ST. THOMAS– The Committee on Rules and Judiciary, chaired by Sen. Novelle Francis Jr., convened at the Earle B. Ottley Legislative Hall to consider several measures and receive testimony on Monday.
Bill No. 32-0010, which seeks to amend the rate and computation of franchise taxes, was proposed by Sen. Francis. Bill No. 32-0030, proposed by Sen. Janette Millin-Young, seeks to amend Title 33 V.I. Code, Section 2404 limiting increases in the assessed value of real property for purposes of property tax. Both measures were held in Committee after receiving formal requests to postpone from Lieutenant Governor Osbert Potter.
The formal request to postpone Bill No. 32-0010 until the week of June 26-30 will allow all parties involved time to clarify the proposal to better address concerns of the public and private sectors. Bill No. 32-0030’s formal request to postpone indicated that the proposal failed to address the real needs of the taxpayers.
A Real Property Task Force was convened to devise solutions to lessen the impact of increasing property assessments. Copies of the Task Force Report were distributed last week to each Senator and uses data-driven evidence, real world examples and a proposal for legislation that can address the taxpayer’s concerns. The publication is available at a cost via the Lt. Governor’s Office.
Bill No. 32-0002, proposed by Sen. Millin-Young, seeks authorization to purchase Estate Catherineberg from the West Indian Company, Limited (WICO) by offsetting payments owed in lieu of taxes, as mandated by Act No. 5826, as amended. Clifford Graham, President and CEO of WICO, gave testimony in support of the measure, while sharing commendations and plans to convert the estate into a museum. The measure passed favorably to the Full Body for further consideration.
Bill No. 0052, a Resolution to honor and commend Allen Hayes, Sr. for his contributions to the community as a police officer and a healer, proposed by Sen. Marvin Blyden was forwarded to the Full Body for further consideration.
Bill No. 32-0084, proposed by Sen. Nereida Rivera O’Reilly, seeks to amend Title 19, V.I. Code, Chapter 31, Section 723 relating to extending the time a person may be detained involuntarily for mental health treatment. The measure was held in committee until the call of the Chairman. Bill No. 32-0085, proposed by Sen. O’Reilly, an Act that seeks to amend Title 19, V.I. Code, Chapter 31, Section 722 relating to mental health emergency commitments by extending the time a person may be detained for treatment. The measure was held in committee until the call of the Chairman.
Bill No. 32-0038, proposed by Sen. Jean Forde, an Act that seeks to amend 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 citizens. The measure passed favorably to the Full Body for further consideration.
Bill No 32-0039, proposed by Sen. Forde, an Act that seeks to amend V.I. Code, Title 8, Chapter 1, Section 9, Subsection (a) to change the amount of Tavern Keeper Liquor Licenses (A) that can be in effect within the historic districts of the Virgin Islands. The bill was favorably passed to the Full Body for further consideration.
Bill No 32-0040, proposed by Sen. Positive Nelson, an Act that seeks to amend Title 1 V.I. Code, Chapter 11 commemorating the week of June 26th to July 3rd as Virgin Islands Freedom Week and amending Title 24, Chapter 1, Section 4 to require employers to pay time and one half for work done on July 3rd. The measure was passed favorably, as amended to the Full Body for further consideration.
Bill No. 32-0088, proposed by Sen. Myron Jackson by Request of the Governor, 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. The bill was favorably approved and forwarded to the Full Body for further consideration.
“The bills being vetted represent a broad spectrum of the issues that we grapple with every day as your representatives in this Body. I must commend all of my colleagues for their role in bringing legislation forward to be held in this Committee,” stated Sen. Francis.