The Rules and Judiciary Committee Wednesday moved four bills with favorable recommendations to the full Senate without a “nay” vote.
If enacted, the bills will:
– Form a Medicare fraud unit,
– Increase punishment for negligent homicide,
– Establish a psychiatric medical doctoral program scholarship, and
– Appropriate from the St. Croix Capital Improvement Fund a match for federal funds for the St. Croix Molasses Pier Enhancement Project.
The Molasses Pier project will enable cargo presently offloaded in Gallows Bay to be offloaded at the Gordon A. Finch Molasses Pier and make way for the yacht-friendly project being developed in Gallows Bay.
The bill on negligent homicide will increase the punishment from five years to 10 years. Sen. Janelle Sarauw voted in favor of the bill but said the bigger concern was non-enforcement of laws, such as driving under the influence, already on the books.
Sen. Novelle Francis Jr. said the establishment of the scholarship in the psychiatric field was a way to encourage residents to get a degree and come back to the Virgin Islands and help with the territory’s mental health crisis.
Attending the hearing were Sens. Francis, Sarauw, Alicia Barnes, Kenneth Gittens, Myron Jackson and Javan James. Steven Payne Sr. was absent.