Category: Press Releases

V.I. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE REQUESTS $422,493,985 FOR FISCAL YEAR 2019

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ST. THOMAS- Members of the Committee on Finance chaired by Sen. Kurt Vialet, held a meeting at the Capitol Building on Tuesday to receive testimony from the V.I. Department of Justice and the Public Service Commission on the Fiscal Year 2019 budget appropriations.

Governor Kenneth Mapp’s recommended budget for the Department of Justice totals $22,493,985. The budget breakdown is as follows: $15,209,397 from the General Fund, $805,000 from the Miscellaneous Section and $6,497,588 from non-appropriated Federal Funds. “Are the federal grants appropriately utilized?” inquired Sen. Marvin Blyden. The Dept. of Justice Chief Financial Officer Kaj Williams stated that all federal grants are expended appropriately.

“The Post Audit Report states that telecommunication services are $85,244. Please explain,” said Sen. Kurt Vialet. CFO Williams stated that the Dept. has an outstanding balance of $15,000 for telecommunication services. The remaining balance covers telecommunication expenses for the rest of FY 2019. Sen. Vialet inquired about the rising costs of utilities from $157,000 as of March 30th to $314,000 by the end of FY 2019. CFO Williams stated that the Department is relocating to a new building on St. Croix and the utility cost may increase.

The Government of the Virgin Islands (GVI) paid claimants and plaintiffs for litigation and administrative tort claims. The total amount of settlements paid out of the Judgement Fund is $340,672.58. Currently, there has $207,739.68 paid out from over $25,000 Judgement Fund; $100,928.79 from the under $25,000 Judgement Fund; and $32, 004.11 from the Administrative Tort Claim Fund stated Joseph Ponteen, V.I. Chief Deputy Attorney General of the Dept. of Justice.

Similarly, the Department’s Medical Malpractice Review Unit has a total of 91 open cases. Thus far, there are 14 cases closed with settlements totaling $1,333,000. “Are the physicians required to pay or is it only the responsibility of GVI?” asked Sen. Nereida Rivera O’Reilly. Chief Ponteen said, “Medical practices are expected to pay the insurance companies for medical malpractice. Meanwhile, GVI is responsible for covering the balance of the settlements to the plaintiffs.”

Separately, the Virgin Islands Public Service Commission (PSC) shared their FY 2019 budget. Donald Cole, Executive Director of PSC, stated that the governor’s recommended budget is $1,779,975.45. Comparatively, this is a $2,108.93 reduction from the FY 2018 appropriation. Currently, PSC is operating from the 2017 revenue assessment of $1,782,084.37.

Senators present are Kurt Vialet, Tregenza Roach, Dwayne DeGraff, Neville James, Nereida Rivera O’Reilly, Jean Forde, Novelle Francis and Marvin Blyden. Photos: http://www.legvi.org/committeemeetings/Media                                                       ### 

Immediate Release – Finance Committee Resumes Budget Hearings on Tuesday, July 10, 2018

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For Immediate Release
July 9, 2018

St. Croix—The Committee on Finance resumes budget hearings tomorrow, Tuesday. July 10, 2018 in the Earle B. Ottley Legislative Hall on St. Thomas.
The Committee is scheduled to consider three departmental Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Proposals beginning with the Department of Justice at 9:00 a.m.;, 1:00 PM, Public Services Commission and at 3:00 PM the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

VI Legislature Closes Territorial Wide Due to Inclement Weather

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Press Release for For Immediate Release
July 9, 2018

St. Croix

The Legislature of the Virgin Islands is closed today due the inclement weather, according to Senate President Myron D. Jackson. However, Maintenance and Custodian Divisions are to report and assess the situation and may leave. Security staff are to maintain their stations as directed. The Legislature will reopen tomorrow territory wide with regular hours. “We do apologize for any in
convenience that this may cause said the Senate President. “However, I pray that everyone take the necessary precautions and to be safe,” concluded Senate President Myron D. Jackson.

