Category: Senator Janelle K. Sarauw

2ND ANNUAL STENOGRAPHER’S DAY

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ST. THOMAS- The Office of Sen. Janelle Sarauw and the Legislature of the Virgin Islands Division of Reporters collaborated to host the 2nd Annual Stenographer’s Day held at the Capitol Building on Friday. The event showcases the tasks, duties and career opportunities of stenographers to a group of high school students.

“The purpose of today is to expose the youths to the profession of stenography as they begin to explore career possibilities,” said Sen. Janelle Sarauw. “Young people will have an opportunity to learn from professionals in the field who are passionate about stenography and look forward to sharing their profession and experiences.”

Sen. Donna Frett-Gregory stated that this is one of the most awesome professions. Lawmakers are researching scholarships to support students who want to pursue a career as a stenographer or a court reporter.

Guest panelists are the Legislative Reporters Tricia Sealey, Casmus Caines, Vashti Berry, and Nataya Munoz; Retired Legislative Reporter Desiree Francis; Official Reporters for the Superior Court are Kai M. Mulley, Suzette Descartes, and Jasmine Wadie-Francis; Freelance Reporters Noreen Surge and Verdell Porter; Student Reporter Joyann Morris.

The 2nd Annual Stenographer’s Day is in conjunction with the 2019 NCRA National Court Reporting and Captioning Week which is recognized annually on February 9th-16th. The event creates awareness of court reporting and captioning. Throughout the week, participants learn about the various aspects of the profession to include salaries.  The National Court Reporting and Captioning Week is an effort to recruit career seekers to meet the high demand for employment opportunities in the trade.

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BILL TO RENAME THE V.I. CASINO CONTROL COMMISSION BUILDING “THE EILEEN R. PETERSON CASINO CONTROL COMMISSION BUILDING” MOVES FORWARD

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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 vote and approve Bill No. 32-0193-An Act to honor and commend the Honorable Eileen R. Peterson for her service to the community, to name the Virgin Islands Casino Control Commission Building in her honor and to make an appropriation. The measure will be forwarded to the Committee on Rules and Judiciary for further consideration.

“We should honor our own,” said Sen. Sarauw. “As a female politician, we are often judged by society. It is my impression that Judge Peterson broke the glass with water pouring down from the ceiling. She paved the way for many of us.”

Judge Peterson was the first female Judge in the Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands.  She was also the first appointed chairwoman of the Virgin Islands Casino Control Commission. She was responsible for establishing the foundation, educating board members on the regulatory rules and guidelines, and was an advocate for the community by disseminating positive information to uplift young people through “The Village” a group dedicated to raising the youths.

In a written testimony submitted by Henry Smock, Esq. He commended Judge Peterson for her compassionate demeanor towards everyone. “Even in the most trying of criminal and civil cases, she never lost her composure and treated all litigants that came before her with decency and respect.”

Gizette Thomas, Esq. The successor of Judge Peterson as chairwoman of the Commission stated that the judge touched the lives of many people. “Judge Peterson’s name is theoretically eternal, as is evident from her legacy of first and documented history of positive impact in this community. Her name provides stability and trustworthiness representative of sound decisions.”

“I was brought on board with the Commission as an Inspector,” said Henry Schjang. “Judge Peterson ensured that the entire staff at the Casino Control Commission were properly educated and trained in the gaming industry. Judge Peterson sent the staff to be trained by the experts in the field and would often test us by asking a question as it relates to the rules.”

The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Novelle Francis shared his remarks. She was a trailblazer and laid the groundwork for members of the Commission. The Territory will reap the benefits of her tenacity for many years to come.

Sen. Brian Smith stated that it takes one with the right amount of courage to keep pushing. Fortitude and courage are what’s required, and Judge Peterson embodies both.

In accordance to Section 4 of the bill, in recognition and appreciation of her contributions to the people of the Virgin Islands, the President of the Legislature of the President’s designee shall present to Judge Eileen R. Peterson, or her representative, a perma copy of this act at the appropriate ceremony.                                                                                                                                ###

PLASTIC BAG BAN EXTENDS TO INCLUDE PLASTIC STRAWS

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ST. THOMAS– The Committee on Government Affairs, Veterans, Energy & Environmental Protection, chaired by Sen. Sammuel Sanes, convened on Wednesday to receive testimony amending the plastic bag ban to include disposable plastic straws and other measures.

