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Rules Committee Approves Nominees, Milk Bill

Nov. 9, 2005 — The Senate Committee on Rules and Judiciary Tuesday moved eight nominations for various boards forward with favorable votes to the full senate. The committee also moved the Dairy Industry Act of 2005 forward.
Chaired by Sen. Shawn-Michael Malone, the committee considered nominations to the Government Employees' Retirement System Board of Trustees, V.I. Waste Management Authority, Board of Psychology Examiners, V.I. Board of Tax Review and St. Croix Horse Racing Commission.
Yvonne E. Bowsky was nominated to the GERS Board of Trustees. According to a press release from the senate, she said she learned, having already served four years on the board, that the overriding issue of the GERS is how to deal with the $898 million unfunded liability. She told committee members that the system must be saved. She added that it is the board's intention to make the operation of the system user friendly, accountable, and more efficient. To do this, she said, ''We must work closely with other departments and agencies to clean up the membership data.''
Bowsky said there are no easy fixes. She said the system makes the single most economic impact on the V.I. economy. However, she added, the 26th Legislature must step up to the plate and take the necessary action to stop the bleeding.
Francisco Depusoir, nominated to the V.I. Board of Tax Review, said, according to the release, that he would like to have resolved several tax cases, which are pending. He would also like to make necessary improvements on the board's processes, implement the board's policy and procedures and assist in the tax reassessment project.
The Waste Management Authority nominee, Llewellyn Reed II, said the first improvement he would make to the Authority would be to correct the lack of procedures. He said procedures need to be added to comply with federal mandates. He added that it needs money to ensure compliance. He also told committee members of the possibility of re-opening the recycling program. According to him, a program could be implemented where a community's plastics are recycled and made into playground equipment and other useful things.
Reed II said used tires, which pose serious health risks, can be recycled in an effective way. He indicated there are ways to recycled shredded tires and mix them with chemical agents and asphalt, which can be used to pave roads.
Gregory Bennerson, a former senator, nominated to the Psychology Examiners' Board, said he brings a unique experience to the board. He said he did not believe the board will somehow overcome all the obstacles that the area of psychology poses in the Virgin Islands, but he believes advocacy will enable the Virgin Islands to move forward.
All the nominees to the St. Croix Horse Racing Commission — Norman Cuencas, Wayne Biggs, Betty Wilson and Lawrence Motta — told committee members that they support the idea of allowing slot machines to be placed at the Randall ''Doc'' James Race Track. They all agreed that this is the trend in the horse racing industry.
In regards to the Dairy Act, Sen. Usie Richards proposed amendments that were added to it before members voted in favor of it moving on to the full body. The bill was subject to a debate Friday in the Committee on Health, Hospitals and Human Services Committee. (See "Island Milk Producers Churned Up About Butter").
Members present at the hearing were Sens. Malone, Lorraine Berry, Richards, Pedro "Pete" Encarnacion, Terrence ''Positive'' Nelson and Ronald Russell. Non-Committee member Sen. Neville James was also present.
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