BILL TO BAN PLASTIC STRAWS HELD IN COMMITTEE

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ST. THOMAS- Members of the Committee on Government Affairs, Veterans, Energy and Environmental Protection Consumer Affairs an Culture chaired by Sen. Sammuel Sanes, held a meeting at the Capitol Building on Wednesday and voted to hold in committee Bill No. 32-0220 to extend the ban on plastic bags to include disposable drinking straws and to allow the sale of reusable drinking straws.

“Banning plastic straws is not the only way to save the environment. However, it is a step forward. Our quality of life is related to how we manage our waste. I have engaged in numerous beach clean-ups, and the plastic straws are the hardest to clean up,” said Sen. Janelle Sarauw, Sponsor of the bill. “We have to educate the community on the long-term effects that plastic straws have on the environment.”

According to the study of National Park Service and Clemson University collaborated with the NOAA Marine Debris Program to collect and analyze beach sediments and found that the V.I. National Park had the highest rate of microplastics; totaling 444 pieces of microplastics per kg of sand.

“Can you expound on microplastics?” asked Sen. Marvin Blyden. In response, Kitty Edwards, Education & Outreach Coordinator for the Coastal Zone Management Division of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) said, “As plastics spend time outside they slowly break-up into smaller pieces called microplastics that marine life can mistake for food; sometimes with fatal results.”

Sen. Tregenza Roach inquired about alternatives to plastic straws. Harith Wickerman, President of Island Green Living Association, stated that compostable straws or paper straws made with the environmentally friendly material, reusable straws made of metal, glass or bamboo and Lolistraw which is an edible drinking straw made from seaweed.

“How will businesses absorb the cost of using alternative straws?” asked Sen. Janette Millin Young? Edwards stated that the upside to this measure is that straw replacements are not a necessity. Straws are a luxury item. Businesses do not have to replace them. Sen. Sanes stated that for some people with medical challenges may need to drink out of a straw.

Lawmakers stated that amendments are necessary for this measure to ensure consumers are not adversely affected. Sen. Roach said, “Businesses may save money by not buying straws, but it can create a financial burden for consumers who will not see a change in the price of products and services. The consumer may have to pay for straw if they want one. This problem is similar to the plastic bag ban.” Co-Sponsor of the Bill Sen. Myron Jackson added that this is a concern because the intent of this bill is not supposed to become a financial burden to consumers.

Separately, senators also received testimony on Bill No. 32-0062 – An Act amending title 12 Virgin Islands Code, by adding a chapter 3A establishing the Community and Heritage Tree Law of the Virgin Islands.

“This legislation intends to maintain public trees, establish a Virgin Islands Tree Board, and pruning or removal of trees that are hazardous to the environment. It also provides a guide to have an urban forest in planting trees on the roadside,” said Sen. Jackson, Sponsor of the Bill.

Sean Krigger, Acting Director and Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer for the V.I. Historic Preservation Office of DPNR offered recommended changes to the measure. “The Department requests that clarification on what the assistance of enforcement to the Department of Agriculture under the provision of the bill or to remove Section 145 “Enforcement” subsection (b) which requires the Territorial Forester to request assistance from DPNR in the enforcement chapter.”

Similarly, Commissioner Carlos Robles of the V.I. Department of Agriculture (VIDOA) stated that amendments to the bill are necessary because DOA cannot sustain fiscal responsibility. “The bill as proposed places the responsibility for determining the funding amount on VIDOA and this is a challenge. We are willing to work with the Governor’s staff, the Office of Management and Budget, the Dept. of Finance and this body to accomplish this mandate.”

Senators present are Sammuel Sanes, Janelle Sarauw, Janette Millin Young, Myron Jackson, Tregenza Roach, and Marvin Blyden.  Photos: http://www.legvi.org/committeemeetings/Media                                           ### 

THE VIRGIN ISLANDS CARNIVAL COMMITTEE SHARES AN UPDATE

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ST. THOMAS- Members of the Committee on Workforce Development, Consumer Affairs an Culture chaired by Sen. Janelle Sarauw, held a meeting at the Capitol Building on Wednesday, to receive testimony on the status updates of the Virgin Islands Carnival Committee (VICC). Sen. Sarauw expressed disappointment of the absence of VICC’S board members.

