BUSY WORK: Senate President Myron Jackson and St. Croix Senator Kurt Vialet confer on a piece of legislation on Friday.
CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Members of the 32nd Legislature, chaired by Senate President Myron Jackson, convened in Legislative Session at the Capitol Building on Friday, to vote on items on the agenda to include nominations, a resolution, coastal zone permits/requests, and bills. All items approved will be forwarded to the governor for further consideration.
Senators voted and approved the nominations of Henry Schjang and Ronald Phillips to be members of the V.I. Racing Commission on the St. Croix District and Sheldon Turnbull to be a member of the Virgin Islands Horse Racing Commission on the St. Thomas District.
Sen. Janelle Sarauw and Sen. Nereida “Nellie” Rivera-O’Reilly stated that Turnbull was not familiar with the rules, regulations, and codes of the Virgin Islands Horse Racing Commission.
“I want to give him an opportunity to prove himself as a member of the Commission,” Sen. Jackson said, despite Turnbull’s apparent lack of preparedness.
Regarding the nomination of Laura Palminteri, DVM to become a member of the Virgin Islands Horse Racing Commission on the St. Thomas District; senators voted to send it back to the Committee on Rules and Judiciary for further vetting.
“This a conflict of interest because how can she serve on the Commission although she is the only equine veterinarian in the territory,” said Sen. Jean Forde.
“Dr. Palminteri must decide because if she serves on the Commission, she will not be permitted to continue working as an equine veterinarian,” Sen. Kurt Vialet said.
Separately, policymakers voted and approved Bill No. 32-0237- An Act amending Title 3 V.I. Code, Chapter 25, Subchapter V, Section 555b to provide for minimum wage for employees of the Government of the Virgin Islands and its semi-autonomous agencies and independent instrumentalities. Senators shared their remarks on the bill.
Sen. Myron Jackson said, “It is time to provide government employees with a decent wage. They have made many sacrifices and deserve this raise.”
Sen. Alicia “Chucky” Hansen noted that the purpose of this measure is to put an end to the “fiasco.” This bill ensures that the Executive Order is made into law even after the election is over. “If the governor wanted to increase the living wages for government employees and meant it to stick then legislation would have been in place. The law states that the Executive Branch cannot spend the public’s money without the authorization of the Legislature,” she said.
Sen. Tregenza also stated that “This bill prevents the governor from issuing an Executive Order to revoke the salary increases.”
Lawmakers voted and approved the following:
- Bill No. 32-0173 – A Resolution honoring and commending The Family Resource Center for its services to victims and families in the U.S. Virgin Islands throughout the years
- Bill No. 32-0249 – An Act Ratifying Governor’s approval of Minor Coastal Zone Permit No. CZJ29-16-W issued to Low Key Watersports, Inc Bill No. 32-0250 – An Act Ratifying Governor’s approval of Minor Coastal Zone Permit No. CZJ14-16(W) to the Brent Squire Revocable Trust c/o Brent Squires, Trustee
- Bill No. 32-0251 – An Act ratifying the Governor’s approval of Major Coastal Zone Permit No. CZJ-214(W) issued by the St. John Committee of the Virgin Islands Coastal Zone Management Commission to the Joseph John Marcus Trust
- Bill No. 32-0254 – An Act ratifying the Governor’s approval of Minor Coastal Zone Permit No. CZJ-24-16W issued to Pillsbury Sound Land Company, Inc
- Bill No. 32-0242 – An Act to amend Official Zoning District Map STZ-7 to allow for the rezoning of Parcel No. 48 Estate Thomas, No. 6A New Quarter, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands from R-2 (Residential-Low Density-One and Two Family) to B-1 (Business-Central Business District)
- Bill No. 32-0253 – An Act granting a use variance to Parcel No. 105 Remainder Estate Bolongo Bay, No. 3 Frenchman Bay Quarter, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands to convert the variance granted for a bowling alley to a use variance for office and incidental storage use
- 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. 32-0232 – An Act amending Title 22 of the Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 21, Section 514 and adding Chapter 22 relating to life and health reinsurance agreements
- Bill No. 32-0233 – An Act amending Title 22 of the Virgin Islands Code adding Chapter 26 to provide for Annual Audit and Financial Reporting to meet the accreditation standards established by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and to update the Insurance Laws of the Territory placing them on par with other United States jurisdictions to give greater and more effective protection to the policyholders of the territory; and repealing Title 22 of the Virgin Islands Code, Section 222a
- Bill No. 32-0234 – An Act amending Chapter 43 of Title 22 of the Virgin Islands Code by adding a subchapter II enacting the Property and Casualty Actuarial Opinion Act to meet the accreditation standards established by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in its model laws to update the Insurance Laws of the territory
- Bill No. 32-0244 – An Act amending Title 27 Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 1, Subchapter VII, Section 161 relating to the practice of optometry
- Bill No. 32-0247 – Quitclaim Deed from the Commissioner of the Department of Property and Procurement on behalf of the Government of the Virgin Islands to Cyril LaPlace as Trustee of the Cyril A. La Place Trust for the following properties: Parcel No. 11-B Estate Dorothea, No. 6 Little Northside Quarter St. Thomas, Virgin Islands consisting of approximately 230 square feet more or less as illustrated on OLG NO. D9-9141-T016 dated March 14, 2016.
- Bill No. 32-0119-An Act amending title 33 V.I. Code, chapter 81, section 2301 (e) relating to the limit of exemptions and credits to real property owners to exempt veterans, senior citizens and person with disabilities from exemption and credit limit
- Bill No. 32-0258-An Act providing for the extension of the limitations period to file a claim under title 22 V.I. Code, chapter 33, section 820, subsection (a) paragraph (3) Hurricanes Irma and Maria and amending title 22 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 33, section 820, subsection (a) paragraph (3) to provide for a two-year limitation period for loss occurring as a result of an emergency or major disaster
- Bill No. 32-0238-An Act amending title 3 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 27, section 715, subsection (b) paragraph (7) to require the Government Retirement System to seek the Legislature’s approval before implementation of any policy that impacts the member’s benefits
TOP VIEW: St. Croix Senator Novelle Francis Jr. talks to a legislative staffer during Friday’s Session.