ST. THOMAS- The 34th Legislature of the Virgin Islands, led by Senate President Donna A. Frett-Gregory, convened into regular legislative session on Thursday at the Earle B. Ottley Legislative Hall. Lawmakers considered nominations to the VI Board of Optometrical Examiners, The Virgin Islands Casino Control Commission, and the Virgin Islands Real Estate Commission. The body also considered several resolutions and bills.
Firstly, the Body voted unanimously on the nominations of Dr. Carl Maschauer, O.D., to the VI Board of Optometrical Examiners, The Honorable Carolyn Hermon-Percell, to the Virgin Islands Casino Control Commission. Sharon Amey, Laurent Alfred, Yvonne Toussaint, Esq., and Barbara Harris were all voted unanimously to the Virgin Islands Real Estate Commission.
Lawmakers also voted to override Governor Albert Bryan’s veto of Bill No. 34-0186, An Act amending Title 32 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 21, article VI, section 435(b)(A), relating to the licensing of approved hotels under the Virgin Islands Casino and Resort Control Act and to reduce the licensing requirement that a Casino IV establishment have banquet facilities to accommodate a minimum of 400 persons to 75 persons.
Lawmakers also passed the following resolutions:
Bill No. 34-0146, An Act acknowledging and commemorating the memory of Mary Thomas, Axeline Salomon, Mathilde McBean, Susanna Abramson, and other estate laborers before, during, and after the Labor Uprising of 1878 or “Fireburn” and their courageous pursuit of human rights, freedom from serfdom variant, and improvement of labor conditions in the former Danish West Indies, and condemning the excessive, cruel, and unjust punishment meted out to the laborers by the Danish Government; making a $250,000 appropriation from the Community Facilities Trust Account to the Virgin Islands Council of the Arts to coordinate the erection of a monument to honor the Fireburn Queens and estate laborers who took part in the “Fireburn” Labor Uprising.
Bill No. 34-0148, An Act honoring and commending Dr. LaVerne E. Ragster for her contributions to the University of the Virgin Islands and the Territory in research and science, her contributions to the children of the Virgin Islands and for becoming the first woman to serve as President of the University of the Virgin Islands; Furthermore, the bill seeks to provide for the naming of the University of the Virgin Islands Administration and Conference Center on the island of St. Thomas in her honor and by making a $10,000 appropriation to the University of the Virgin Islands to pay the cost of signage at and maintenance of the Administrative and Conference Center and for other related purposes.
Bill No. 34-0157, A Resolution honoring, and commending Gloria H. Canegata Waterman for her outstanding years of service to the Virgin Islands Community as an educator and public servant through various organizations.
Bill No. 34-0174, A Resolution commending The Ivanna Eudora Kean High School on St. Thomas, Virgin Islands on the occasion of the commemoration of its 50th Year Anniversary (1971-2021) and acknowledging the many accomplishments of the administrators, teachers, and students.
Lawmakers approved the following rezoning changes:
Bill No. 34-0184, An Act amending Official Zoning Map No. SCZ-12 for the island of St. Croix to change the zoning designation of Plot Nos. 174 and 175 Estate Peter’s Rest, Queen Quarter, St. Croix, Virgin Islands from R-2 (Residential-Low Density-One and Two Family) to B-1 (Business Central Business District).
Bill No. 34-0213, An Act to amend Official Zoning Map No. STZ-4 to allow for the rezoning of Parcel “F” Estate Sorgenfri (Western Half, No. 1 Southside Quarter, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. from R-1 (Residential – Low Density) to R-2 (Residential – Low Density- One and Two Family).
Bill No. 34-0214, An Act granting a zoning use variance from the B-4 (Business Residential Areas) for Remainder Plot No. 14 Estate Saint John, Queen Quarter, St. Croix, Virgin Islands to allow for dwellings.
Bill No. 34-0215, An Act granting a zoning use variance from the R-2 (Residential-Low Density-One and Two Family) zoning designation for Plot No. 44 Estate Williams Delight Prince Quarter, St. Croix, Virgin Islands to allow for a nail salon.
Bill No. 34-0216, An Act to amend Official Zoning Map No. SCZ-11 to allow for the rezoning of Parcels No. 5-E and 5-F VICORP Land, Estate Castle Burke, Prince Quarter, St. Croix from A-1 (Agricultural Zone) to A-2 (Agricultural Zone) and from A-1 (Agricultural Zone) to B-2 (Business Secondary/Neighborhood), respectively.