“We have rescheduled this meeting, and yet the carnival chair, vice chair, and treasurer are absent. It saddens me that we are holding this meeting and only the Executive Chair is present,” said Sen. Sarauw. Sen. Nereida O’Reilly stated that the Executive Director was sent as a sacrificial lamb.

Separately, Executive Director of VICC Halvor Hart shared the update. “After being hit with two category five hurricanes, our focus was to provide entertainment for the enjoyment of our residents of the V.I. to help relieve, and I believe that was achieved,” said Director Hart. He added that with the absence of hotel rooms and limited flights, there was a significant reduction in carnival tourism from people who regularly attend carnival festivities.

VICC’s revenues and expenses ending June 30, 2018, of the St. Thomas Carnival totaled $898,170. The financial breakdown is as follows: $139,670 for operations, $213,500 for sponsorships, and $545,000 from the Government of the Virgin Islands. However, the total expenses totaled $928,250. The expenditures included construction, ground transportation, hospitality, electricity, freight, hotel, office supplies, prizes, printing, professional services, rental, salary, security, security, and shipping.

In a line of questioning, Sen. Sarauw inquired about the revenues and expenses of VICC.

“Do you have a copy of all financial contracts present at this meeting?” In response, Executive Director of VICC Halvor Hart stated that he does not. “Can you share the breakdown of the accounting of VICC?” asked Sen. Sarauw. Director Hart stated that the budget would be ready by the budget hearing held by the Committee on Finance. Sen. Janette Millin Young stated that it is essential for VICC to remain updated with their finances because the public is concerned with the allocation of funds and its expenditures. People are not happy when they are not informed.

“Who is responsible for record or bookkeeping for VICC?” asked Sen. Millin Young. Director Hart said, “The treasurer oversees record keeping. However, post-Hurricanes Irma and Maria the VICC office were destroyed, and the offices relocated. The cabinets holding all financial records were compromised and are currently being restructured.”

Sen. Sarauw said, “VICC could inhibit corporate donors if all monies are accounted. Legislation will be drafted for VICC to fall under the Virgin Islands Department of Tourism.”

Senators present are Janelle Sarauw, Janette Millin Young, Myron Jackson, and Nereida Rivera O’Reilly.  Photos: http://www.legvi.org/committeemeetings/Media                                           ### 

BILL AS IT RELATES TO APPRENTICESHIP STANDARDS MOVES FORWARD DURING DAY TWO OF LEGISLATIVE SESSION

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ST. THOMAS- Members of the 32nd Legislature, chaired by Senate President Myron Jackson, convened in day two of Legislative Session at the Capitol Building on Friday, to vote and approve the remaining measures on the agenda including Bill 32-0179-An Act amending Title 24, Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 10, Sections 221, 228 and 230 as it relates to the apprenticeship standards.

During debate time, senators discussed Amendment No. 32-729 to Bill No. 32. 0179. The amendment states that for the sum of $125,000 is appropriated in the fiscal year ending on September 30, 2018, from the General Fund to the Election System to fund the 2018 primary elections. “Why are we using taxpayer’s monies for what is a Democratic Party primary election?” asked Sen. Positive Nelson. “The Democratic Party is established enough to fund their convention. The Board of Elections should do their job with integrity.”

However, Sen. Neville James said, “I would prefer that the monies are used to grow the Independent Party. That will create a competition that is healthy. What we want is an independent entity that the Board of elections can conduct the primaries. This is how the Democratic Party funds their primaries nationwide.” Ultimately, senators voted in favor of this amendment.

Lawmakers also debated Amendment No. 32-718 to Bill No. 32- 0179 for the Legislature of the Virgin Islands shall return any money taken from the salaries of employees of the Legislature pursuant to section 4 of Act 7261. “I am asking for mercy on behalf of the employees. The monies did not assist with the economic use of the Virgin Islands instead it went somewhere else. They are hurting and they need their money too. I circulated an opinion from the Legal Counsel and it states, “Failure to remit the 8% of its employee’s salaries to the General Fund,” debated Sen. Alicia “Chucky” Hansen.