Amendment No. 32-740 for Bill No. 32-0220, an Act amending Title 29 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 8 sought to extend the ban on plastic bags to include disposable, plastic drinking straws and to allow the sale of reusable drinking straws. Bill sponsor, Sen. Janelle Sarauw, introduced Amendment No. 32-740 to insert a definition for plastic tubular stirrer, prohibit businesses from purchasing and importing plastic disposable straws and stirrers. The measure proposed excluded hospitals, nursing homes and medical supply retailers. “As small as straws may be, they leave a lasting impact on our marine environment. We have already lost 80 percent of our coral reef cover in the Caribbean region,” stated Sen. Sarauw. The measure proposed does not apply to hospitals, nursing homes and medical supply retailers.

“I understand the concerns expressed about imported products with straws attached but excluding those items in this amendment does not address the problem at hand,” said Sen. Tregenza Roach. He commended the sponsors and the amendments brought forth in today’s hearing and recommended that the language of the measure and any amendment should be consistent with its purpose. Sen. Nereida Rivera-O’Reilly stated, “This amendment is a step in the right direction and an opportunity for us to change our footprint and reduce the amount of plastic waste generated in our territory.”

Sen. Alicia “Chucky” Hansen previously voted against the bill, citing lack of community input and unclear language for her decision. “The issue regarding our environment is always viable, but it must be done with caution,” she stated. Sen. Marvin Blyden added, “I agree that the Bill needs more work in regard to enforcement within our communities, as plastic bags are still being offered to residents.”

Amendment 32-740 was forwarded to the Committee on Rules and Judiciary for further consideration.

Bill No. 32-0204, an Act amending Title 12 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 16A by redefining “government agency” and by defining “communications provider”, and requiring that a government agency that installs, relocates, or improves conduits within the public rights-of-way, including a government agency that receives federal funding for such work, ensure that the conduit is of sufficient size to accommodate use by multiple communication providers for their use in providing service, or to permit a communications provider to install its own conduit at its option and cost. “This policy is not new, it has been implemented across the nation in an attempt to reduce the costs of deploying utilities and underground construction,” added Sen. O’Reilly. “It also expands broadband access to rural areas in our community.”

The government agency must also place handholes and manholes for fiber access and pulling with respect to such conduit, must provide reasonable notice to communication providers, and must ensure that any requesting communication provider has access to the conduit for a charge not to exceed a cost-based rate. “I don’t understand the need for this bill based on the research conducted, there is some degree of suggestion that this would impact VInGn and I must err on the side of caution,” expressed Sen. Forde. Members present favorably approved and forwarded Bill No. 32-0204 to the Committee on Rules and Judiciary.

Committee members present at Wednesday’s hearing were Chairman Sammuel Sanes, Senators Jean Forde, Marvin Blyden, Nereida Rivera-O’Reilly, Tregenza Roach, Alicia “Chucky” Hansen and Janette Millin Young.

 

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LEGISLATIVE HOME NOW ON THE HORIZON FOR THE BIG ISLAND

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ST. CROIX– Senate President Myron D. Jackson and Vice-President Nereida Rivera-O’Reilly announced early today that a new site for the Legislature on St. Croix has been procured.

“We are excited to have a place to call home, our central and senatorial staff have worked in two separate locations far longer than we anticipated,” said Vice-President O’Reilly.

Shortly after Hurricane Maria’s passage, an active search began for a temporary legislative home to meet the needs of the general public.

The Legislature of the Virgin Islands currently operates out of two offices in Christiansted; 1108 King Street and #36-C Strand Street. “Immediately following the hurricanes, we began to explore our options for relocation. We attempted to reach out to the Office of the Governor for assistance. Upon being turned down, our efforts led us to the two properties we have been operating out of since January.”

“When I took office at the beginning of this term, I made a statement regarding the welfare of the employees of this Institution. It did not sit well with the local media and members of our community. I made a commitment to improving the standard of health, and quality of life for our employees on St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas.”

