerto Rico's first experiment with "split" governments. Angel Viera Martinez, a former prosecutor and freshman representative was elected to the first of three stints as Speaker.

In 1973, the Popular Democratic Party reacquired control of the House but was ousted as the majority party in the 1976 elections, won by the NPP. Viera Martinez was elected in 1977 to his second stint as Speaker.

As a result of the 1980 elections, the new House in 1981 was tied, unable to elect a Speaker, as required, by an absolute majority. House Secretary Cristino Bernazard, who normally would have presided over the House until it elected its new Speaker in its inaugural session, became the first unelected Acting Speaker of the House until, after political wrangling, the House elected Viera Martinez once again as Speaker for the remainder of 1981 and maverick PDP Rep. Severo Colberg as Speaker for the remainder of the term until 1984. During Bernazard's incumbency, he appointed co-chairs to the House standing committees and required that all House decisions and legislation be approved by consensus.

Jose Ronaldo "Rony" Jarabo, served as Speaker from 1985 to 1992 and was succeeded by the first woman Speaker, Zaida Hernandez Torres, who served until 1996.

Edison Misla Aldarondo, Hernandez' Speaker pro Tempore, became Speaker in 1997. After he left office in 2000 he was convicted of corruption charges in federal and state courts. He was succeeded in office by Carlos Vizcarrondo during the 2001-2004 term.

In 2005, as a PDP governor took office but the NPP controlled the Senate and the House, José Aponte Hernández, a loyalist of NPP President Pedro Rossello, was elected as Speaker of the House. In addition to the tension with the executive branch, Aponte's term has been tinged with greater-than-average tension with the Senate, in which his support for Rossello's bid to oust Senate President Kenneth McClintock, whom he has called a "traitor" to his party, took him to lead over 20 NPP representatives to converge on the Senate floor in opposition to McClintock's permanence as Senate President, considered by many the all-time historical low-point in Senate-House relations.