In opposition, Sen. Jean Forde stated that we are all in favor of paying employees adequate salary. “I believe there is a proper way to do things. We haven’t done research to promise you monies for the increase 30 days after the law is enacted. Let us make sure we have the monies to do it.” Ultimately, lawmakers voted it down and the amendment failed.

Separately, senators shared their remarks on the bill. Sen. Tregenza Roach expressed his support for Bill No. 32-0179 as it relates to the apprenticeship standards. “In the absence of career and technical training, it is good for young people to receive on hands training in technical professions.”

Similarly, Sen. Marvin Blyden stated that Bill No. 32-0179 Mandates the V.I. Department of Labor (VIDOL) to assist individuals to get jobs, it also requires VIDOL to conduct an annual analysis of the job market and to share it with the Board of Education and other entities. The bill requires VIDOL to follow job market trends which are used to tailor and groom young people for these professional areas.

Policymakers also expressed their sentiments on additional bills on the agenda.

Referring to Bill No. 32-0226- A Resolution encouraging the people of the Virgin Islands to observe July 22nd as a remembrance of the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria and as a supplication for protection during the 2018 Hurricane Season; Sen. Positive Nelson said, “I am wondering why July 22nd was selected as a day of observance. I don’t know the importance of that date. People should be grateful and appreciative of life after experiencing two hurricanes. Do you need a law to tell you that?”

Sponsor of the Bill, Sen. Jackson expounded on the measure. “In reviewing the law as it relates to observing a hurricane, eventually it was removed as a paid holiday in the government. The selected date of June 22nd was the original day now recognized in the third week in June. With the removal of the paid holiday, the revised the law states that the following Sunday from the original date is the new date of observance.”

Separately, Sen. Alicia “Chucky” Hansen stated that she does not support Bill No. 32-0212 to allow for the pronouncement of death by registered nurses, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. “There is another aspect about this bill that not covered; and its liability. If a nurse or physician wrongfully or untimely pronounced someone’s death that creates a liability for the special homes or hospice. A doctor should only pronounce time of death. That liability should not be on nurses.”

However, Sen. Francis stated that the bill was vetted and expressed his support. “Initially, I had my reservations with this bill. It is critical, and we should be mindful that when we have a death situation, people wait hours for morgue to arrive to the facility and make a proper announcement. Nurses and physicians should be authorized to do this for people who are in hospice care facilities and are facing terminal illness.”

Similarly, Sen. Jackson said, “Bill No. 32-0212 provides a means that when relative decided to send a family member to a facility for terminal illness, it allows for a peaceful transition for the patient. Physicians of that facility should have the ability to pronounce their death. Some states implemented this measure already.”

Lawmakers voted and approved the following:

 

  • Bill No. 30-0179- An Act amending Title 24, Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 10, Sections 221, 228 and 230 relating to the apprenticeship standards as amended

 

  • Bill No. 32-0177-An Act amending Title 27, Virgin Islands Code, Chapter I, Subchapter IV, Section 97(a) relating to renewal of nursing licenses

 

  • Bill No. 32-0197- An Act amending Title 19 Virgin Islands Code by adding a new chapter 68 entitled “Animal Shelters providing a minimum standard of care for sheltered animals

 

  • Bill No. 32-0212- An Act amending Title 19 Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 37, Subchapter III, adding Section 870 to allow for the pronouncement of death by registered nurses, physician assistants and nurse practitioners

 

  • Bill No. 0226- A Resolution encouraging the people of Virgin Islands to observe July 22, 2018 as a remembrance of the devastation and human suffering caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria and as supplication for protection during the 2018 hurricane season

 

  • Bill No. 32-0185- An Act amending title 23 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 10 section 1005 relating to the Governor of the Virgin Islands and emergencies and major disasters

 

