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DETAILS OF EARLY-A.M. FINANCE ACTION TO COME

July 13, 2001 – It was nearly 3 a.m. Friday when the Finance Committee, going into its third day of kneading and pulling, resolved what to do with the governor's $47.2 million supplemental appropriations legislation.
A breakdown of the allotments from the St. Thomas session was not available as the regular workday began Friday morning. The bill was scheduled to be heard Friday on St. Croix at a Rules Committee meeting.
The process had started Wednesday, when the committee heard testimony far into the night from administration officials defending their allotments. That meeting was continued to 4 p.m. Thursday, delayed until 7 p.m. Thursday, started about 7:35 p.m. Thursday, recessed at 8 p.m., and scheduled to resume at 9 p.m. Although there were no more announced delays, the session did not resume until after midnight Friday.
During the abbreviated early evening bout, the committee approved a bill providing early retirement benefits for certain hazardous duty Water and Power Authority employees.
Laurence Bryan, Government Employees Retirement System administrator, had objected to the measure when it came up in Wednesday's hearing, saying it would "bankrupt" the system. The Finance Committee chair, Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen, added an amendment to the bill appropriating $1.9 million for its funding, which Bernice Turnbull, Finance commissioner, had said was available in the General Fund.
Hansen thanked her colleagues at about 3 a.m. Friday and called it a day, or morning.

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