Ley Núm. 47 del año 2001
(P. del S. 540), Ley 47, 2001
LEY NUM. 47 DE 29 DE JUNIO DE 2001
Para enmendar la Exposición de Motivos de la Ley Núm. 453 de 28 de diciembre de 2000, conocida como “Law Regulating the Responsibility of Tobacco Product Manufacturers with the Government of Puerto Rico”, a fin de añadir tres párrafos que fueron omitidos por inadvertencia durante el proceso legislativo, y para otros fines.
Decrétase por la Asamblea Legislativa de Puerto Rico:
Artículo 1.– Se enmienda la Exposición de Motivos de la Ley Núm. 453 de 28 de diciembre de 2000, eliminando el primer párrafo de ésta, enmendando el segundo párrafo, y añadiendo tres párrafos adicionales al final de ésta para que lea como sigue:
"Cigarette smoking presents serious public health concerns to Puerto Rico and to the citizens of Puerto Rico. The United States Surgeon General has determined that smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease and other serious diseases, and that there are hundreds of thousands of tobacco-related deaths in the United States each year. These diseases most often do not appear until many years after the person in question begins smoking.
Cigarette smoking also presents serious financial concerns for Puerto Rico. Under certain health-care programs, the Government of Puerto Rico may have a legal obligation to provide medical assistance to eligible persons for health conditions associated with cigarette smoking, and those persons may have a legal entitlement to receive such medical assistance.
Under these programs, Puerto Rico pays millions of dollars each year to provide medical assistance for these persons for health conditions associated with cigarette smoking.
It is the policy of the Government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico that financial burdens imposed on Puerto Rico by cigarette smoking be borne by tobacco product manufacturers rather than by Puerto Rico to the extent that such manufacturers either determine to enter into a settlement with Puerto Rico or are found culpable by the courts.
On November 23, 1998, leading United States tobacco product manufacturers entered into a settlement agreement, entitled the ´Master Settlement Agreement’, with the Government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The Master Settlement Agreement obligates these manufacturers, in return for a release of past, present and certain future claims against them as described therein, to pay substantial sums to Puerto Rico (tied in part to their volume of sales); to fund a national foundation devoted to the interests of public health; and to make substantial changes in their advertising and marketing practices and corporate culture, with the intention of reducing underage smoking.
It would be contrary to the policy of the Government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico if tobacco product manufacturers who determine not to enter into such a settlement could use a resulting cost advantage to derive large, short-term profits in the years before liability may arise without ensuring that Puerto Rico will have an eventual source of recovery from them if they are proven to have acted culpably. It is thus in the interest of the Government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to require that such manufacturers establish a reserve fund to guarantee a source of compensation and to prevent such manufacturers from deriving large, short-term profits and then becoming judgment-proof before liability may arise."
Artículo 2.– Se enmiendan los incisos (f) e (i) de la Sección 1 de la Ley Núm. 453 de 28 de diciembre de 2000, para que lean como sigue:
f) “Qualified escrow fund” means an escrow arrangement with a federally or State chartered financial institution having no affiliation with any tobacco product manufacturer and having assets of at least $1,000,000,000 where such arrangement requires that such financial institution hold the escrowed funds’ principal for the benefit of releasing parties and prohibits the tobacco product manufacturer placing the funds into escrow from using, accessing or directing the use of the funds’ principal except as consistent with Section 2(b) (2) of this Act.
i) “Tobacco Product Manufacturer” means an entity that after the date of enactment of this Act directly (and not exclusively through any affiliate):
l) manufactures cigarettes anywhere that such manufacturer intends to be sold in the United States, including cigarettes intended to be sold in the United States through an importer (except where such importer is an original participating manufacturer (as that term is defined in the Master Settlement Agreement) that will be responsible for the payments under the Master Settlement Agreement with respect to such cigarettes as a result of the provisions of subsection II(mm) of the Master Settlement Agreement and that pays the taxes specified in subsection II(z) of the Master Settlement Agreement, and provided that the manufacturers of such cigarettes does not market or advertise such cigarettes in the United States;
2) is the first purchaser anywhere for resale in the United States of cigarettes manufactured anywhere that the manufacturer does not intend to be sold in the United States);
3) or becomes a successor of an entity described in paragraph (1) or (2).
The term “Tobacco Product Manufacturer” shall not include an affiliate of a tobacco product manufacturer unless such affiliate itself falls within any of (1) – (3) above.
. . .”