  • Bill No. 32-0227-A Act amending Title 27 Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 4A, subsection 202, subsection (b) changing the amount of years, from two to four years, that five of the seven board members of the Virgin Islands Board of Licensed Counselors and Examiners are to be appointed

 

  • Bill No. 32-0228- An Act amending Title 19, Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 16, section 245a relating to the Government Hospitals and Health Facilities Corporation’s competitive bidding process to require advertisement for bids to be published through electronic media or in the newspapers of general circulation, and to make technical amendments

 

  • Bill No. 32-0229- An Act amending Title 23, Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 10 Subchapter 1, section 1004 requiring the Government of the Virgin Islands to enter into contracts before June 1st of each year in preparedness for hurricane season or any emergency or major disaster

 

All bills approved will be forwarded to the Governor for further consideration.

Senators present are Myron Jackson, Positive Nelson, Tregenza Roach, Alicia “Chucky” Hansen, Janette Millin Young, Janelle Sarauw, Nereida Rivera O’Reilly, Brian Smith, Marvin Blyden, Novelle Francis, Jean Forde, Neville James, Kurt Vialet and Sammuel Sanes.

Photo: http://www.legvi.org/committeemeetings/Media                                                                        ###

OVERIDES, A RESOLUTION, COASTAL ZONE PERMITS AND BILLS MOVES FORWARD

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ST.THOMAS- Members of the 32nd Legislature, chaired by Senate President Myron Jackson, convened in Legislative Session at the Capitol Building on Thursday, to vote on items on the agenda to include overrides, a resolution, coastal zone permits/requests, and bills. All measures approved will be forwarded to the governor for further consideration.

Lawmakers voted favorably for the override of three bills vetoed by Governor Kenneth Mapp. As a result, enacted into law is the following: Bill No. 32-0002 to authorize the V.I. Government to purchase the Estate Catherineberg from WICO and for other purposes; Bill No. 32-0175 to grant the Economic Development Commission more autonomy; and Bill No. 32-0024 to provide for the position of Curator and to establish the Preservation of Historic Government Collections Act and other purposes.

Senators also voted and approved Bill No. 32-0170- A Resolution honoring and commending Lorna Lenise Freeman for her outstanding charitable performances to the community and her many contributions to the people of the Virgin Islands and for being a true ambassadress of the Virgin Islands.

“It is no question that those who have known Lorna has acknowledged that she was born with a gift. She is a human instrument. The early years of her church engagement was instrumental in who she is as a woman and songstress,” said Sen. Jackson “It is unfortunate that many times in our community, we tend to overlook what is required to become a professional and to live that gift. Lorna has lived like that over the years and as a result, never dropped her standards. We honor you as one of our national treasures.”

Sen. Nereida River O’Reilly “I am increasingly impressed with her voice each time she sings. It is an honor to support this resolution because Lorna is truly a national treasure.”

Separately, policymakers shared their remarks for the zoning requests. Sen. Dwayne DeGraff said, “I rise in support of these bills. There are issues in which DPNR did not support some of the zoning requests for various reasons. However, recommendations were m, and now it is being followed through.”

Sen. Janette Millin Young stated that people are always inquiring about the Senate passing measures to improve the economy. When in fact supporting zoning requests like these in which residents want to be entrepreneurs is one way of achieving that task.

Sen. Jackson said, “The zonings before us speaks to economic development. Local Virgin Islanders who desire to go out and start a business. The issue of zoning which includes the land and water use plan, we can’t continue to kick down the road. These islands are beautiful, but we still must ensure that we maintain their beauty.

