Gov. John deJongh Jr. signed a slew of legislation on topics from vehicle emissions testing to regulating physical therapy this week.
He signed legislation sponsored by Sen. Sammuel Sanes to amend a law he’d sponsored in 2013 prohibiting the family of chemicals used to make intoxicants sold over the counter as “bath salts” and so-called "synthetic marijuana." Sanes’ bill expands the previous legislation to include "any chemicals manufactured "with the intent to circumvent the criminal penalties for synthetic cannabinoids or other substances banned."
DeJongh signed legislation sponsored by Sen. Diane Capehart making "home invasion" a separate offense from burglary. In addition to defining home invasion, the bill sets penalties of between 10 and 30 years in prison, depending on the severity of accompanying threats or acts of violence. Under existing law, police would charge someone who committed a home invasion with burglary in the first degree, while this bill would create a new category.
And he signed legislation repealing school calendar changes so that the upcoming school year will begin and end on the usual dates.
DeJongh also signed legislation:
– to reprogram $200,000 of funding for the Durant Tower construction in Frederiksted and devote $150,000 to upgrade the La Reine Fish Market and $50,000 to renovate the Estate Profit Recreation Center;
– to give the Bureau of Motor Vehicles the authority to create an emissions testing system;
– reforming the law that oversees the practices of physical therapists to allow physical therapists to treat patients for up to 45 days or 12 visits without a doctor’s referral;
– increasing the terms of office on the territory’s two horse racing commissions from three years to four;
– designating October as Disability History and Awareness Month;
– appropriating $30,000 to build a statue of late boxer Emile Griffith;
– and a resolutions honoring teacher Bianca Eugenie Maduro Andre.