“I am reminded of the many locations of the Legislature we leased on Contentment Road and most recently at the Lagoon Street Complex. “It pained us greatly to have to move out of Frederiksted after Hurricane Maria,” he added.

Senate President Jackson noted the ongoing discussions pertaining to the impact of mold, and severe flooding conditions, and sewage issues in Frederiksted. The Members of the 32nd Legislature agreed that it was time to deal with it rather than deferring it to the next Body.

“We are looking forward to new beginnings at our new location, where people can come to the institution and be proud of not just the Senate, but what the building signifies for the community of St. Croix,” O’Reilly concluded.

This has been a long, frustrating road, said Jackson. “We are pleased to announce today that we have secured a safe, habitable working environment for our Staff and look forward to our continued productivity as the First Branch of Government,” concluded Senate President Jackson.

 

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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                                           ### 

LIMETREE BAY TERMINALS, LLC ARGUES FOR MAJOR CZM PERMIT

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ST. CROIX--The Committee of the Whole, chaired by Senate President Myron D. Jackson, met on Wednesday in the Virgin Islands Cardiac Center of the Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center where testimony was given on a Major Coastal Zone Management Permit.

Senators heard from several Limetree Bay Terminals L.L.C. management Executives regarding Major CZM Permit CZX-29-17 for a Single Point Mooring (SPM) to be constructed on the south of St. Croix. The project’s activities will be specifically located seaward of Limetree Bay Terminals, LLC Terminal Plot No. 9 Reclaimed Land, Christiansted.

In his testimony, Jason Gleason, Maine Terminal Pilot and Captain for Limetree Bay Terminals, said as Lead Superintendent in the Marine Department and Project Lead on the SPM Project, Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) are some of the largest vessels in the world often over 1100ft long and 200ft, wide and may have a draft of over 700ft.

He added that historically to call on St. Croix, a VLCC would need to be roughly half loaded, and so, this project will enable their customers to transport crude to and from the facility in full loaded VLCC, offering a much more efficient operation.

According to Gleason, the Limetree Bay SPM will transfer crude oil to and from the facility and with the upgraded crude pumps completed last year, they can load out at approximately 45,000 barrels per hour. He pointed out that, the SPM project has been designed to Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF); United States Coast Guard (USCG) and American Bureau #56 King Street, Hamilton House, Christiansted, St. Croix 00820 340-773-2424, Fax: 340-712-2397, E-mail: publicaffairs@legvi.org of Shipping (ABS) standard. Furthermore, the entire system is designed to withstand the extreme conditions often found in in the Caribbean region.

Senators, who expressed their concerns as they relate to the project’s impact on the ecosystem, was given assurance by Gleason that after an extensive environmental assessment and re-routing of the project to minimize environmental impact, it was determined that a few corals were still in the pathway of the project.

According to him, these corals will be transplanted well clear of the project by their environmental contractor, Bio Impact. They will also be constructing a man-made reef to provide additional habitat where some of the coral will be transplanted on both the south and north shores of St. Croix in areas already approved by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR).

Gleason added that during construction, Bio Impact will be monitoring for turbidity, the effect on wildlife, and any other issues. Moreover, Bioimpact will stop the work immediately if any issues arise, and that they will work with DPNR and the federal government to remedy prior to resumption of construction.

In respect to local employment, Gleason told Senators that many of the materials to construct have been procured and delivered to St. Croix, and with the ratification by the legislature, they will commence construction as soon as possible. The construction phase, he added, will result in employment for laborers, concrete workers, welders, inspectors and painters on St. Croix.

Other testifiers for Limetree Bay Terminals were: Joyce Wakefield, Environmental Specialist; Amy Dempsey, President of Bio Impact; and Jeff Gorman, Engineer, Lloyds Engineers. Senators at Wednesday’s Committee of Whole Hearing were: Senate President, Myron D. Jackson, Vice-President, Rivera-O’Reilly, Jean A. Forde, Neville A. James, Marvin A. Blyden, Dwayne DeGraff, Novelle E. Francis, Jr., Alicia “Chucky” Hansen, Positive T.A. Nelson, Tregenza A. Roach, Sammuel Sanes, Janelle K. Sarauw, Brian A. Smith, and Kurt A. Vialet.

