ST. THOMAS- Members of the Committee on Rules and Judiciary, chaired by Senator Milton E. Potter, convened in a meeting at the Earle B. Ottley Legislative Chambers and voted in the affirmative for several legislative measures. All approved items on the agenda will be forwarded to the full body for further consideration.
Senator Potter commended the committee for advancing all the measures. Today, we have a diverse agenda. “We were able to pass several meaningful pieces of legislation that will positively impact the residents of the Virgin Islands,” Senator Potter said.
Lawmakers voted and approved the following measures unanimously:
- 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 intra-island transport of motor vehicles to provide additional requirements in section 225a for transporting motor vehicles intra-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. The bill was sponsored by Senators Novelle E. Francis, Jr., and Franklin D. Johnson.
- 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. The bill was sponsored by Senators Novelle E. Francis, Jr., Carla J. Joseph, and Donna A. Frett-Gregory, and co-sponsored by Senator Samuel Carrión.
- Bill No. 34-0148- An Act honoring and commending LaVerne E. Ragster for her contributions and research efforts to the Virgin Islands, the University of the Virgin Islands, and the children of the Virgin Islands and naming the University of the Virgin Islands Administration and Conference Center on the island of St. Thomas in her honor. The bill was sponsored by Senator Donna A. Frett-Gregory and co-sponsored by Senator Javan E. James, Sr.
- 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 the Economic Development Program, amends the incentives to beneficiaries to further their commitments to investment in the Virgin Islands community. The bill was sponsored by Senator Donna A. Frett-Gregory.
- 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. The bill was sponsored by Senators Samuel Carrión, Genevieve R. Whitaker, and Marvin A. Blyden.
- 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, 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. The bill was sponsored by Senators Milton E. Potter, Kenneth L. Gittens, Dwayne M. DeGraff, and Genevieve R. Whitaker, and co-sponsored by Senator Samuel Carrión.
- 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.” The bill was sponsored by Senators Milton E. Potter and Marvin Blyden. The bill creates an 11-member council that will provide recommendations to the Executive and Legislative branches of government with respect to strengthening efforts to support the roles of fathers in Virgin Islands families.
Two bills heard by the committee did not gain unanimous approval. However, the following measures passed:
- 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, which was sponsored by Senator Dwayne M. Degraff and co-sponsored by Senator Samuel Carrión.
- 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 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 methods of notification to a crime victim of an inmate’s release; and for other related purposes.
Senators attending today’s meeting included Milton E. Potter, Kenneth L. Gittens, Novelle E. Francis, Jr., Carla J. Joseph, Franklin D. Johnson, Steven D. Payne, Sr., Genevieve R. Whitaker, Samuel Carrión, Dwayne M. Degraff, and Donna Frett-Gregory.