Category: Legislative Session

MAJORITY CAUCUS VOTES TO REORGANIZE DURING LAST LEGISLATIVE SESSION OF 2017

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ST. THOMAS- On Thursday, Senate President Myron D. Jackson and the Members of the 32nd Legislature held their final Legislative Session of the year at the Earle B. Ottley Legislative Hall to consider several measures including the reorganization of their roles within the institution.

Bill No. 32-0166, a Resolution organizing and establishing the Majority Caucus, Officers, Chairpersons, Vice Persons and Membership of the Standing Committees of the 32nd Legislature and repealing Resolution No. 1839. Favorably approved, the measure was proposed by Senators Jackson, Blyden, Forde, Francis, James, O’Reilly, Sanes, Sarauw, Smith and Vialet. Senator Janelle K. Sarauw will join the Majority Caucus and serve as the Chairperson of the Committee on Workforce Development, with Sen. Nereida Rivera O’Reilly as Vice-Chairperson.

Nominee Johann A. Clendenin was reappointed as a member of the Public Services Commission (STX), followed by the approval of nominees Vaughn A. Hewitt to the Virgin Islands Housing Board (STX) and Lee Seiner to the Virgin Islands Port Authority Governing Board (STT) during Block I.

The following zoning requests and bills were favorably passed and forwarded to the Governor for further action:

· Bill No. 32-0143, an Act granting a use variance for Plot No. 45-A Estate Glynn. King Quarter, St. Croix, Virgin Islands.

· Bill No. 32-0155, an Act ratifying the Governor’s approval of Minor Coastal Zone Permit No. CZJ-22-16 (W) issued to WVJD, LLC.

· Bill No. 32-0165, an Act ratifying the Governor’s approval of Major Coastal Zone permit CZX-2-16 (W) between the Government of the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources and Carden Beach Recreation Association, Inc.

· Bill No. 32-0054, an Act amending Title 18, Section 94a granting the Supervisor of Elections the authority to set places, days and times for early voting.

· Bill No. 32-0089, an Act authorizing the reprogramming of a portion of the proceeds of the Matching Fund Revenue Bonds, Series 2009A (the Series 2009 Bonds”), issued pursuant to Act No. 7081, as amended by Act No. 7095, and certain Interest Earnings allocated to the Virgin Islands Department of Education to the financing of certain critical deferred maintenance of Department of Education non-school support facilities and certain school facility capital projects which require priority funding at this time.

· Bill No. 32-0097, an Act repealing section 116, 117, and 118 of Title 18 Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 5 relating to registration of electors, to bar cancellation of voter registration in every instance other than death.

· Bill No. 32-0102, an Act to repeal provisions that allow persons who are receiving a retirement annuity from the Government Employees’ Retirement System to return to work for the Government of the Virgin Islands without making contributions to the GERS amending the Virgin Islands Code; amending title 23, § 3 (e) relating to employment of retired police officers; amending title 3 sections 703 and 752 relating to membership in the Government Employees Retirement System; amending title 3, sections 706 (c) 755 (c) relating to retirees’ reentering Government services to allow only retired nurses, teacher and police officers to renter Government service for up to two years; and for other related purposes.

· Bill No. 32-0132, an Act amending Title 15 Virgin Islands Code, Part III to add a chapter 65 enacting the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act; and for other purposes related thereto.

· Bill No. 32-0136, an Act amending Title 29 Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 23, the Hotel Development Act, clarifying existing provisions and by adding sections 1312 through 1316.

· Bill No. 32-0137, an Act amending Title 29 Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 22 pertaining to Tax Incremental Financing and for other related purposes.

· Bill No. 32-0126, an Act approving the Lease Agreement between the Government of the Virgin Islands Department of Property and Procurement and Cruzan Group, LLC d/b/a AY-AY Palace.

· Bill No. 32-0010, an Act amending Title 13 Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 5, Section 531 relating to the rate and computation of franchise taxes, passed as amended for further review and consideration.

Senate President Jackson expressed his gratitude to the Central and Senatorial staff for their continued efforts throughout our Centennial year. “On behalf of the 32nd Legislature, we wish the people of the Virgin Islands a safe and blessed holiday season.”