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REGISTERED APPRENTICESHIP MEASURE AND RESOLUTIONS PASS FAVORABLY TO RULES COMMITTEE

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ST. THOMAS On Thursday, the Committee on Workforce Development, Consumer Affairs & Culture convened at the Earle B. Ottley Legislative Hall. Chaired by Sen. Janelle K. Sarauw, the Committee received testimony and consider several measures related to Registered Apprenticeship and resolutions honoring Irvin “Brownie” Browne and Lorna L. Freeman.

Bill No. 32-0179, An Act amending title 24 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 10, (title 24, chapter 10, sections 230, 228, and 221) which would allow for the Virgin Islands Department of Labor (VIDOL) to comply with the federal code, CFR 29.13 (a)(1) and fulfill the final requirement for VIDOL to be recognized as a State Apprenticeship Agency. Proposed by Sen. Janelle Sarauw, the Bill involves the input of numerous agencies to provide the skills in demand according to labor market information and trends.

Catherine L. Hendry, Esq., Commissioner of the Dept. of Labor stated, “It needs to be a collaborative effort by High schools, Technical schools, UVI and employers in both public and private sectors. We need a workforce pipeline.” “The Dept. of Education, when called to testify asked, what does this bill have to do with them? It’s sad that the players involved have no idea what affects them,” added Chairwoman Sarauw. Post-hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Retail/Hospitality & Leisure industries are predicted to be impacted until the first quarter of 2019.

“Our people are being left behind. I understand that this is a collaborative effort, but I need assurances. When I speak to residents about using the resources at the Dept. of Labor, they are frustrated. They watch planes fly in full of workers, watching boats arrive on the South shore of St. Croix claiming we don’t have the skill set to complete these jobs. Our people are being left behind,” said Sen. Brian Smith. Construction is currently the main industry demand sector, while the demand for trained workers in the Healthcare, Information Technology, Business Administration, Trade and Transportation industries remain consistent. The measure for Registered Apprenticeship was favorably approved and forwarded to the Committee on Rules & Judiciary for further consideration.

Bill No. 32-0146, a Resolution honoring and commending Irvin “Brownie” Brown, Sr. for his significant contributions to the culture and music of the Virgin Islands. “Anyone who has ever met Brownie will tell you, he lives under a love umbrella that he is always happy to share. You may cross paths even for a moment, but you will remember that full smile, his warmth, and his intent to make your moment better, your life greater,” stated colleague Anita Davis. In commemoration of his many contributions to the islands, the portion of General Gade, which runs from the intersection of Veterans Drive up to the intersection of Silke Gade is renamed “The Irvin “Brownie” Brown, Sr. Road”. Sponsored by Sen. Dwayne DeGraff, the measure was favorably approved and forwarded to the Committee on Rules & Judiciary for further consideration.

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. The President of the Legislature or the President’s designee shall prepare and present a perma plaque copy of this resolution and the official Key to the Territory at an appropriate ceremony.

Jo Sandra Jones-James, Music Educator testified, “The Songstress firmly believes that Music is the universal language of the world, and as such, there is much responsibility to share and give back as much as possible. To this end, Lorna prides herself on the outreach work and musical collaborations she has had with her USVI community over the years.” Sponsored by Senators Janelle Sarauw and Dwayne DeGraff, the measure was favorably approved and forwarded to the Committee on Rules & Judiciary for further consideration.

The following Committee members present: Chairwoman Janelle K. Sarauw, Senators Nereida Rivera-O’Reilly, Janette Millin-Young, Brian A. Smith, Positive T.A. Nelson and Marvin A. Blyden. Non-Committee members present: Senate President Myron Jackson, Jean A. Forde and Dwayne M. DeGraff.

 

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LAWMAKERS APPROVE NOMINEES, CZM AND ZONING REQUESTS DURING LEGISLATIVE SESSION

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ST. THOMAS– On Wednesday, Members of the 32nd Legislature, convened in Legislative Session at the Capitol Building. Led by Senate President Myron Jackson, the Body considered zoning requests, CZM permits and several measures.