Bill No. 34-0217, An Act to amend Official Zoning Map No. STZ-10 for the island of St. Thomas to change the zoning designation of Parcel No. 13 and 14-A Estate Frydenhoj, No. 3 Red Hook Quarter, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands from R-2 (Residential-Low Density-One and Two Family) to B-3 (Business-Scattered).
Bill No. 34-0218, An Act amending Official Zoning Map No. SCZ-20 for the island of St. Croix to change the zoning designation Plot 32 of Subdivision of Parcel No. 11 of Estate Richmond Matricular 1 AL, Company Quarter, St. Croix from the C (Commercial) to B-3 (Business-Scattered) Bill No. 34-0219 An Act granting a zoning use variance from the R-2 (Residential-Low Density-One and Two Family) zoning designation for Plot No. 126-E Estate Whim, West End Quarter, St. Croix, Virgin Islands to allow for an adult daycare and assisted living facility.
Bill No. 34-0222, An Act amending Official Zoning Map No. STZ-7 for the island of St. Thomas to change the zoning designation of Parcel Nos. 2 and 4 Estate Thomas, Nos. 6B and 6F New Quarter, from W-2 (Waterfront Industrial) to R-3 (Residential-Medium Density).
Bill No. 34-0223, An Act amending Official Zoning Map No. SJZ-1 for the island of St. John to change the zoning designation of Parcel No. 12 Estate Susannaberg, No. 17A Cruz Bay Quarter, from P (Public) to R-3 (Residential-Medium Density).
Lawmakers also approved the following bills:
Bill No. 34-0055, An Act amending title 34 Virgin Islands Code by adding a chapter 4 to be known as “The Responsible Fatherhood Act of 2022” Bill No. 34-0072 An Act amending title 23 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 5, providing for the declaration of firearm components upon their entry into the Virgin Islands, and other related purposes.
Bill No. 34-0090, An Act amending title 3 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 25, subchapter V, section 570, relating to the career incentive program for peace officers, to extend the program to peace officers in the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs, the Department of Planning and Natural Resources; the Department of Health, Environmental Health Division and the Virgin Islands Legislature and to exclude exempt employees from the program; and providing for exempt employees participating in the program on the effective date of the act to continue their participation in the program.
Bill No. 34-0096, An Act amending title 3 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 1 by adding a section 27j, establishing the Virgin Islands Virtual Information System; and providing for other related purposes.
Bill No. 34-0101, An Act amending the Virgin Islands Code title 3, chapters 1 and 15, title 23, chapter 7 and title 33, section 3032 to add a unit within the existing Virgin Islands Fire Service for emergency medical services, and to establish the Virgin Islands Fire and Emergency Medical Services to provide fire prevention services, fire suppression services, emergency medical services, and for the protection of life and property; to require the Fire Service and the Emergency Medical Services to develop and merger plan; and to provide for the transfer of employees from the Fire Service and the Emergency Medical Services to the Virgin Islands Fire and Emergency Medical Services; to provide for other related purposes.
Bill No. 34-0141, An Act amending the Virgin Islands Code title 34, chapter 8, to require the Bureau of Corrections and the Virgin Islands Attorney General’s Office to notify expeditiously victims of crimes against the person of the release of their alleged perpetrator; amending title 5, chapter 407, section 4606 relating to restitution and notification of victims of crime by the Territorial Parole Board of an inmate’s release to increase the time, contents, and the methods of notification to a crime victim of an inmate’s release; and for other related purposes.
Bill No. 34-0142, An Act amending the Virgin Islands Code title 20, chapter 45 by adding a subchapter II to provide for an Automatic license plate reader system as a crime-fighting tool throughout the Virgin Islands; amending title 20, chapter 32, subchapter I relating to the inter-island transport of motor vehicles to provide additional requirements in section 225a for transporting motor vehicles inter-island and adding section 225c to provide for a special permit for vehicles brought into the Virgin Islands; amending title 3, chapter 33, section 881(g) relating to public records to exclude from public examination captured plate data from automatic license plate reader systems; requiring the Virgin Islands Police Department in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General to promulgate regulations relating to the automatic license plate reader system; making a $500,000 appropriation to the Virgin Islands Police Department to establish a pilot speed and red-light camera program; and providing for other purposes.
