Signing set for law to protect citizens from abusive officials

President Laura Chinchilla is scheduled to sign into law today legal changes that threaten public employees with prison if they do not follow through with requests from the public.

The Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio also is taking part in the 3 p.m. ceremony at Casa Presidencial because the goal of the legislation is to increase the country’s competitivity.

The changes basically target public officials or employees who abuse their authority or request unnecessary paperwork to provide public services.

The measure is titled Reforma a la Ley de Protección al
Ciudadano del exceso de Requisitos y Trámites Administrativos, meaning “reform of the law for the protection of citizens from excessive requirements and administrative paperwork.”

The measure also punishes public employees who do not complete action on submissions in the time established by the law. The first violation may incur only a warning, but subsequent ones can lead to discharge, according to the law.

Also punished are public employees who deliberately delay action on a request.

The original law has been in force for nine years, but the new changes give more weapons for citizens who feel they are being victimized by abusive officials and employees.

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