Senators voted and approved the following:

  • Bill No. 32-0200-An Act granting the variance for Plot No. 17 of Parcel No. 2 Estate Concordia. West End Quarter, St. Croix, Virgin Islands, to allow for a retail clothing store and a bakery

 

  • Bill No. 32-0217-An Act Rezoning Plot No. 56 of Parcel No. 67 of Estate Mount Welcome. Estate End Quarter ‘A’ St. Croix from R-2 (Residential-Low Density -One and Two Family) to R-3 (Residential-Medium Density)

 

  • Bill No. 32-0219- An Act to amend Official Zoning Map SCZ-6 to allow for the rezoning of Plot No. 10-Dl Estate Constitution Hill, Queen’s Quarter, St. Croix, Virgin Islands for R-1 (Residential-Low Density) to R-2 (Residential-Low-Density-One and Two Family)

 

  • Bill No. 32-0222- An Act granting a zoning use variance for Plot No. 2 AF Estate Upper Love, Prince Quarter, St. Croix, Virgin Islands, to allow a guest house to be used as a bed and breakfast business

 

  • Bill No. 32-0223- An Act amending Official Zoning Map SCZ-12 by rezoning Plot No. 1-C Estate Clifton Hill, King Quarter, St. Croix, Virgin Islands, from C(Commercial, to B-2 (Business- Secondary/Neighborhood)

 

  • Bill No. 32-0055 – An Act providing for the Virgin Islands Department of Public Works to replace public parking signs that refer to “Handicap Parking”, making an appropriation from the Transportation Trust Fund for replacement of parking signs and for other related purposes

 

  • Bill No, 32-0064 – An Act amending Title 3 Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 24, Section 431 providing for the establishment of a registry for persons 60 years and older with disabilities living alone

 

  • Bill No. 32-0129 – An Act amending Title 14 of the Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 3A relating to human trafficking to enact the Virgin Islands Uniform Prevention of and Remedies of Human Trafficking Act and amend Title 5, Chapter 303, Section 3541 relating to the statute of limitations for prosecuting the crime of Human Trafficking

 

  • Bill No. 32-0146 – An Act honoring and commending Irvin “Brownie” Brown, Sr., for his significant contributions to the culture and music of the Virgin Islands by renaming the portion of General Gade, which runs from the intersection of Veterans Drive up to the intersection of Silke Gade “The Irvin “Brownie” Brown, Sr. Road

 

  • Bill No. 32-0148 – An Act amending Title 1, Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 11 by adding section 200i establishing the Month of May as Virgin Islands Stroke Awareness Month

 

  • Bill No. 32-0179 – An Act amending Title 24, Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 10, Sections 221, 228 and 230, relating to the apprenticeship standards

Senators present are Myron Jackson, Positive Nelson, Tregenza Roach, Alicia “Chucky” Hansen, Janette Millin Young, Janelle Sarauw, Dwayne DeGraff, Nereida Rivera O’Reilly, Brian Smith, Marvin Blyden, Novelle Francis, Jean Forde, Neville James, Kurt Vialet and Sammuel Sanes

Photo: http://www.legvi.org/committeemeetings/Media                                                                        ###

RULES AND JUDICIARY COMMITTEE GIVES THUMBS UP ON HEALTH BILLS

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ST. CROIX- The Committee on Rules and Judiciary chaired by Senator Novelle Francis, Jr., held a hearing on Wednesday in the Virgin Islands Cardiac Center at the Juan F. Luis Hospital, St. Croix to vote on three pieces of proposed legislation sponsored by Senator Nereida Rivera-O’Reilly.

The measures were Bill No. 32-0197 an Act amending the Virgin Islands Code providing a minimum standard of care for sheltered animals; Bill No. 32-0177, relating to renewal of nursing licenses; and Bill No. 32-0212, to allow for the pronouncement of death by registered nurses, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.

As it relates to Bill No. 32-00212 which allow for registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants to announce when hospice patients, committee members pointed out that existing laws law requires that such pronouncement must be done by a physician or corner, depending on the island district.

The Bill was amended to incorporate a suggestion by Attorney General Claude Walker at a public hearing on May 30th to require that the attending physician for hospice center selects the registered nurse, nurse practitioner or physician assistant who would be authorized to pronounce the death of a hospice patient.

Bill No. 32-0197 seeks to provide a minimum standard of care for sheltered animals was amended and now would give the Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture (DOA) authority to regulate animal shelters, pet shops, pet groomers and breeders to ensure they meet the minimum standards of care.

