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Sen. Marvin Blyden’s motion to allow senators to attend the session remotely failed to get a second. (Image from V.I. Legislature video stream)

Unusual Senate Friday Spawns Press Releases Saturday

On Friday, the Senate unanimously approved four nominations from the governor. Senate President Novelle Francis Jr. said the candidates had been vetted through appearances at committees of jurisdiction and the Rules and Judiciary Committee.
Sen. Dwayne DeGraff wears a during Friday’s session. (Image from V.I. Legislature video stream)

Senate Passes Measures to Keep Territory Economy Stable

In an emergency legislative session Friday, widely spaced senators unanimously approved five items which the senators hoped would keep the U.S. Virgin Islands financially stable through the economic instability caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sen. Novelle Francis discusses the federal excise tax on fuel, which he and others think should be repaid to the USVI government. (Photo by Barry Leerdam for the USVI Legislature)

Legislators Teleconference to Discuss COVID-19

Members of the 33rd Legislature met Wednesday via teleconference to discuss the Legislature’s ongoing response to COVID-19, a response that could include canceling all public events and implementing a territorywide sick leave policy.
Airport STT Phase 2-4: The Port Authority estimates that it will take six to eight years to complete construction phases two through four on the Cyril E. King Airport. (Artist's rendering provided by VIPA)

VIPA Says Construction to Begin Soon on Territory’s Airports

The Virgin Islands Port Authority will start spending the $27 million received last year as a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce-Economic Development Administration to begin construction on the Cyril E. King and Henry E. Rohlsen airports.

HFA Touts Breakthroughs in Housing Programs

Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority Executive Director Daryl Griffith confirmed Wednesday that both the home ownership conversion program for Lovenlund and Bellevue communities and the EnVIsion Homeowner Rehabilitation and Reconstruction program, are in full swing.
AT&T Legal Counsel Tom Bolt testifies before Wednesday’s committee. (Photo by Chaunte Herbert for the V.I. Legislature)

AT&T Leaves STJ Without Internet, Creates $100,000 Mistake

The “Call Before You Dig” bill did not stop AT&T from unintentionally cutting Virgin Islands Next Generation Network’s backbone fiber line on St. Thomas, leaving St. John without internet access for four hours.
Wallace Williams appears at Tuesday's Senate committee hearing. (Photo by Alvin Burke Jr. for the V.I. Legislature)

Two Men Honored for STX Community Contributions

The Senate Committee on Culture, Historic Preservation and Aging honored the lifelong contributions of two men to the territory, voting to forward resolutions commemorating their accomplishments.
Dodson James, nominee for a position on the U.S. Virgin Islands Horse Racing Commission, testifies during Monday’s Rules and Judiciary hearing. (Photo by Chaunte Herbert)

Racing Commission Nominee Dreams of Horse Racing Reemergence

Dodson James has been in the business of horse racing for more than 40 years. During Monday’s Rules and Judiciary Committee hearing he passionately expressed his dreams for what the industry could be in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
U.S. Capitol (Shutterstock image)

Analysis: Senate Should Act Soon on Gov. Bryan’s Mental Health Care...

Behavioral health, substance abuse issues and mental health care for the V.I. community as a whole, in jails and in schools remain severely under-addressed, with ripple effects on everyone’s quality of life.
V.I. Department of Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion testifies during Thursday’s Health, Hospitals, and Human Services Committee hearing. (Photo by Chaunte Herbert for the V.I. Legislature)

Mental Health Disparities Still a Concern in Territory

To bolster awareness and address the stigma surrounding mental health, a Senate panel voted Thursday to forward a bill declaring the month of May as Virgin Islands Mental Health Awareness Month.

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