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LAWMAKERS APPROVE BILL FOR THE COMMUNITY DISASTER LOAN DURING LEGISLATIVE SESSION

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St. THOMAS – Members of the 32nd Legislature, led by Senate President Myron Jackson, voted to table Bill No. 32-0150 and approved Bill No. 32-0160 for the Community Disaster Loan, on Friday during the third day of Legislative Session at the Capitol Building.

At the beginning of Legislative Session, with a vote of 10 yays, 1 nay and 4 not voting senators voted to remove Bill No. 32-0150 as it relates to the Community Disaster Loan off of the agenda. Afterwards, lawmakers replaced it with a revised version that is now known as Bill No. 32-0160.

“Several days ago, the governor sent down Bill No. 32-0150. It was requested that the language of the bill is revised into what it is today in regards to the Community Disaster Loan,” said Sen. Jackson. “There are challenges and disappointments of the decision of the Federal Government in the Community Disaster Loan. The ability of the Virgin Islands to sustain itself will set the framework and the mark for the future. Although there were not a lot of lives lost because of the hurricanes, the daily life of Virgin Islanders has been adversely affected.”

Bill No. 32-0160 seeks to authorize the Government of the Virgin Islands entered into one or more Federal Emergency Management Agency Community Disaster Loans for the purpose of financing existing essential functions of the Government Operations. It also limits the interest on Community Disaster Loan Promissory Notes to not exceed the interest rates required pursuant to the Stafford Act or eight percent not to exceed 25 years from the date of issuance.

“There are significant conditions attached to borrowing $300 million from the Federal Government. The sad part is we can not turn our backs to the money. We must take it,” said Sen. Brian Smith. “However, if we keep borrowing money, it can create human slaves with a noose around the neck. This can negatively affect generations to come.”

However, Sen. Novelle Francis stated that he is satisfied with this bill. “The Territory has experienced two Category 5 hurricanes. Thus far, there has not been one payless payday for government employees.”

Lawmakers also expressed concerns and offered suggestions for the Community Disaster Loan.

“It is unfair for the Federal Government to take advantage of the Virgin Islands and treat us like that. It is disrespectful for the governor to enter into contracts and loans with the Federal Government on the premise of repaying loans with monies that are not in our government coffers,” said Sen. Tregenza Roach.

Sen. Alicia “Chucky” Hansen stated that although borrowing from the Federal Government is necessary it should be minimized. “If we have to borrow monies then do it with leverage. Don’t maximize on loans just because we can. We need to reduce the number of loans borrowed,” she said.

Senators also offered amendments to the bill. The following amendments were voted and approved: Amendment No. 32-544 as it pertained to Virgin Islands Transparency Act, Amendment No. 32-550-is amended in section 2, page 4 striking “eight percent” and inserting “five percent” and Amendment No. 32-534- proceeds of the Community Disaster Loans will go towards the Government Retirement System and shall be deposited into the Health Insurance Fund.

Ultimately, lawmakers voted favorably for Bill No. 32-0160 as amended.

Separately, senators also voted and approved the following:

  • Bill No. 32-0161- An Act that appropriates the balance of funds from section 1of Act No. 7972 and section 2 Act No. 7973 for temporary office space and the purchase and building out of a permanent building to house the St. Croix Legislature Annex

 

  • Bill No. 32-0092- An Act amending Title 32, Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 11, relating to the establishment of a single Horse Racing Commission

 

  • Bill No. 32-0093- An Act amending Title 32, Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 11 relating to horse racing adding Sections 215 through 230 to provide for anti-doping in the Horse Racing Industry in the Virgin Islands, and to amend certain Sections of the Title 32, Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 21, Article XVI regarding the allocation of funds received from the Racino Tax

 

  • Bill No. 32-0157- An Act banning the burning of all fallen tees and other vegetative debris generated as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria

All items approved will be forwarded to the governor for further consideration.

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

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ITEMS ON AGENDA FOR LEGISLATIVE SESSION MOVES FORWARD

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ST. THOMAS- Members of the 32nd Legislature, led by Senate President Myron Jackson, approved a nomination, a resolution, several coastal management permits and bills on Wednesday during Legislative Session at the Capitol Building.