The meeting began with the consideration of the following Nominees:

  • Nelson Petty, Jr.– Commissioner, Dept. of Public Works
  • Elizabeth Armstrong (Reappointment)– Member, WAPA Authority Board (STX)
  • Stacy Bourne– Member, VI Casino Control Commission (STT/STJ)
  • Hubert Turnbull– Member, WAPA Authority Board (STT/STJ)
  • Julio Rhymer, Sr.– Director, Office of Management & Budget (OMB)
  • John A. Quelch– Member, University of the Virgin Islands Board of Trustees (STX)
  • Dina Perry-Malone– Member, VI Housing Authority Board of Commissioners (STT/STJ)

All Nominees were approved, however, Senators shared their concerns regarding their nominations and current issues in their respective agencies. “Our margin for error is minute,” Sen. DeGraff expressed. After thanking the Body, Nelson Petty, Jr., updated the Body on the status of Capital projects in the territory. “My focus has been on our capital projects and I am pleased to report three projects on St. Croix currently in the procurement phase and on St. Thomas, preconstruction began yesterday with the Veterans Drive project”.

The second block of the meeting considered the following Coastal Zone Management Permits and Zoning requests:

  • Bill No. 32-0153 – An Act ratifying the Governor’s approval of Minor Coastal Zone Permit No. CZJ-20-11W issued to David McDaniel and Cheryl McDaniel. The permit was approved by the Full Body and forwarded to the Governor.

 

  • Bill No. 32-0154 – An Act ratifying Major Coastal Zone Permit No. CZT-2-16 (L&W) issued to DUN RUN GOLF, LLC, for the continued use and occupancy of the existing reverse osmosis plant with 12” diameter, 140 feet intake line and 12-inch, 650 feet long outfall line located at Plot No. C-2-Q Estate Lovenlund, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. The permit was approved by the Full Body and forwarded to the Governor.

 

  • Bill No. 32-0142 – An Act to rezone Parcel No. 13AA Estate Contant, No. 2 Cruz Bay Quarter St. John from R-2 (Residential-Low Density-One and Two Family) to R-4 (Residential-Medium Density). The zoning request was approved and forwarded to the Governor.

 

  • Bill No. 32-0181 – An Act granting a zoning use variance for Parcel No. 171 Estate Contant-Enighed, Cruz Bay, St. John Virgin Islands, to allow for the operation of a car rental business. The zoning request was passed and forwarded to the Governor.

 

  • Bill No. 32-0182 – An Act to rezone Parcel No. 4-A Estate Cruz Bay Town, Cruz Bay Quarter, St. John, from B-3 (Business-Scattered) to B2 (Business-Secondary/Neighborhood). The zoning request was approved as adapted and forwarded to the Governor.

 

  • Bill No. 32-0187 – An Act rezoning Parcel No. 6D Estate Thomas, New Quarter, St. Thomas from R-3 (Residential-Medium Density) to B-2 (Business-Secondary Neighborhood) and from the B-2 zoning designation granting a use variance. The zoning request passed in its original format and forwarded to the Governor.

“We make a way for the big businesses, but not for the small players. We need to show them that we are sensitive to the small businesses, families,  and individuals trying to establish wealth,” stated Non-Majority Leader, Sen. Positive T.A. Nelson. Similar comments were expressed by the members of the Body after two zoning requests were removed from the agenda during the 2nd block.

 

The following bills were considered after press time:

 

  • Bill No. 32-0168–An Act amending Title 22 VI Code, Chapter 39, designating current sections 951 through 983 subchapterI, Section 984 as Subchapter II, and by adding a subchapter III entitled, “The Standard Forfeiture Law of 2018 for Life Insurance,” which meets the accreditation in its model laws and updates the insurance laws of the Virgin Islands of the United States placing them on par with other United States jurisdictions thereby affording greater and more effective protection to the policyholders in the Virgin Islands. Sponsored by Sen. Kurt Vialet, the measure was approved and forwarded to the Governor.

 

  • Bill No. 32-0065–An Act to appropriate the sum of $500,000 to the Economic Development Authority for “energy efficient” retrofitting of the Industrial Park on the island of St. Croix. Sponsored by Sen. Neville James, the measure was approved and forwarded to the Governor.

