Published: Mar 20, 2024

ST. CROIX – The 35th Legislature of the Virgin Islands’ Committee on Rules and Judiciary, chaired by Senator Diane T. Capehart, met in the Frits E. Lawaetz Legislative Conference Room. Lawmakers considered nominations, bills, resolutions, and leases. The approved items on today’s agenda will be forwarded to the full body at the next scheduled Legislative Session.

“Today, we had the opportunity to vet key Cabinet members of the Executive and Judicial branches of Government, and I look forward to working with each of them to progress our territory,” says Senator Capehart. The following nominations were approved:

  • The Honorable Harold W. L. Willocks, Esq. to serve as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands;
  • Averil E. George, to serve as Commissioner of the Virgin Islands Department of Human Services; and
  • Antonio O. Stevens to serve as Director of the Virgin Islands Fire and Emergency Medical Services.

The following measures were approved, which included items related to hiring practices, the resumption of the GERS personal loan program, creation of a chronic kidney disease and diabetes registry and the establishment of a minimum amount for child support.

  • Bill No. 35-0115 – An Act repealing Title 24, Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 17, Subchapter II, “Limited Use of Criminal Records in Hiring Practices,” and enacting in its place “The Fair Chance for Employment Act” relative to criminal record checks in the employment application process; and amending title 3 Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 25, Subchapter I, Section 452 requiring the Director of Personnel to develop and implement fair chance hiring policies; and for other related purposes. The measure was sponsored by Senators Donna A. Frett-Gregory, Alma Francis Heyliger, Angel L. Bolques, Jr., Franklin D. Johnson, and Dwayne M. Degraff.
  • Bill No. 35-0196 – An Act to amend Title 3, Virgin Islands Code, Sections 717(c) and 766(c) to establish a deadline for the GERS to resume the personal loan program, remove the $10,000,000 annual aggregate amount and the 8% interest rate cap, limit the system’s liability to $75,000, and set a parameter in section 717 that all loans must be structured such that the payoff date occurs before the retiree reaches age 70. The measure was sponsored by Senator Milton E. Potter.
  • Bill No. 35-0207 – An Act amending Title 19, Virgin Islands Code, Part I, adding Chapter 6a to create the Territorial Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetes Registry. The measure was sponsored by Senator Ray Fonseca.
  • Bill No. 35-0226 – An Act amending Title 16, Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 13, subchapter I, section 345, subsection (c) by establishing a minimum amount for child support. The measure was sponsored by Senator Carla J. Joseph.

The following resolutions were approved, which all honored outstanding Virgin Islanders:

  • Bill No. 35-0107 – An Act posthumously honoring and commending Ms. Fenella Cooper for her contributions to the fields of education, sports, and culture, and naming the UVI tennis courts in her honor.  The measure was sponsored by Senator Marvin A. Blyden.
  • Bill No. 35-0184 – An Act to honor and commend Viggo E. Sewer posthumously for his ultimate contribution to the Virgin Islands and renaming East End Road on Route 10 on the island of St. John, in his honor. The measure was sponsored by Senator Dwayne M. DeGraff.
  • Bill No. 35-0208 – A Resolution honoring and commending Mrs. Bernice Alma Turnbull for her lifetime of service and dedication to the people of the Virgin Islands. The measure was sponsored by Senators Milton E. Potter, Carla Joseph, Alma Francis Heyliger, Kenneth L. Gittens and Dwayne M. DeGraff, and co-sponsored by Senators Samuel Carrion and Ray Fonseca.
  • Bill No. 35-0223 – An Act renaming a portion of Gamle Gade “William A. Industrious Street”. The measure was sponsored by Senators Carla J. Joseph, Ray Fonseca and Donna A. Frett-Gregory.

The following leases were approved:

  • Bill No. 35-0246 – An Act approving the Lease Agreement between the Government of the Virgin Islands and Pro Mar Services, Inc. for Parcels No.149-2, 159A and 159-1 Submarine Base, No. 6 Southside Quarter, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and Parcel No. 159 Remainder, Southside Quarter, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.  The measure was sponsored by Senator Novelle E. Francis, Jr., at the request of the Governor.
  • Bill No. 35-0245 – An Act approving the lease agreement between the Government of the Virgin Islands, acting through its Commissioner of the Department of Property and Procurement and the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority, for Plot No. B Lagoon Street Complex, Frederiksted Town, West End Quarter, St. Croix, Virgin Islands, consisting of two two-story buildings consisting collectively of 32,604 U.S. sq. ft. or 0.6366 U.S. acre of improved land more-or-less, for the operation of a Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Relief Program, and for other related purposes. The measure was sponsored by Senator Novelle E. Francis, Jr., at the request of the Governor.

Senators present at today’s Committee meeting included: Chair Diane T. Capehart, Vice Chair Milton E. Potter, Committee Members Angel L. Bolques, Jr., Kenneth L. Gittens, Franklin D. Johnson, Marise James, Carla J. Joseph, and non-committee members Dwayne M. Degraff, Novelle E. Francis, Jr., Donna A. Frett-Gregory, and Ray Fonseca.

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