Most lawmakers approved nominee Lloyd Bough, Jr. for Commissioner of the Department of Property and Procurement, and Bill No 32-0052, a resolution to honor and commend Allen Haynes for his contributions to the community as a police officer and healer.

Sen. Jackson stated he hoped Bough would continue to advocate for the care of government properties, residences and materials. He also supported the resolution.

“For thousands of years as a people we depended on tradition-bearers for healing,” said Sen. Jackson. “In terms of the centennial, for many years we had midwives. They are now restricted to assisting with the birth process in the hospitals. As a community, we once cared for our dead. Now we are restricted to two hours with them in the funeral homes. Tradition- bearers were eventually forced to discontinue their practices.”

Sen. Brian Smith had similar sentiments.

“For too long we have overlooked people in our community who served for several years, received an education and worked in the community. Mr. Bough is the epitome of leadership,” Sen. Smith said. “Talent is not something to be compared to a physician or chiropractor. Mr. Haynes dedicated his service throughout his career and daily activities. Somebody has to stand up for local talent.”

Although many of the senators expressed support for Bough, some were uncomfortable with voting in favor for Haynes.

“I am wary of sending this resolution forward,” said Sen. Tregenza Roach. “I would be endorsing a method of medical treatment that I would never do.”

Sen. Janette Millin Young also expressed concern. “I just wish that this resolution wasn’t weighing heavily on the medical aspect,” she said. “This may serve as an endorsement.”

Senators also considered and voted favorably for all the Coastal Zone Management Permits.

“All of the measures have to do with marine economic development and water safety. They are for continued use which means they are currently in use and the bills are an extension that allows the public to use what is already in place,” Sen. Jean Forde said. “As far as the installation of the moorings is concerned, they are put in place to ensure water safety. Overall, these measures are the beginning of a new industry in the Virgin Islands.”

The following Coastal Zone Permits were approved:

Bill No. 32-0114 – Act ratifying Major Coastal Zone Permit No. CZT-3-16 (W) issued to RC Hotels (Virgin Islands) Inc. for the continued use and occupancy of an existing 8’ diameter x 130’ long seawater intake line to the RO Plant seaward of Parcel Nos 1&3 Estate Nazareth, and the installation of 6 swim buoys four moorings at Great Bay, St. Thomas Virgin Islands 3

Bill No. 32-0116 – An Act ratifying Minor Coastal Zone Permit No. CZT-05-15W issued to Reef Ecology Foundation for continued use and occupancy of permanent moorings for day use only at frequently used dive site locations in the territorial waters surrounding the islands of St. Thomas and St. John, Virgin Islands

Bill No. 32-0115 – An Act ratifying Minor Coastal Zone Permit No. CZT-10-16W issued to the Anchorage Condominium Association for the continued use and occupancy of a 120 foot, three-inch seawater intake line which services its reverse osmosis plant and the continued use and occupancy of the submerged lands for six swimming buoys

Bill No. 32-0118 – An Act ratifying Major Coastal Zone Permit No. CZT-4-16(W) issued to St. Thomas Yacht Club Owner, Inc. for the continued use and occupancy of a 110’-9” by 7’-8” dock with a 39’-6” by 8’- 6” “T” and a 335sq. ft. concrete bulkhead with a length of 58 linear feet, 3,500 sq. ft. of submerged land surrounding the dock, and one wooden pile located seaward of Parcel Nos. 8-1-1 and 8-58 Estate Nazareth, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

Bill No. 32-0113 -. An act ratifying Minor Coastal Zone Permit No. CZT-25-16W issued to Sanctuary Holding, LLC for the installation of eight mooring to be completed in two phases No. 23 Estate Frenchman’s Bay, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

Bill No. 32-0117 – An Act ratifying Minor Coastal Zone Permit No. CZT-33-16W issued to True Crew VI, LLC to install a private mooring and operate a “food boat” at Christmas cove area of Jersey Bay St. Thomas.

“In terms of economic development in the Virgin Islands the marine industry is a gold mine that will open many doors for businesses and it will encourage job growth in the community,” Sen. Dwayne DeGraff said.

