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Thursday, July 9, 2020
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Senators Consider Cuts to Corrections and Information Technology Bureaus

At the Senate Finance Committee's budget hearing for the Bureau of Corrections and the Bureau of Information Technology Wednesday, senators' questions covered a wide swath of territory, from what corrections officers are paid to whether government computers are safe from hackers.

Senators Slam Waste Management for Continuing to Pay Former Director

Adrian Taylor, until recently the acting executive director of the Waste Management Authority, was not present at the Authority's budget hearing Wednesday, but he was a big topic of discussion.
Department of Sports, Parks, and Recreation Commissioner Calvert White testifies during Thursday’s Finance Committee meeting. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, USVI Legislature)

Courts, Parks and Public Spaces Will Soon Receive a Facelift

Work on the U.S. Virgin Islands' parks and public spaces is in disarray, but Sports, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Calvert White told the Senate Finance Committee the department has obtained significant funding and is prepared to proceed – carefully.

Olympic Committee Continues Push for Sports Complex

The global COVID-19 pandemic has slowed the realization of a Virgin Islands Olympic Committee headquarters, which would serve a dual purpose as a sports complex and FEMA approved shelter.

Finance Committee OKs New Special Tax Break Zone for STX

Lawmakers say they want to diversify the Virgin Islands economy by pushing forward a bill that will designate 3,000 acres on the south shore of St. Croix as an enterprise zone.

STT Medical Facilities Continue to Struggle with Medicaid Compensation

St. Thomas medical establishments are still battling for Medicaid reimbursements, despite government officials saying in December that the “Medicaid cliff” had been averted.
Sen. Novelle Francis Jr. gavels to order Monday’s Committee of the Whole hearing. (Photo by Chaunte Herbert, V.I. Legislature)

Senate Sends 26 Measures to Governor for Final Approval

During a robust day full of agenda items, the Committee of the Whole voted to pass two board nominations, two lease agreements, six rezoning requests, four coastal zone management requests and 12 additional bills.
USVI Department of Agriculture Commissioner Positive Nelson testifies virtually before the Rules and Judiciary Committee. (Screenshot of streamed session)

Rules Panel Forwards Nelson’s Cannabis Board Nomination

The Rules and Judiciary Committee on Friday forwarded the nomination for Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture Commissioner Positive Nelson to serve on the Cannabis Advisory Board.

PSC Says WAPA Rate Decrease Not Likely

Public Services Commission Executive Director Donald Cole informed Senate Finance Committee members that even after WAPA’s conversion to propane is complete on St. Thomas, ratepayers are not likely to see the large immediate rate savings they were promised.

Labor Department Faces Reduced Budget Amid Pandemic

Labor Commissioner Gary Molloy said his department’s Division of Unemployment Insurance has its hands full processing an unprecedented number of claims and adapting to new procedures during a pandemic. Now, if the recommended fiscal year 2021 budget is passed, Labor may have to navigate these realities with dwindling funds.

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