Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. took action on eight bills and acknowledged two resolutions sent up from the 35th Legislature, Government House announced Friday.
Bryan’s approval of Bill No. 35-0012 corrected language in the V.I. code to make it possible for persons living outside the territory to serve on boards and commissions, according to the press release.
“This will better allow us to fill vacancies on boards and commissions with qualified public servants,” Bryan wrote in his transmittal letter to Senate President Novelle Francis Jr.
In addition, Bryan’s approval of Bill No. 35-0012 increases the retirement pension for National Guard retirees and makes it possible for the Virgin Islands Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation to fund RAW Basketball and the Virgin Islands Little League, the press release stated.
“While I am pleased to support programming for basketball and little league, I must note that this bill appropriates another $145,000 from the General Fund without collaboration with the Executive Branch to confirm that funds are available for expenditure,” the governor wrote.
Bryan approved Bill No. 35-0106, appropriating $700,000 from the General Fund for the purpose of hiring dialysis nurses and other staff, according to the release.
“While we seek long-term solutions for dialysis care in the territory, I am pleased to support this critical continuation of care for our approximately 130 residents in need of dialysis,” Bryan wrote.
Zoning requests Bryan approved:
• Bill No. 35-0079, changing the zoning designation in Estate Concordia, West End Quarter, St. Croix, from R-2 to R-3.
• Bill No. 35-0080, rezoning Plot No. 52-B Estate Hannah’s Rest, West End Quarter, St. Croix, Virgin Islands, from C to B-3.
• Bill No. 35-0088, rezoning Plot No. 34-A Estate Two Brothers and Smithfield, West End Quarter, St. Croix from R-3 to B-3.
• Bill No. 35-0092, rezoning Plot No. 140-H Estate St. George, Prince Quarter, St. Croix, Virgin Islands, from R-2 to B-3 Business Scattered
• Bill No. 35-0093, granting a variance from the R-2 zoning designation for Parcel No. 14 Rem. Estate Carolina, Coral Bay Quarter, St. John.
• Bill No. 35-0105, Minor Coastal Zone Permit CZT-12-16W issued to Emerald Beach Corporation d/b/a Emerald Beach Hotel for a term of 20 years for the installation, use, and occupancy of submerged land by three swim buoys, an Aquabana and a floating dinghy dock in Estate Lindbergh Bay, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
Bryan acknowledged two resolutions – Resolution No. 1904 (Bill No. 35-0016), an Act honoring and commending Board of Elections Supervisor Caroline Fawkes and the entire Virgin Islands Election System team for their tireless service and contributions to the Virgin Islands community and on the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of the Election System of the Virgin Islands; and Resolution No. 1905 (Bill No. 35-0062), honoring and commending Gregory Hodge, better known as DJ Avalanche, for his outstanding contributions as a disk jockey, radio talk show host, and entertainer, the release stated.
Bryan acknowledged the Legislature’s override of two bills he vetoed — Bill No. 35-0055, pertaining to a change in the curriculum of elementary and secondary schools to ensure that V.I. and Caribbean history are integrated into school curriculum for kindergarten through 12th grade, and Bill No. 35-0061, directing the Virgin Islands Inspector General to conduct an audit of the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority at a cost of $250,000, it said.
“Mandating specific courses alters graduation requirements and will likely displace other requirements and electives,” Governor Bryan wrote of the Legislature’s override of Bill No. 35-0055. “I encourage the members of this esteemed body to work collaboratively with the affected departments when crafting legislation to ensure that the opinions of the experts are considered and so that the intended result can be achieved without causing additional obstacles.”
The Legislature’s override of the governor’s veto of Bill No. 35-0061, which will involve the Inspector General in an audit of WAPA, “sets a dangerous precedent by effectively forcing the Inspector General to operate as an extension of the Legislature, rather than as an independent agency overseeing the totality of government,” Bryan wrote.