The following bills were approved:

Bill No. 32-0002- An Act to authorize the Virgin Islands Government to purchase Estate Catherineberg from WICO by offsetting payments owed in lieu of taxes, as mandated by Act No. 5826, as amended and for other related purposes

Bill No. 32-0020 -An Act amending 3 V.I.C. Section §§ 6, 7, 631 and 640 relating to the composition of the Government Employees Services Commission and re-designating the GESC as the Government Employees and Retirees Health Insurance Board of Trustees and for other related purposes

Bill No. 32-0021- An Act amending Virgin Islands Code, Title 1, Section 253, Title 3 Sections 256, 558, 562 to replace the Government Employees Services Commission with the Public Employees Relations Board; Section 643 to replace the GESC with the Division of Personnel” Title 17 Section 190 to replace the chairman of the Government Employees Services Commission with the Commissioner of Education; and repealing Title 3 Subchapter II and Title 23 Section 11 of the Virgin Islands Code

Bill No. 32-0038 – An Act amending Title 3, Chapter 11, Section 26b; Title 20, Section 436 Title 30, Section 15a; and Title 17, Section 475 providing for the acceptance of a Real ID as a valid form of identification for various senior citizen’s discounts 4

Bill No. 32-0039 – An Act amending Virgin Islands Code, Title 8, Chapter 1 Section 9, Subsection (a) to change the amount of Tavernkeeper Liquor Licenses (A) that can be in effect within the historic districts of the Virgin Islands

Bill No. 32-0040 – An act amending Title 1 Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 11 commemorating the week of June 26th to July 3rd as Virgin Islands Freedom Week

Bill No. 32-0087- An Act to authorize the Government of the Virgin Islands, through the Department of Property and Procurement to purchase certain real property on behalf of the people of the Virgin Islands for the completion of the Paul E. Joseph Stadium Project on the Island of St. Croix

Bill No. 32-0088 – An Act to provide for the reprogramming of funds appropriated from the Community Facilities Trust Account authorized under Act No 7012 for certain capital projects through the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation

Bill No. 32-0090- An Act amending Act 7897 to increase the Department of Human Services appropriation in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2017; authorizing the Public Finance Authority to acquire and finance the acquisition of a residential skilled nursing home on the island of St. Thomas

Bill No. 32-0091- An Act amending Act No. 7911section 1increasing the amount of the appropriation from the Internal Revenue Matching Fund to the General Fund; providing a contribution from the Tourism Advertising Fund to the General Fund in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2017

Bill No. 32-0094- An Act reprogramming $545,634.52 from any available funds in the Gross Receipt Tax Bond proceeds. Matching fund Bond or the Community Facilities Trust Account to fund emergency repairs and replacements at the Schneider Center

All measures approved by this body will be forwarded to the governor for further consideration.

 

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LEGISLATORS HOLD BILLS IN SPECIAL SESSION UNTIL NOVEMBER 30

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ST. THOMAS– On Tuesday, Members of the 32nd Legislature convened into Special Session called by Gov. Kenneth Mapp to consider several measures regarding FEMA Community Disaster Loans, the VI Source Separation Act and the Frederiksted Economic Revitalization Project.

Senate President Myron Jackson expressed his concerns on the exclusion of the Legislative Branch during this time despite their collaborative efforts in support of the Governor’s $7.5 billion request for federal aid.

After a brief caucus, Majority Leader Neville James motioned to hold Bill Nos. 32-0150, 32- 0151 and 32-0152 until the call of the Chair. The motion, objected by Sen. Alicia “Chucky” Hansen, passed with the following votes;

YES: Marvin Blyden, Jean Forde, Novelle Francis, Jr., Myron Jackson, Neville James, Janelle Sarauw & Brian Smith

NO: Dwayne DeGraff, Alicia “Chucky” Hansen, Janette Millin-Young

NOT VOTING: Positive T. A. Nelson

ABSENT: Nereida Rivera O’Reilly, Tregenza Roach, Sammuel Sanes, Kurt Vialet

Senate President Jackson announced that the Committee of the Whole will reconvene on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 and Legislative Session will be held on Thursday, November 30, 2017.