The amendment also clarified the Bill’s intent and reduced the requirement for DOA to conduct two inspections per year, as well as to allow for a warning to be issued prior to fines of $250.00 for a first infraction of the new law and $500.00 for a second within the same year.

Bill No. 32-0177, relating to the renewal of nursing licenses, which are required every two years, was amended to allow the board to renew licenses for nurses at different times throughout the year based on their birthdates which would ease the burden of the Board to make the renewal process quicker and more efficient.

All three Bills were voted on and given favorable recommendations to the Full Body for further consideration.

Committee members at the Rules and Judiciary hearing on Wednesday were: Chairman Senator Novelle Francis Jr., Jean Forde, Myron Jackson, Sammuel Sanes, and Janette Millin Young. Non-Committee members were: Senators Nereida Rivera-O’Reilly, Brian Smith, Marvin Blyden, Kurt Vialet, Dwayne DeGraff, and Janelle Sarauw.

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COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HEARS BUSINESS ZONING REQUESTS

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ST. CROIX- The Committee of the Whole held a zoning request hearing on Thursday in the Great Hall, the University of the Virgin Islands at the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix. Chaired by Senator Myron D. Jackson, the committee heard from several individuals seeking approval of zoning requests and use variances.
 
Petitioners Luis and Ludymar Ortiz requested to rezone Plot No. 56 of Parcel No. 67 Estate Mount Welcome to R-3 (residential-medium density) from R-2 (residential low density-one and two family). The applicants intend to construct a three-story, two-family dwelling. They will reside in one unit and have the second unit available for a family.
 
Luis Ortiz said he applied for the zoning change because he is building a three-story home on stilts and he wants to enclose the bottom portion to build an apartment. According to Leia LaPlace, Department of Natural Resources Territorial Planner, the home would be allowed on the property as it is currently zoned if the owners didn’t plant to enclose the bottom portion.
 
Petitioner Justina Barbour (authorized agent, Monique Dass) requested a use variance be granted to the R-2 (residential-low density-one and two family) zoned Plot No. 17 of Parcel No.2 Estate Concordia, St. Croix. The purpose stated is to place two containers on the property, of which one will be used as a bakery and the second will be used as a retail clothing store.
 
Dass said she was told by DPNR in due diligence, the containers can be used as proposed if they look like they are part of the house, so they will be covered with wood and painted to blend in with the house.
 
Petitioners Timothy and Marie Granderson requested two separate zonings and variances. The first is to amend Zoning on No.SCZ-12 C (commercial) to B-2 (Business-Secondary/Neighborhood) for Plot No. 1-C Estate Clifton Hill. The proposal is to first relocate the business activity of Freight Forwarding Service with accessory Warehouse & Storage services onto Plot No. 168 Estate Clifton Hill and to allow occupancy of the first floor by various business tenants and the second floor by a guesthouse.
 
The second request is the relocation from Plot No. 1-C Estate Clifton Hill of the applicants’ business activity, Freight Forwarding Services with accessory Warehouse & Storage Services doing business as Distance Freight. DPNR’s LaPlace-Matthew gave a mixed recommendation on the two applications that were submitted by Distance Freight. She recommended denying the application request, nothing opposition from neighbors.
Petitioner Hans Lawaetz requested that a use variance is granted to the A-1 (Agricultural Zone) Plot no. 2AF Estate Upper Love, St. Croix to use the guesthouse as a bed and breakfast. According to him, he has received several requests from potential tenants asking if space is available for rent, so he and his wife decided it would be a good business move to start a bed and breakfast business.
 
Petitioner Wendy Phoenix for plot No.10-D Estate Constitution Hill on St. Croix from R-1 (residential-low-density) to R-2 (residential-low density-one and two family). The purpose is so that it can be consolidated with an adjacent property and then re-subdivided.
 
Members present during the zoning hearing: Senators Myron Jackson, Nereida Rivera-O’Reilly, Jean Forde, Brian Smith, Marvin Blyden, Janette Millin-Young, Positive Nelson, Tregenza Roach, Kurt Vialet, Dwayne DeGraff and Novelle Francis.
 
 
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