Current House Leadership

José Aponte Hernández - Speaker

Epifanio Jiménez Cruz - Speaker Pro Tem

Iris Miriam Ruiz Class - Majority Leader

María de Lourdes Ramos Rivera - Majority Whip

Héctor Ferrer Ríos - PDP Minority Leader

Luis Raúl Torres Cruz - Minority Whip

Victor Garcia San Inocencio - PIP Minority Leader

Antonio Silva Delgado - Treasury Committee Chairman

Jenniffer González Colón - Government Committee Chairwoman

Angel A. Pérez Otero - Budget Committee Chairman

Javier A. Rivera Aquino - Agriculture Committee Chairman

Carlos Molina Rodriguez - Juvenile Affairs Committee Chairman

Albita Rivera Ramirez - Women Affairs Committee Chairwoman

Jorge Navarro Suarez - Consumer Affairs Committee Chairman

Maria de Lourdes Ramos Rivera - Internal Affairs Committee Chairwoman

Angel R. Peña Rosa - Municipal Affairs Committee Chairman

Rolando Crespo Arroyo - Social Welfare Committee Chairman

Iris M. Ruiz Class - Calendar and Rules Committee Chairwoman

Jorge L. Jimenez Negron - Commerce and Industry Committee Chairman

Bernardo Marquez Garcia - Cooperativism Committee Chairman

Francisco Gonzalez Rodriguez - San Juan Development Committee Chairman

Jose Chico Vega - Socioeconomic and Planification Committee Chairman

Albita Rivera Ramirez - Education and Culture Committee Chairwoman

Francisco Gonzalez Rodriguez - Ethics Committee Chairman

Cristobal Colon Ruiz - Infrastructure and Transportation Committee Chairman

Hector A. Torres Calderon - Public Integrity Committee Chairman

Liza Fernandez Rodriguez - Judicial and Public Safety Committee Chairwoman

Nelson E. Del Valle Colon - Sports and Recreation Committee Chairman

Jorge L. Rivera Guerra - Natural Resources Committee Chairman

Rafael Rivera Ortega - Central Region Committee Chairman

Angel Bulerin Ramos - Eastern Region Committee Chairman

Jose E. Concepcion Hernandez - Northern Region Committee Chairman

Julio C. Roman Gonzalez - Western Region Committee Chairman

Jorge L. Ramos Peña - South Region Committee Chairman

Gabriel Rodriguez Aguilo - Health Committee Chairman

Carlos Mendez Nuñez - Labor Relations Committee Chairman

Norman Ramirez Rivera - Tourism Committee Chairman

Luis Perez Ortiz - Urban Development Committee Chairman

Brunilda Ortiz - Secretary of the House

Latest election

Members of the House of Representatives

At Large Members

District Members

Speakers of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives

Jose De Diego (19__-19__) Speaker of the House

Miguel A. García Méndez (193_-193_) Speaker of the House

Samuel R. Quiñones (19__-1944) Speaker of the House

Ernesto Ramos Antonini (1949-196_) Speaker of the House

Santiago Polanco Abreu (1963-1965) Speaker of the House

Angel Viera Martinez (1969-1972) Speaker of the House

Luis Ernesto Ramos Yordan (1973-1976) Speaker of the House

Angel Viera Martinez (1977-1980) Speaker of the House

Cristino Bernazard (January-April 1981) Acting Speaker of the House

Angel Viera Martinez (April-December 1981) Speaker of the House

Severo Colberg Ramirez (1981-1984) Speaker of the House

Jose Ronaldo Jarabo (1985-1992) Speaker of the House

Zaida Hernandez Torres (1993-1996) Speaker of the House

Edison Misla Aldarondo (1997-2000) Speaker of the House

Carlos Vizcarrondo (2001-2004) Speaker of the House

José Aponte Hernández (2005-present) Speaker of the House

Composition of Representatives Districts

  • District 1

San Juan (part)

  • District 2

San Juan (part)

  • District 3

San Juan (part)

  • District 4

San Juan (part)

  • District 5

San Juan (part)-Guaynabo (part)

  • District 6

Guaynabo (part)-Cataño-Bayamón (part)

  • District 7

Bayamón (part)

  • District 8

Bayamón (part)

  • District 9

Bayamón (part)-Toa Alta

  • District 10

Toa Baja

  • District 11

Dorado-Vega Alta (part)-Vega Baja (part)

  • District 12

Vega Alta (part)-Vega Baja (part)-Morovis-Manatí (part)

  • District 13

Manatí (part)-Ciales-Florida-Barceloneta-Arecibo (part)

  • District 14

Arecibo (part)-Hatillo (part)

  • District 15

Hatillo (part)-Camuy-Quebradillas

  • District 16

Isabela-San Sebastián-Las Marías

  • District 17

Aguadilla-Moca (part)

  • District 18

Moca (part)-Aguada-Rincón-Añasco-Mayaguez (part)

  • District 19

Mayaguez (part)-San Germán (part)

  • District 20

San Germán (part)-Hormigueros-Cabo Rojo

  • District 21

Lajas-Guánica-Sabana Grande-Maricao-Yauco (part)

  • District 22

Lares-Utuado-Adjuntas-Jayuya (part)

  • District 23

Yauco (part)-Guayanilla-Peñuelas-Ponce (part)

  • District 24

Ponce (part)

  • District 25

Jayuya (part)-Ponce (part)

  • District 26

Juana Díaz (part)-Villalba-Orocovis

  • District 27

Juana Díaz (part)-Santa Isabel-Coamo-Aibonito-Barranquitas (part)

  • District 28

Barranquitas (part)-Corozal-Naranjito-Comerío (part)

  • District 29

Comerío (part)-Cidra-Cayey

  • District 30

Salinas-Guayama-Arroyo

  • District 31

Aguas Buenas-Caguas (part)-Gurabo (part)

  • District 32

Caguas (part)

  • District 33

Gurabo (part)-San Lorenzo (part)-Juncos-Las Piedras (part)

  • District 34

San Lorenzo (part)-Patillas-Maunabo-Yabucoa

  • District 35

Las Piedras (part)-Humacao-Naguabo

  • District 36

Vieques-Culebra-Ceiba-Fajardo-Luquillo-Río Grande (part)

  • District 37

Río Grande (part)-Loíza-Canóvanas (part)

  • District 38

Canóvanas (part)-Trujillo Alto (part)-Carolina (part)

  • District 39

Carolina (part)-Trujillo Alto (part)

  • District 40

Carolina (part)

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