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SENATE PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES POSTPONEMENT OF MEETINGS DUE TO IRMA

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ST. THOMAS – Senate President Myron D. Jackson announces that legislative meetings scheduled for the week of September 4 to 8 are postponed, due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Irma. The public will be informed of new dates. A final determination regarding the Legislative Session scheduled for September 8 will be made once the storm passes and its impacts are determined, he said.

Regarding the operations of the Legislature on all three islands, legislative employees are expected to report to work for 8 a.m. on Tuesday to secure their offices and, upon completion, will be allowed to leave at noon to continue their hurricane preparations at home. Casual wear is encouraged.

Based on reports from the National Hurricane Center and VITEMA, President Jackson said the Virgin Islands will likely be impacted by wind, rain, and ocean surge, particularly in the northern areas.

“As those reports are received I shall inform the public, all senators and our staff as to the operations of the Legislature,” he said. “All persons should therefore carefully monitor the media, including LEGIT TV – which can be accessed on Channel 5 throughout the territory, for announcements which may inform as to the operational status of the Legislature during the affected period.”

President Jackson said that the Legislature shall operate during this period only as weather conditions permit.

“Should the weather dictate the cessation of our operation for safety and health concerns, those decisions shall be made promptly and specific announcements shall be made,” he said. “I offer a prayer that all persons in the Virgin Islands, the Leeward and Windward Islands, and elsewhere be spared from Hurricane Irma. Please look to protect your families, friends, and properties be safe.”

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SENATORS JUDGE THE QUALIFICATIONS OF SENATOR-ELECT KEVIN RODRIQUEZ

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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 Tuesday, to judge the qualifications of Senator-Elect Kevin Rodriquez to serve as a senator in the 32nd Legislature of the Virgin Islands.

 

“After many litigations, this process still has to be determined. This discourse speaks to the process that began before the formation of the 32nd Legislature. On January 9, 2017, the Board of Elections gave an oath of office to members of the 32nd Legislature with an exception of Senator-Elect Rodriquez,” said Sen. Jackson.

 

Rising out of Legislative Session and into the Committee of the Whole, lawmakers received testimony on the credentials of Senator-Elect Rodriquez. This is Pursuant to Section 6g of the Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands that states in part, no person shall be eligible to be a member of the legislature who has not been a bona-fide resident of the Virgin Islands for at least three years preceding the date of election.

 

Senator-Elect Rodriquez said, “I was a bona-fide resident of the Virgin Islands since January 5, 2013, when I moved back home from Tennessee for good. The undisputed evidence that I have presented prove that I was qualified to run for senate.”

 

“Can you define the term bona-fide resident?” asked Sen. Marvin Blyden. In response, Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker Esq. said, “The Revised Organic Act does not define the term.  However, because the Revised Organic Act serves as a de facto constitution for the Virgin Islands, to determine meaning, we should consider how similar language has been used in other state constitutions.”

 

Despite the testimonies presented, Resident Janelle Sarauw stated that the Senate-Elect Rodriquez was not residing in the Territory. “The Forward Movement Team maintains that Mr. Rodriguez does not meet the eligibility requirements as it pertains to residency,” said Sarauw.

 

“What does residency mean?” asked Sen. Brian Smith. Retained Council Kye Walker, Esq. from the Walker Legal Group stated that there is not one legal definition for the term residency. Sen Brian continued his inquiry, “What does domicile mean in terms of a registrant’s legal residence?” Attorney General Walker said, “A person can have two residencies but only one domicile. Legal residence or domicile is the place where a person habitually resides when not called elsewhere to work for a temporary purpose.”

 

Similarly, Sen. Nereida O’Reilly asked for further clarification of the term domicile. “Can legal domicile be determined by a person obtaining a driver’s license or voter’s registration card?” Attorney General Walker said, “Domicile is established by physical presence in a place in connection with state of mind concerning one’s intent to remain there. The Act does not speak specifically to driver’s license or a voter’s registration card.”

 

Sen. Alicia “Chucky” Hansen inquired about the qualifications of Senator-Elect Rodriquez. “In accordance to the requirements by law, have you found that Rodriquez fulfilled all legal obligations of the Board of Elections?” asked Sen. Hansen. Caroline Fawkes, Supervisor of Elections for the Election System of the Virgin Islands said, “Yes, Rodriquez was a certified candidate who was legally eligible to run for public office.”

