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Wednesday, June 29, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesDeJongh Signs Eight Bills, Vetoes Others

DeJongh Signs Eight Bills, Vetoes Others

Late Friday, Gov. John deJongh Jr approved a bill establishing a dual-credit program between the Department of Education and the University of the Virgin Islands and signed or vetoed 14 other bills, according to Government House.

“Even though the $50,000 appropriation presents some challenges, I sincerely hope this measure will act as an additional incentive for our students during their final years of high school to adjust their focus to college level academics,” deJongh said in a statement Saturday, adding the caveat that an alternate funding source for the worthwhile program must be identified.

DeJongh also signed into law a measure that codifies a common practice regarding car rental liability insurance in the local rental car industry, one that has the support of the territory’s insurers.

He also signed bills:

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– Establishing a program at UVI to give academic credit to students for prior learning experiences;

– Changing the Morris F. de Castro Fellowship from a loan to a grant program and adding the requirement that each of the recipients shall return to work for the Government of the Virgin Islands for at least three years;

– Empowering the Board of Career and Technical Education to certify private career and technical schools within the territory;

– With revisions to the criminal statutes regarding arson, eliminating anachronistic terminology describing the elements of the crime;

– Assigning revenue from the marine terminal user’s tax directly to the V.I. Port Authority;

– Increasing the availability of appropriated funds for use in completing the first phase of the Department of Education’s longitudinal data system;

DeJongh approved extra funding for the V.I. Superior Court, but said the executive branch "will have to absorb an additional General Fund deficit of $2.4 million."

DeJongh also approved a use variance for a private parcel in Estate La Grande Princess on St. Croix. and a zoning change designation in Estate Frydenhoj on St. Thomas, following recommendations from the Department of Planning and Natural Resources.

The governor vetoed a bill revising chiropractic practice regulations in the territory, "despite the governor’s support for its overall goals," according to Government House, because the legislation;’s language had flaws. He said he supports that national trend toward expansion of chiropractic treatment services, and hopes legislators will revisit the bill.

DeJongh also rejected a bill to grant 90 days of amnesty for delinquent property taxpayers, absolving them of all fees, penalties and interest levied on property tax assessments currently due and owing for the tax years 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

“Aside from dubious assertions that such a device will result in additional revenue collection, about which no evidence pertains, this bill is nothing more than an insult to those responsible taxpayers who have paid their taxes on time or who have paid the requisite fees, interest and penalties on past due property taxes for the years in question,” deJongh wrote.

The bill would also "undermine years of hard work performed by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor in undertaking a massive effort to collect delinquent property taxes," according to Government House.

The governor approved some sections of an executive budget bill, but he line-item vetoed several amended appropriations that enacted cuts he considered disproportionate and without justification. The vetoes preserved funding for safety-net programs supporting educational, financial and social infrastructure, according to deJongh.

“Despite the aforementioned line-item vetoes, I remain committed to working with the members of the 30th Legislature to balance the Fiscal Year 2013 Executive Budget by addressing the projected General Fund cash flow shortfall and have recommended other General Fund appropriations that could be reduced to do so,” deJongh said.

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