Senators on the Rules and Judiciary Committee started their Monday meeting with six bills on the agenda, and when it was over all six had been forwarded on to the full Senate.
The bills acted on Monday were:
– Bill 33-0036, which seeks to include horses in the definition of livestock;
– Bill 33-0085, which would increase the number of days for the appointment of members to the Legislative Youth Advisory Council;
– Bill 33-0080, which relates to the expiration of appointment of members to the Legislative Youth Advisory Council;
– Bill 33-0061 which speaks to the powers of the Economic Development Commission along with tax reduction benefits for its beneficiaries;
– Bill 33-0098, which would require businesses to offer two options of payment from their customers: and
– Bill 33-0104, which refers to the Economic Recovery Fee. Sens. Barnes, Sarauw, Gittens and Francis all voted in favor while Sens. James and Payne were absent from the vote.
Sen. Novelle E. Francis Jr. spoke in favor of Bill 33-0061, telling the committee members it would require the Economic Development Commission to hold public hearings when beneficiaries sought tax reduction benefits.
Francis also spoke in favor of involving the Legislative Youth Advisory Council, because Sens. Javan James and Steven Payne, who originally proposed the bills, were not in attendance.
“This Youth Advisory Council is nothing new and was first proposed by Positive Nelson sometime back and now brought back by Sen. Steven Payne and Sen. Javan James,” Francis said.
He said the council was a very important part of the Legislature. Hearing from the youth of the territory, getting their involvement and seeking their advisement was good for the Senate.
Sen. Allison DeGazon, who proposed the bill which would include horses in the definition of livestock, said before she came to Monday’s meeting, she spoke with a tax assessor who informed her the bill would cause minimal to no economic impact. DeGazon added the bill would create more small business opportunities within the industry and would assure that racetrack and thoroughbred owners could entice qualified veterinarians to come to the territory.
Bill 33-0104 is what Sen. DeGazon said would help to continue to promote the development of new hotels and resorts in the territory.
“This is just great preparation. It shows that we have went through a crisis, the hurricanes, and we learned. We are doing what we need to do to ensure that our plans for economic development are not thwarted but really remain on the same path. Any bill that seeks to expand our economic base and make it more resilient and put us in a better financial standing I will always support,” DeGazon said.
Sen. Francis said both bills would ensure economic development and promote prosperity.
All six bills now wait to be heard and voted on by the full Senate before they can become law.