 

Sen. Janette Millin Young had questions as it relates to the deficiencies of a candidate. “In the previous election, were there letters of deficiencies that were mailed?” Supervisor Fawkes said, “Yes, there were candidates who received a letter.” Sen. Millin Young asked, “Can you provide examples of a deficiency?” Supervisor Fawkes stated that incorrect or not enough signatures and inadequate mailing or physical addresses can lead to candidate receiving a letter of deficiency. Sen. Millin Young inquired, “Was Rodriquez a recipient of such letter?” Supervisor Fawkes stated that he was not.

 

Upon completion of Committee of the Whole, the meeting will remain in recess until Thursday, June 28, 2017.

 

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ITEMS ON AGENDA FOR LEGISLATIVE SESSION MOVES FORWARD

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ST. THOMAS- Members of the 32nd Legislature, led by Senate President Myron Jackson, approved a nomination, a resolution, several coastal management permits and bills on Wednesday during Legislative Session at the Capitol Building.

 

Most lawmakers approved nominee Lloyd Bough, Jr. for Commissioner of the Department of Property and Procurement, and Bill No 32-0052, a resolution to honor and commend Allen Haynes for his contributions to the community as a police officer and healer.

 

Sen. Jackson stated he hoped Bough would continue to advocate for the care of government properties, residences and materials. He also supported the resolution.

 

“For thousands of years as a people we depended on tradition-bearers for healing,” said Sen. Jackson. “In terms of the centennial, for many years we had midwives. They are now restricted to assisting with the birth process in the hospitals. As a community, we once cared for our dead. Now we are restricted to two hours with them in the funeral homes. Tradition- bearers were eventually forced to discontinue their practices.”

 

Sen. Brian Smith had similar sentiments.

 

“For too long we have overlooked people in our community who served for several years, received an education and worked in the community. Mr. Bough is the epitome of leadership,” Sen. Smith said. “Talent is not something to be compared to a physician or chiropractor. Mr. Haynes dedicated his service throughout his career and daily activities. Somebody has to stand up for local talent.”

 

Although many of the senators expressed support for Bough, some were uncomfortable with voting in favor for Haynes.

 

“I am wary of sending this resolution forward,” said Sen. Tregenza Roach. “I would be endorsing a method of medical treatment that I would never do.”

 

Sen. Janette Millin Young also expressed concern.

 

“I just wish that this resolution wasn’t weighing heavily on the medical aspect,” she said. “This may serve as an endorsement.”

 

Senators also considered and voted favorably for all the Coastal Zone Management Permits.

 

“All of the measures have to do with marine economic development and water safety. They are for continued use which means they are currently in use and the bills are an extension that allow the public to use what is already in place,” Sen. Jean Forde said. “As far as the installation of the moorings are concerned, they are put in place to ensure water safety. Overall, these measures are the beginning of a new industry in the Virgin Islands.”

 

The following Coastal Zone Permits were approved:

 

Bill No. 32-0114 – Act ratifying Major Coastal Zone Permit No. CZT-3-16 (W) issued to RC Hotels (Virgin Islands) Inc. for the continued use and occupancy of an existing 8’ diameter x 130’ long seawater intake line to the RO Plant seaward of Parcel Nos 1&3 Estate Nazareth, and the installation of 6 swim buoys four moorings at Great Bay, St. Thomas Virgin Islands 3

 

Bill No. 32-0116 – An Act ratifying Minor Coastal Zone Permit No. CZT-05-15W issued to Reef Ecology Foundation for continued use and occupancy of permanent moorings for day use only at frequently used dive site locations in the territorial waters surrounding the islands of St. Thomas and St. John, Virgin Islands

 

Bill No. 32-0115 – An Act ratifying Minor Coastal Zone Permit No. CZT-10-16W issued to the Anchorage Condominium Association for the continued use and occupancy of a 120 foot, three-inch seawater intake line which services its reverse osmosis plant and the continued use and occupancy of the submerged lands for six swimming buoys

 

