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Senators ponder what to do about a huge piece of legislation. (Source photo by Don Buchanan)

Omnibus Family Bill Gets Support, but Held in Committee

A bill addressing the issues of maternity leave, postpartum care, early childhood screening, banishment of corporal punishment and health care for incarcerated men and women was held in committee on Friday.
Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. discusses his administration's priorities toward reducing property and homelessness during a meeting with members of the Virgin Islands Interagency Council on Homelessness Tuesday in Government House on St. Croix. (Government House photo)

Bryan Proposes USVI Mental Health Law Overhaul; Funding Unclear

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. submitted legislation Thursday aiming to largely reorganize how mental and behavioral health, including alcohol and substance addiction, are treated in V.I. law. The bill, which he mentioned in Monday’s State of the Territory address, does not come with a lot of new money for treatment and care.

Senators Criticize WAPA Then Bail It Out

Senate votes to bailout WAPA with funds from GERS.
Sen. Allison DeGazon introduced the Blue Economy bill. (File photo by Barry Leerdam for the V.I. Legislature)

Senators, Department Heads Want a ‘Blue Economy’

V.I senators and department heads want to move to what they are calling a "Blue Economy," but there are concerns about how it will be organized, funded and what exactly a Blue Economy is.
Sen. Dwayne DeGraff

Tax Amnesty Clears Committee, Moves on to Rules

No one at Tuesday’s hearing of the Senate Finance Committee appeared enthusiastic about another tax amnesty, but senators were willing to offer one more window of 180 days for the tax amnesty.
U.S. Capitol. (NBC News image)

House Passes Spending Bill With V.I. Medicaid Money

Medicaid funding for the USVI appears safe now that the U.S. House of Representatives passed the fiscal year 2020 federal government funding bill including the money. The Senate is expected to pass it and President Donald Trump has indicated he will sign it.
Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. discusses his administration's priorities toward reducing property and homelessness during a meeting with members of the Virgin Islands Interagency Council on Homelessness Tuesday in Government House on St. Croix. (Government House photo)

Bryan: Expand Cannabis Law, Send Taxes to GERS

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. has unveiled legislation broadening the territory's new medical cannabis law, with new taxes directed mostly to the failing Government Employees Retirement System, as well as new rights for Rastafarians and other changes.
U.S. Capitol

Tiptoeing On the Edge: V.I. Medicaid Funding Extended One Month

On Thursday, Congress extended vital Medicaid funding for the U.S. Virgin Islands by one month, briefly holding off damaging cuts to critical health services to the territory's most vulnerable, but also to hospital funds and, ultimately, tax revenues and economic activity.
Jenifer O’Neal testifies Tuesday. (Photo by Barry Leerdam for the V.I. Legislature)

Financial Heads Oppose Bill They Say Bypasses Procurement Rules

Jenifer O’Neal, director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Clarina Elliott, executive assistant commissioner at the Department of Finance, had a long day at the Senate Committee on Finance Tuesday as senators debated bills.
From left, Vincent Richards and Eric Castro Testify at Tuesday’s hearing. (Photo by Barry Leerdam for the V.I. Legislature)

Senate OKs Sub Base Leases for Music Makers and Cement Producer

The Senate Committee on Finance Tuesday voted to approve government leases to Panyard People and Universal Concrete. Both government properties are in Sub Base on St. Thomas.

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