The federal Virgin Islands of the United States Centennial Commission Act is one step closer to becoming law, after it passed the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform with a unanimous vote Tuesday, according to Delegate Stacey Plaskett.
“I am grateful for the support of my colleagues in the Oversight Committee and I am hopeful that their support will help move this important legislation forward. My staff and I will continue to work toward bringing this legislation to the House floor for a vote in the near future,” Plaskett said in a statement.
The USVI Centennial Commission Act, formally titled House Resolution 2614, will create a congressional commission to plan and carry out local and national events related to the 1917 transfer of the Virgin Islands from Denmark to the United States.
Plaskett said she “expects the commission to not only bring a national awareness to the events commemorating the transfer, but to also assist the local Virgin Islands Centennial Commission with the efforts already under way."
Shortly after taking office in 2015, Plaskett began working with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs, which later announced $500,000 in grant funding to the local centennial commission to assist in the initial planning of activities.
Once formed, the congressional commission will engage Congress and the executive branch in a new national discussion around the historical issues still affecting the U.S. Virgin Islands and the United States’ other island territories.
Plaskett’s proposal, which was introduced alongside a resolution to create a postal stamp commemorating the historical 1917 event, has already garnered the support of more than 70 members of Congress, according to Plaskett’s office.
The territory will commemorate the centennial of the transfer in just more than a year, on March 31, 2017.