Bill No. 32-0118 – An Act ratifying Major Coastal Zone Permit No. CZT-4-16(W) issued to St. Thomas Yacht Club Owner, Inc. for the continued use and occupancy of a 110’-9” by 7’-8” dock with a 39’-6” by 8’- 6” “T” and a 335sq. ft. concrete bulkhead with a length of 58 linear feet, 3,500 sq. ft. of submerged land surrounding the dock, and one wooden pile located seaward of Parcel Nos. 8-1-1 and 8-58 Estate Nazareth, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

 

Bill No. 32-0113 -. An act ratifying Minor Coastal Zone Permit No. CZT-25-16W issued to Sanctuary Holding, LLC for the installation of eight mooring to be completed in two phases No. 23 Estate Frenchman’s Bay, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

 

Bill No. 32-0117 – An Act ratifying Minor Coastal Zone Permit No. CZT-33-16W issued to True Crew VI, LLC to install a private mooring and operate a “food boat” at Christmas cove area of Jersey Bay St. Thomas.

 

“In terms of economic development in the Virgin Islands the marine industry is a gold mine that will open many doors for businesses and it will encourage job growth in the community,” Sen. Dwayne DeGraff said.

 

The following bills were approved:

 

Bill No. 32-0002- An Act to authorize the Virgin Islands Government to purchase Estate Catherineberg from WICO by offsetting payments owed in lieu of taxes, as mandated by Act No. 5826, as amended and for other related purposes

 

Bill No. 32-0020 -An Act amending 3 V.I.C. Section §§ 6, 7, 631 and 640 relating to the composition of the Government Employees Services Commission and re-designating the GESC as the Government Employees and Retirees Health Insurance Board of Trustees and for other related purposes

 

Bill No. 32-0021- An Act amending Virgin Islands Code, Title 1, Section 253, Title 3 Sections 256, 558, 562 to replace the Government Employees Services Commission with the Public Employees Relations Board; Section 643 to replace the GESC with the Division of Personnel” Title 17 Section 190 to replace the chairman of the Government Employees Services Commission with the Commissioner of Education; and repealing Title 3 Subchapter II and Title 23 Section 11 of the Virgin Islands Code

 

Bill No. 32-0038 – An Act amending Title 3, Chapter 11, Section 26b; Title 20, Section 436 Title 30, Section 15a; and Title 17, Section 475 providing for the acceptance of a Real ID as a valid form of identification for various senior citizen’s discounts 4

 

Bill No. 32-0039 – An Act amending Virgin Islands Code, Title 8, Chapter 1 Section 9, Subsection (a) to change the amount of Tavernkeeper Liquor Licenses (A) that can be in effect within the historic districts of the Virgin Islands

 

Bill No. 32-0040 – An act amending Title 1 Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 11 commemorating the week of June 26th to July 3rd as Virgin Islands Freedom Week

 

Bill No. 32-0087- An Act to authorize the Government of the Virgin Islands, through the Department of Property and Procurement to purchase certain real property on behalf of the people of the Virgin Islands for the completion of the Paul E. Joseph Stadium Project on the Island of St. Croix

 

Bill No. 32-0088 – An Act to provide for the reprogramming of funds appropriated from the Community Facilities Trust Account authorized under Act No 7012 for certain capital projects through the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation

 

Bill No. 32-0090- An Act amending Act 7897 to increase the Department of Human Services appropriation in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2017; authorizing the Public Finance Authority to acquire and finance the acquisition of a residential skilled nursing home on the island of St. Thomas

 

Bill No. 32-0091- An Act amending Act No. 7911section 1increasing the amount of the appropriation from the Internal Revenue Matching Fund to the General Fund; providing a contribution from the Tourism Advertising Fund to the General Fund in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2017

 

Bill No. 32-0094- An Act reprogramming $545,634.52 from any available funds in the Gross Receipt Tax Bond proceeds. Matching fund Bond or the Community Facilities Trust Account to fund emergency repairs and replacements at the Schneider Center

 

All measures approved by this body will be forwarded to the governor for further consideration.

 

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LAWMAKERS SEND BILL FOR THE REPROGRAMMING OF $3 MILLION FROM THE GROSS RECEIPT TAX BONDS TO COMMITTEE

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ST.THOMAS – Members of the 32nd Legislature, led by Senate President Myron Jackson, at the request of Governor Kenneth Mapp, convened in Special Session on Wednesday, and voted unanimously to send several measures to committee for further vetting, including Bill No. 32-0091 as it relates to reprogramming $3 million from available funding to address emergency sewage line problems at the Juan F. Luis Hospital.

