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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, July 18, 2024


In Washington on Wednesday, the House Resources Committee unanimously passed a bill sponsored by Delegate Donna Christian Christensen aimed at reducing the number of senators in the V.I. legislature.
The bill, HR 2296, would amend the Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands and give the V.I. Legislature the authority to determine the size of its makeup and the number of members needed to constitute a quorum.
Christensen said she anticipated that the bill will be brought to the House floor for a vote "after the Fourth of July recess, in mid-July." She expressed optimism that the measure will be approved.
In a November referendum, voters in the territory will be able to express their preference for reducing the Senate from 15 to either 11 or 9 members, of for keeping the status quo.
The original reduction bill was spurred by efforts of V.I. Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg in 1998. It called for reducing the number of V.I. senators from 15 to nine. In an effort to keep territorial politicians from coming back to Congress in the future seeking a change to the Organic Act for further reductions, House Resources Committee chair Don Young advised that the exact number of senators be left open and that the number be determined by local law.
"It’s good news and I’m sure Sen. Donastorg is very happy," Christensen said. "I just hope the people of the Virgin Islands have a full discussion on the issue."

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