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Sunday, May 19, 2024
HomeNewsLocal governmentSenate Overrides Veto, Sends Bills to Governor

Senate Overrides Veto, Sends Bills to Governor

Senate President Novelle James presided over Tuesday’s last 2023 session of the Senate. (Photo courtesy of V.I. Legislature)

The Senate, in its last scheduled full session of the year, moved a variety of measures that went from purchasing the building the Labor Department has leased for 25 years on St. Thomas to protecting newborn babies from potential abandonment.

Senators also overrode a veto by Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. of a bill honoring Wayne “Facts Man” Adams for bringing events of historical significance to Virgin Islanders. The bill also called for the naming of the bridge at the Nadir intersection on St. Thomas after him.

Bryan wrote in his veto of that bill, “While I immensely respect Mr. Adams’ contributions to historical research and appreciate his testimony on personal struggles, I must challenge the appropriateness of naming a bridge in his honor. The naming of roads, buildings, and bridges has typically been reserved for notable elected officials and renowned public servants.” He concluded, “Equating these contributions to that of our beloved Mr. Adams does a disservice to those we have honored and will honor in the future.”

Senators said many people who were never elected or never worked for the government made significant contributions to the community.

Senators failed to get enough votes to override the governor’s veto of a bill to require “every owner or operator of a public water system to monitor, test, and analyze the water system’s lead and copper content at least once a year.”

The bills now sitting on the governor’s desk include:

  • A bill allowing the issuance of operators’ licenses and identification cards for limited local-purpose identification cards and operators’ licenses without providing certain federally required documentation.
  • A bill establishing medical and geriatric parole releases.
  • A bill to allow businesses operating under a trade name to have the option of renewing the trade name every two, six, or 10 years.
  • A bill requiring background checks for IT personnel and employees of the Bureau of Information Technology, agencies that have data centers, and any employee who handles confidential information.
  • A bill relating to the foreclosure of liens upon real property.
  • A bill directing the Health Department to develop and approve mobile integrated healthcare programs.
  • A bill relating to the invasion of privacy of accident and crime victims by first responders.
  • A bill to establish a “Real Time Crime Center” centralized data system within the Police Department
  • A bill enacting the Safe Haven Newborn Protection Act to provide a mechanism for a newborn infant to be relinquished to a safe environment, for the parents of the newborn infant to remain anonymous if they choose and avoid civil or criminal liability for the act of relinquishing the newborn infant.
  • A bill relating to emergency communications during an emergency and major disasters by adding an Auxiliary Communications Unit within the Territorial Emergency Management Agency and providing an auxiliary communications resource.
  • A bill requiring the commissioner of Education to hire a school nurse supervisor per district and school health technicians for every public school.
  • A bill appropriating $2.5 million for the purchase of Plot Nos. 53A, 53B, 54A & 54B Kronprindsens Gade, Crown Prince Quarter, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.
  • A bill to allow a family or household member, law enforcement officer, or healthcare worker to intervene and file a court petition to temporarily confiscate and ban a person’s access to guns for one year if that person is deemed to be a risk to themselves or others.
  • A bill changing the date for commencing the 2024 Regular Session.
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