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V.I. Attorney Honored at National Conference

July 25, 2008 – Tom Bolt, managing attorney of the St. Thomas law firm, Tom Bolt & Associates P.C., was among the 250 attorneys, judges, law professors, legislators and other state and territorial officials – all lawyers – participating in the 2008 Annual Meeting of the Uniform Law Commission (ULC), in Big Sky, Montana. Bolt was honored at the meeting by being elected as a Life Member of the ULC, having served as U.S. Virgin Islands Commissioner since 1988. He is currently a member of the Legislative Council of the national organization.
Now in its 117th year, the ULC is comprised of more than 300 commissioners appointed by every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to draft and promote enactment of uniform laws that are designed to solve problems common to all jurisdicitions. Commissioners donate their time as a pro bono public service.
They come together as the ULC once a year to study and consider draft of specific statutes in areas of law where uniformity between the various states and territories is desirable. Eight new uniform acts were approved Thursday at the ULC's annual meeting, dealing with issues ranging from a new law that addresses common interest ownership communities such as condominiums and other types of planned communities to a revised act providing for enhanced enforcement of child support laws.
Bolt, a longstanding member of the V.I.Bar Association's Legislation and Law Reform Committee, noted that reform of the U.S.V.I. condominium law has been a goal for local attorneys. "With all the recent litigation regarding condominiums in the territory, the Legislature of the Virgin Islands would be doing the public a tremendous service by enacting this new law."
The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) was amended at the ULC Annual Meeting. Lisa Harris-Moorhead, code revisor to the 27th Legislature of the Virgin Islands and the third member of the territory's delegation, served as a member of the UIFSA drafting committee. The new legislation is tied to a federal mandate enacting the 2000 Hague Convention on Maintenance, which was signed by President George W. Bush earlier this year. The UIFSA 2008 amendments modify the current version of UIFSA's international provisions to comport with the obligations of the United States under the treaty. The federal enacting legislation states that UIFSA 2008 must be adopted by all states and territories by 2010 to insure continued funding of local child support programs.
Information on all of these acts, including the approved text of each act, can be found at the ULC website, www.nccusl.org
Once an act is approved by the ULC, it is officially promulgated for consideration in the states and territories, and the various legislatures are urged to adopt it. Since its inception, the ULC has been responsible for more than 200 acts, among them such bulwarks of state statutory law as the Uniform Commercial Code, the Uniform Probate Code, the Uniform Partnership Act and the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act.
The Virgin Islands joined the ULC in 1988 with Attorney Bolt as its first commissioner and has enacted over 41 uniform or model acts of the conference. The procedures of the commission insure meticulous consideration of each act. The ULC usually spends a minimum of two years on each draft. Sometimes, the drafting work extends much longer. No single state or territory has the resources necessary to duplicate this careful, detailed, non-partisan effort.

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