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Senate Panels Acts on Cell Phone Insurance, Board Nominees

Legislation creating a regulatory framework for selling insurance protection for portable consumer electronics like cell phones moved closer to becoming law Thursday, when the Senate Rules Committee voted to send it on for final approval by the full Senate. [Bill 30-0243]

"When you purchase a phone you can buy insurance, but it is not regulated," said Sen. Donald Cole. The legislation creates rules and regulatory oversight over this industry, where before the law was silent, according to Cole.

"It is a source of revenue given the fact that these companies will have to be registered with the Division of Banking and Insurance and pay a fee," he said. Banking and Insurance would also be the enforcement agency over violations of the new regulations, he said."Forty-six states have this legislation and we are bringing up the rear," Cole said.

The measure was introduced by Senate President Shawn-Michael Malone on behalf of Gov. John deJongh Jr.

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Sen. Myron Jackson asked Cole to clarify if the new regulatory framework only applied to cell phones or also to other portable electronic devices. Cole replied that the bill lists what types of devices are not included, "but your cell phone, iPad or tablet, you can purchase insurance for it."

Voting to send the bill on to the full Senate were Jackson, Malone, Cole, Sens. Diane Capehart, Kenneth Gittens and Sammuel Sanes. Sen. Janette Millin Young was absent.

The Rules and Judiciary Committee also approved three of deJongh’s nominations to voluntary boards, sending them on for final approval as well.

Avery Lewis and Phillip Payne are nominees for three-year terms to the Economic Development Authority.

Lewis holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of the Virgin Islands. He has been an elementary school teacher on St. Thomas since 2001. Lewis has also owned Rosie’s Angels Daycare since 2004. He has been active in the teachers’ union and the V.I. Central Labor Council.

Payne has been a resident of the Virgin Islands since 1995, when he moved to the territory and opened up local stores of his Atlanta-based automotive distributor National Parts. He owns several businesses and is a property owner and commercial property landlord. He studied business management and automotive technology at Marietta Tech in Marietta, Ga.

Attorney Douglas Dick was nominated to the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision, which helps ensure that people on parole or probation who come into or leave the territory have uninterrupted, coordinated oversight.

Dick has been a V.I. assistant attorney general for more than 30 years. He served as acting chief of the criminal division of the Department of Justice for two and a half years. He holds a master’s degree in political science from Villanova University in Pennsylvania and a law degree from Creighton University in Nebraska.

All three nominees were sent on for final consideration by the full Senate without opposition.

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