Bill No. 34-0147, An Act amending the Virgin Islands Code title 10, chapter 1, sections 2 and 3 relating to discrimination on account of race to include discrimination on the basis of hair texture or protective hair style; and amending title 17, chapter 3 relating to education to enact “The Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act” or “The Virgin Islands Crown Act”.
Bill No. 34-0152, An Act amending the Virgin Islands Code title 27 chapter 10, relating to general construction contractors, to place for licensing and regulatory purposes the professions in the plumbing, electrical, mechanical and fiber optic fields, in addition to certain specialty trades, under the V.I. Board of Contractors, Trades, and Crafts; and repealing chapter 7.
Bill No. 34-0154, An Act amending title 17 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 5, section 41a relating to bilingual education to direct the Department of Education to establish and maintain the Bilingual and English Language Development Program in the public schools.
Bill No. 34-0155, An Act amending the Virgin Islands Code title 3, chapter 29, relating to notaries, notarial officers, and notarial acts by adding subchapter III enacting the “Virgin Islands Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (2021)”; and amending and repealing conflicting laws on notaries public.
Bill No. 34-0156, An Act amending title 15 Virgin Islands Code, part 1, relating to decedents estates by adding chapter 1A enacting the “Virgin Islands Uniform Electronic Wills Act”.
Bill No. 34-0166, An Act amending title 22 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 27 by changing the name of the chapter to “The Virgin Islands Unauthorized and Surplus Lines Insurer Act” and by establishing the diligent search requirements that an authorized surplus lines broker must fulfill before placing coverage for certain lines of insurance with a surplus lines insurer in the Territory, and for other purposes.
Bill No. 34-0170, An Act amending the Virgin Islands Code, title 29, chapter 12, sections 708, 708a, 708b, 710, 711, 712, 713a(b)(5), 715 and 723 relating to Economic Development Program, amend the incentives to beneficiaries to further their commitments to investment in the Virgin Islands community Bill No. 34-0171 An Act amending Virgin Islands Code title 3, chapter 27, section 706 and chapter 28A, section 755 relating to the service retirement annuity to allow retirees to reenter government service and retain their annuity while paying a contribution to the Retirement System; amending title 3, chapter 25, subchapter III relating to the government personnel position classification system position to cover positions of annuitants who reenter government service; and for other related purposes.
Bill No. 34-0182, An Act amending title 31 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 1, section 4, relating to the naming of real and personal property of the Government of the Virgin Islands after persons, to exempt the University of the Virgin Islands, the Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center and the Schneider Regional Medical Center from the requirement of obtaining legislative approval before naming any their respective property for the sole purpose of allowing fundraising and exchange for and recognition of significant financial bequests or endowments and for other related purposes.
Bill No. 34-0191, An Act amending title 22 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 55 relating to captive insurance companies to clarify the purpose of the chapter, and to prohibit the organization, within the Virgin Islands, of a special category of multi-state insurers that may not be required to comply with the accreditation standards established by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and adopted by the Territory as a NAIC accredited jurisdiction Bill No. 34-0198 An Act amending title 27 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 10, section 330 establishing the Virgin Islands Board of Contractors, Trades and Crafts.
Bill No. 34-0204, An Act amending the Virgin Islands Code title 22, chapter 58, relating to self-insurance and title 29, chapter 10, section 543, relating to the powers of the Port Authority, to authorize the Virgin Islands Port Authority to establish a self-insurance program to cover and manage certain risks.
Bill No. 34-0227, An Act approving the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority’s Three-Year Affordable Housing Plan 2022-2024.
Bill No. 34-0087, An Act amending title 20 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 3 by adding subchapter II providing for a Complete Streets Policy and creating a Complete Streets Task Force within the Department of Public Works to aid in the development and implementation of strategies to increase the usability of all streets for all modes of travel for citizens of all ages and abilities in the Virgin Islands; making a $100,000 appropriation from the Community Facilities Trust Account to the Department of Public works to implement the Complete Streets Policy and for other related purposes (non-germane).
Senators present at today’s legislative session included Donna A. Frett-Gregory, Marvin A. Blyden, Samuel Carrión, Dwayne M. DeGraff, Novelle E. Francis, Jr., Alma Francis Heyliger, Kenneth L. Gittens, Javan E. James, Sr., Franklin D. Johnson, Carla J. Joseph, Steven D. Payne, Sr., Milton E. Potter, Janelle K. Sarauw, Kurt A. Vialet and Genevieve R. Whitaker.