Artículo 3.–Se enmienda el inciso (b) de la Sección 2 de la Ley Núm. 453 de 28 de diciembre de 2000 para renumerarlo de la siguiente manera:
Any tobacco product manufacturer selling cigarettes to consumers within Puerto Rico (whether directly or through a distributor, retailer or similar intermediary or intermediaries) after the date of enactment of this Act shall do one, of the following:
1) place into a qualified escrow fund by April 15 of the year following the year in question the following amounts (as such amounts are adjusted for inflation):
2000: $.0104712 per unit sold after the date of enactment of this Act;
for each of 2001 and 2002: $.0136125 per unit sold;
for each of 2003 through 2006: $.0167539 per unit sold;
for each of 2007 and each year thereafter: $.0188482 per unit sold.
2) A tobacco product manufacturer that places funds into escrow pursuant to paragraph (1) shall receive the interest or other appreciation on such funds earned. Such funds themselves shall be released from escrow only under the following circumstances:
A) to pay a judgment or settlement on any released claim brought against such tobacco, product manufacturer by the Government of Puerto Rico or any releasing party located or residing in Puerto Rico. Funds shall be released from escrow under this subparagraph (i) in the order in which they were placed into escrow and (ii) only to the extent and at the time to necessary to make payments required under such judgment or settlement;
B) to the extent that a tobacco product manufacturer establishes that the amount it was required to place into escrow in a particular year was greater then Puerto Rico’s allocable share of the total payments that such manufacturer would have been required to make in that year under the Master Settlement Agreement (as determined pursuant to Section IX(i)(2) of the Master Settlement Agreement, and before any of the adjustments or offsets described in Section IX (i) (3) of that Agreement other than the Inflation Adjustment) had it been a participating manufacturer, the excess shall be released from escrow and revert back to such tobacco product manufacturer; or
C) to the extent not released from escrow under subparagraphs (A) or (B), funds shall be released from escrow and revert back to such tobacco product manufacturer twenty-five (25) years after the date on which they were placed into escrow.
3) Each tobacco product manufacturer that elects to place funds into escrow pursuant to this subsection shall annually certify to the Secretary of Justice that it is in compliance with this subsection. The Secretary of Justice may bring a civil action on behalf of Puerto Rico against any tobacco product manufacturer that fails in any year to place into escrow the funds required under this Section shall:
A) be required within 15 days to place such into escrow as shall bring it into compliance with this Section. The court, upon a finding of a violation of this subsection, may impose a civil penalty to be paid to the General Fund of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in an amount not to exceed 5 percent of the amount improperly withheld from escrow per day of the violation and in a total amount not to exceed one hundred percent (100%) of the original amount improperly withheld from escrow:
B) in the case of a knowing violation, be required within fifteen (15) days to place such funds into escrow as shall bring it into compliance with this Section. The court, upon a finding of a knowing violation of this subsection, may impose a civil penalty to be paid to the General Fund of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in an amount not to exceed fifteen percent (15%) of the amount improperly withheld from escrow per day of the violation and in a total amount not to exceed three hundred percent (300%) of the original amount improperly withheld from escrow: and
C) in the case of a second knowing violation, be prohibited from selling cigarettes to consumers, within Puerto Rico (whether directly or through a distributor, retailer or similar intermediary) for a period not to exceed two (2) years.
Each failure to make an annual deposit required under this Section shall constitute a separate violation. A tobacco product manufacturer that violates this Section shall be required to pay the costs and attorney’s fees incurred by the Government of Puerto Rico during a successful prosecution under this paragraph (3).”
Artículo 4.–Se enmienda la Sección 3 de la Ley Núm. 453 de 28 de diciembre de 2000 para que lea de la siguiente forma:
“Section 3.–Doubt or Conflict.
In the event of doubt or conflict between this Act and Act No. 401 of September 9, 2000, the provisions of this Act shall control."
Artículo 5.–Para añadir una nueva Sección 4 a la Ley Núm. 453 de 28 de diciembre de 2000 que lea de la siguiente forma:
“Section 4.–English Version Controlling
It is hereby declared that the official text of this law is the English version thereof and if in the interpretation and application of this law any conflict arises as between the Spanish and English texts thereof, the latter shall prevail over the former.”
Artículo 6.–Se renumera la Sección 4 de la Ley Núm. 453 de 28 de diciembre de 2000 como la Sección 5 para que lea como sigue:
This Act shall become effective immediately upon its approval.”
Artículo 7.–Esta Ley tendrá vigencia inmediata a su aprobación.
Este documento constituye un documento de las leyes del Estado Libre Asociado de P.R. que está sujeto a los cambios y correcciones del proceso de compilación y publicación oficial de las leyes de Puerto Rico. Su distribución electrónica se hace como un servicio público a la comunidad. Siempre busque leyes posteriores para posible enmiendas a estas leyes.
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