 

  • Bill No. 32-0178–A Resolution to honor to commend the ALL HANDS and HEART-SMART RESPONSE. Proposed by Sen. Jean Forde, the measure was approved and forwarded to the Governor.

 

  • Bill No. 32-0188–An Act appropriating $3,500,000 from the St. Croix Capital Improvement Fund for maintenance dredging of the Schooner Bay Channel. The measure, sponsored by Senators Kurt Vialetand Alicia “Chucky” Hansen, was approved and forwarded to the Governor.

 

  • Bill No. 32-0147–An Act amending Title 27 VI Code, Chapter 1, Subchapter I relating to the special restricted licensing of physicians and subchapter II (a) relating to the practice of telemedicine; amending Title 19, Chapter 15, relating to the licensing, inspection and regulation of healthcare facilities and health services; and amending Title 33, Chapter 3, relating to exemptions from the payment of gross receipts on all Medicaid and Medicare payments. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Nereida Rivera-O’Reilly, was approved as amended and forwarded to the Governor.

 

  • Bill No. 32-0175–An Act amending Title 29 VI Code, Chapter 12 to strengthen the Economic Development Commission. Sponsored by Sen. Kurt Vialet, the measure was approved as amended and forwarded to the Governor.

 

  • Bill No. 32-0189–An Act amending Title 18 VI Code to reprogram the appropriation of Act No. 7904 to conduct the 2018 primaries and makes the appropriation available until expended. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Jean Forde, was approved as amended and forwarded to the Governor.

 

  • Bill No. 32-0059–An Act to amend Title 29 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 9 relating to regulation of billboards. This bill enlarges the definition of “advertising device and bans the use of changeable 6 electronic variable message signs, digital billboards or smartboards that have animation, movement, or the appearance or optical illusion of movement. Sponsored by Sen. Myron Jackson, the measure was approved by the Full Body and forwarded to the Governor.

 

  • Bill No. 32-0024–An Act amending title 3 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 1, section 1 to provide for the position of Curator and amending title 31 Virgin Islands Code to add a chapter 42 establishing the Preservation of Historic Government Collections Act and for other purposes. Sponsored by Senate President Myron Jackson, the measure was approved as amended by the Full Body and forwarded to the Governor.

 

The Bills can be accessed in their entirety on our website via Bill Tracker module: http://legvi.org:82/

 

 

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BILL TO ESTABLISH CURATOR OF GOVERNMENT COLLECTION APPROVED

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St. Thomas- The Committee on Workforce Development, Consumer Affairs and Culture, chaired by Sen. Janelle Sarauw, held a meeting on Monday, at the Capitol Building and voted favorably for Bill No. 32-0024- to provide for the position of Curator and to establish the Preservation of Historic Government Collections Act and for other purposes.

“There is a passion for preserving antiques, but we are not talking about re-investing into our people. I suggest that we invest in our historians so that they can be self-appointed Curators,” said Sen. Sarauw. “Local antiques are like a secret society in the Virgin Islands, and only certain people have access to them. My question is who are we doing this for?”

The measure seeks to establish the position of Curator of Government House Collections and provides that that person will be responsible for the unique and decorative arts collection at Government House.

The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Myron Jackson said, “Over the years there has been a steady decline of the protection of cultural resources such as government collections. The Virgin Islands is in a peculiar situation in the wake of the hurricane recovery, and the cultural resources are at the bottom of the totem pole. We can do better in protecting our history.”

Similarly, Arlene Pinney-Benjamin, Territorial Acting Director of Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums from the Department of Planning and Natural Resources expressed support for the bill. “The establishment of a curator is an important step in managing cultural patrimony on all levels of the Government of the Virgin Islands.”

Some of the duties of a Curator includes overseeing the conservation and study of historical collections in Government House, to prepare an emergency plan to relocate the collection in the wake of natural disasters and to be knowledgeable in business, marketing, fundraising and public relations.

