NOMINEE AND BILLS GET FAVORABLE RECOMMENDATION TO FULL BODY

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ST. CROIX–The Committee on Rules and Judiciary chaired by Senator Janelle K. Sarauw reconvened Monday afternoon in the Bennie and Martha Benjamin Conference Center at the VI Cardiac Center, St. Croix.

The Committee took testimony from Christopher Finch, nominee to the District Governing Board of Directors of the Juan F. Luis Hospitals. It also discussed and voted on several proposed Bills.

Nominee Finch said he is a social worker and social service program manager with extensive experience in government and non-profit sectors. He added that his most important roles have been Commissioner of the Department of Human Services (DHS) and Executive Director of Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands.

According to him, presently he is a member of five boards of directors: the St. Croix Long Term Recovery Group; My Brother’s Workshop; the St. Croix Children’s Museum, the Édouard Foundation; and the Order of St. John, Knight Hospitaller.

According to Finch, the hospital faces many challenges. For instance, it must complete and then move to a modular setting while remaining fully functioning and must design and build a new hospital. He added that the financial challenges faced by the hospital are immense and must always be a priority of the governing board. Furthermore, the continued receipt of federal funding from CMS that comprises 75-percent of the hospital’s revenue between Medicare and Medicaid depends on the hospital continually meeting stringent performance and quality standards.

Finch concluded his presentation by saying that he has some experience that may be useful to the Governing Board and have had years of oversight of the Medicaid program for the DHS which is one of the critical funding sources for the hospitals.

The Committee voted in favor of the nominee and sent his name to the Full Body for further consideration.

The Committee also voted in favor of the following Bills and were sent onto the Full Body for further consideration: Bill No. 33-0036 An Act amending the Virgin Islands Code by including horses in the definition of livestock-sponsored by Senator Allison L. DeGazon. This Bill was further amended by Sen. DeGazon.

Bill No. 33-0085 An Act amending the Virgin Islands by increasing the number of days for the appointment of members of the Legislative Youth Advisory Council. The Bill sponsored by Senator Steven Payne, Sr.; and Co-sponsored by Senator Javan James, Sr. The Bill was further amended by Senator Novelle Francis, Sr., on behalf of Sen. Payne.

Bill No. 33-0080 An Act amending the Virgin Islands Code regarding the expiration of the appointment of the members to the Legislative Youth Advisory Council-sponsored by Senator Steven Payne, Sr.; and Co-sponsored by Senator Javan James, Sr.

Bill No. 33-0061 An Act amending the Virgin Islands Code relating to the powers of the Economic Development Commission; the section of the Code relating to take reduction benefits for EDC beneficiaries; and Title 29 relating to the Hotel Development Trust Fund-sponsored by Senator Kurt Vialet and Donna Frett-Gregory.

Bill No. 33-0098 An Act amending the Virgin Islands Code by adding a new Chapter requiring that businesses offer at least two payment options to their customers, and matters related to other factors-sponsored by Senator Kurt Vialet and Co-sponsored by Senator Donna Frett-Gregory.

Bill No. 33-0104 An Act amending the Hotel Development Act of the Virgin Islands Code by making technical amendments to various sections and inserting other sections, regarding the Economic Recovery Fee and matters related to other factors-sponsored by Senator Kurt Vialet and Co-sponsored by Senator Athneil “Bobby’ Thomas.

The Committee voted in favor of the Bills and sent them to the Full Body for further consideration.

Committee members present at Monday’s hearing were Chairwoman Senator Janelle K. Sarauw, Novelle E. Francis, Jr., Kenneth L. Gittens, Myron D. Jackson, and Alicia V. Barnes. Non-Committee member was Senator Allison L. DeGazon.

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