Funding for the initiative would have come from increasing an appropriation from the Internal Revenue Matching Fund to the General Fund, a contribution from the Tourism Advertising Revolving Fund, and reprogramming $3 million from any available fund in the Gross Receipt Tax Bonds or Community Facilities Trust Account.

Rising out of Legislative Session and into the Committee of the Whole, senators received testimony from Richard Evangelista, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center (JFL).

“The $3 million appropriation will be utilized for JFL for emergency repairs and replacement of its sewer infrastructure,” said Evangelista. He stated that additional financial challenges include the immediate measures to sustain operations totaling $78,940, in costs associated with the relocation of the Emergency Department operations totaling $50,410 and the availability of mid-level clinical staff to expedite service in the triage area totaling $48,000.

Sen. Novelle Francis inquired, “How did you come up with the necessity of $3 million for the sewer infrastructure?” Tim Lessing, Chief Financial Officer at JFL, stated that as of Fall 2016, a portion of the drainage system collapsed and was down for six months. This estimate is based on the square footage of all the areas in which the system needs to be replaced.

“In terms of moving forward, what plans do you have to prevent this from reoccurring?” asked Sen. Marvin Blyden. Evangelista said, “We will continue to assess the entire sewage system and devise an architectural design to improve the infrastructure. Currently, relocating the existing system is a temporary measure.”

Regarding the reprogramming of funding for the twenty-three capital projects, President Jackson asked, “Why were some capital projects selected to be completed with the leftover funds while others were not?” In response, Valdamier Collens, Executive Director of the V.I. Public Finance Authority said, “While some projects were not started, most of the capital projects are left over funds from the completed projects. The remainder funds are to be utilized to complete critical projects such as the JFL, Schneider Regional Medical Center and other agencies.”

Separately, Sen. Kurt Vialet requested the financial breakdown of the $18.2 million that was generated from the excise taxes earned and collected on Virgin Islands rum sold within the U.S. market. In response, Collens said, “The breakdown is as follows from Cruzan Rum, the Government of the Virgin Islands (GVI) will receive $3.16 million and the rum company will receive $2.69 million. From Diageo, GVI will receive $6.29 million and the rum company will receive $5.67 million and the Community Facilities Trust Fund will receive $3,700.”

Other proposed legislation sent by Governor Mapp on the agenda included establishment of a single horse racing commission anti-doping legislation; acquiring land in Estate La Grange for completion of the Paul E. Joseph Stadium complex; repairs at sporting facilities at Kirwan Terrace, Joseph Aubain, and Emile Griffith ballparks; acquisition of a residential nursing facility on St. Thomas; funding for A/C for Schneider Hospital; and improvements to some of the territory’s public schools cafeterias, bathrooms, administrative offices, and other maintenance needs.

Eventually, lawmakers rose out of the Committee of the Whole and went back into Special Session, in which they voted to send the following to committee: Bill No. 32-0091, Bill No. 32-0094, Bill No. 32-0090, Bill No. 32-0089, Bill No. 32-0088, Bill No. 32-0088, Bill No. 32-0087, Bill No. 32-0092 and Bill No. 32-0093.

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BILL NO. 32-0001

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BILL NO. 32-0001

32nd Legislature of the Virgin Islands

This bill organizes the 32nd Legislature, and establishes the Majority Caucus, elects the officers, establishes the standing committees, appoints the committee chairs, committee vice chairs and committee members, and adopts the Rules of the 32nd Legislature.

• Senator Myron D. Jackson-President

• Senator Nereida Rivera-O’Reilly-Vice-President

• Senator Jean Forde-Secretary

• Senator Neville James-Majority Leader

• Senator Jean Forde-Secretary for Intergovernmental & Territorial Affairs

• Senator Marvin Blyden-Liaison to the United States Congress

• Senator Brian A. Smith-Liaison to the United States Dept. of Interior, Office of Insular Affairs

• Senator Sammuel Sanes-Liaison to the White House