However, officials from Government House does not support the measure. “We found within mandates of Title 29, chapter 27, “Antiques and Cultural Properties” in which most of the responsibilities assigned to an Oversight Committee and a Curator established within the State Historic Preservation Office,” said Director of Protocol for the Office of the Governor Lisa Webster-Potter. Sen. Brian Smith stated that anyone who doesn’t agree with having a Curator does not have the interest of the people of the Virgin Islands at heart because without history there is no pride.

“Is establishing a Curator an overlapping of responsibilities?” asked Sen. Sarauw. Director Potter said, “There are sufficient mechanisms in place to satisfy the proposed requirements. There is no need to establish an additional position of Curator within the Office of the Governor. Then Sen. Sarauw inquired, “Should each agency have a Curator or should one Curator be overseeing all government agencies?” Director Potter stated that an overall Curator is reasonable but not necessary for Office of the Governor because there aren’t daily tasks.

Sen. Nereida Rivera O’Reilly inquired about the total value of the antiques and artefacts owned by GVI. In response, Director Potter stated that each agency houses the items. There are different appraisal values for antiquities across the government. Sen. O’Reilly said, “There needs to be one Master List that has a photograph, value and description of each item.” However, Lloyd Bough, Jr. Commissioner of the Department of Property and Procurement stated that there is a Master List, but it is incomplete.

Separately, lawmakers also voted and approved 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. All bills approved will be forwarded to the Committee on Rules and Judiciary for further consideration.

Senators present are Janelle Sarauw, Janette Millin Young, Positive Nelson, Myron Jackson, Brian Smith, Nereida Rivera O’Reilly and Sen. Marvin Blyden.

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SEN. SARAUW HOSTS ENVIRONMENTAL TOWN HALL MEETING

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St. Thomas – The Office of Sen. Janelle Sarauw hosted a Town Hall Meeting at the Capitol Building to meet with representatives from the Virgin Islands Waste Management and other entities to discuss post-hurricane environmental legislation.

“It is imperative to have a candid discussion that surrounds the facts about preserving our environment. We can’t continue to do business as usual. There are alternative solutions to using styrofoam and plastic straws such as replacing it with the paper version,” said Sen. Sarauw.

The pending legislation sponsored by Sen. Sarauw is an amendment to Act 7938 which seeks to include a ban on the importation, use or sale of all styrofoam carryout containers within the Territory, sunscreen containing Oxybenzone commonly referred to as BP-2 and a gradual ban on the import, use and sale of straws.

The facts presented during a video presentation, are there were over 6 million straws and stirrers that removed from beaches. There are also 500 million plastic straws that are disposed of. Styrofoam is harmful to the environment. The breakdown of styrofoam can take approximately 500 years.

Sen. Jackson stated that this presentation and overview was helpful to the community.

Additional topics included passed legislation for the introduction of the Tree Burning Ban, composting and mulching as a means of tropical wood conservation.

“There needs to be something to protect valuable wood from burning and re-purposing compost and mulch. I have two solutions to this problem. The first one is to establish a wood bank or a storage facility that is available for public use. The community has experienced woodworkers who can make use of valuable wood,” said Clay Jones of Heritage Tree Care. “Secondly, the Bovoni Landfill is overcrowded with waste and does not need to be populated with compost and mulch. This can be re-used for the soil post-hurricane.”

Harith Wickerman, Chairman of Board of Directors at the Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority, shared the importance of compost and mulching. “Re-purposing compost and mulching will alleviate soil erosion that occurs after a tropical storm or hurricane. Currently, there is 500,000 debris after the hurricanes hit the Virgin Islands. There will be reduced by  250,000 after mulching. Re-using our natural resources keep our islands healthy for generations to come.”

During “Trash Talk” an open forum a segment of the Town Hall Meeting,  Makeda Mills, Student at University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) offered an educational solution to compost. “Compost can be used in the classrooms at the UVI. Students can learn about its properties in a Composting Program. When a major storm occurs, students will know how to reuse it to preserve the environment properly.”

Presenters at the Town Hall Meeting are Sen. Myron Jackson, Poly Hoppin, Research Professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Harith Wickerman, Clay Jones, Tropical Woods Conservation, Composting and Mulching and Michael Vansgaard a Community Activist.

 

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