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Bryan Signs 7 Bills into Law, Vetoes 3 Others Passed by Legislature Nov. 14

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. on Thursday signed into law seven bills passed by the 35th Legislature during its November session, and vetoed two. (Submitted photo)

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. acted on bills passed by the 35th Legislature at its session on Nov. 14 by signing seven into law and vetoing three — including one naming the bridge in Nadir on St. Thomas after Wayne “Facts Man” Adams, and another giving St. Croix residents affected by the lead crisis a break on their water bills — and acknowledging several of the Legislature’s nominations and commendations, Government House announced Thursday. 

Bryan approved:

  • Bill No. 35-0048, an Act amending Title 3, Virgin Islands Code, requiring the Government Employees’ Retirement System to send each active member an annual report of contributions by U.S. mail or by electronic means, at the member’s option;
  • Bill No. 35-0074, an Act honoring and commending former Senator Almando “Rocky” Liburd for his lifetime of service to the people of the Virgin Islands, especially St. John, and renaming the North Shore Road on St. John “The Almando ‘Rocky’ Liburd Drive”;
  • Bill No. 35-0180, an Act appropriating $5,124,000 from the Community Facilities Trust Fund in the fiscal year Sept. 30, 2024, for the construction and site improvements of the Paul E. Joseph Stadium Project and requiring the Virgin Islands Department of Public Works to submit status reports of the project to the Legislature of the Virgin Islands;
  • Bill No. 35-0190, an Act to appropriate $350,000 from the General Fund to provide bottled drinking water to persons residing in the areas identified by the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority as most impacted by elevated levels of copper and lead in the potable water system, and to provide various other appropriations and amendments;
  • Bill No. 35-0191, an Act appropriating the sum of $17,000,000, or so much of that sum as is necessary, in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2024, from the excess of funds contained in the Debt Service Reserve Fund for the Gross Receipts Taxes Revenue Bonds to the Virgin Islands Port Authority for the dredging of the Charlotte Amalie Harbor and establishing reporting requirements for the expended funds.
  • Bill No. 35-0067, an Act approving the lease agreement between the Government of the Virgin Islands and Inter-Island Auto Group, LLC d/b/a VIP Quick Lube for Improved Parcel No. 70 Submarine Base, No. 6A Southside Quarter, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, to be used as a new and used car dealership, repair shop, importer of goods, retail shops, store, and for other related purposes
  • Bill No. 35-0104, an Act approving the lease agreement between the Government of the Virgin Islands and Roncan, Inc. d/b/a Sandcastle on the Beach to lease Plot No. 128-B Two Brothers, Smithfield, and Hesselberg, West End Quarter and Plot No. 129 Two Brothers, Smithfield, and Hesselberg, West End Quarter, St. Croix, Virgin Islands.

Bryan vetoed Bill No. 35-0014, an Act posthumously honoring and commending Wayne “Facts Man” Adams for articulating and bringing events of historic significance to the people of the Virgin Islands by naming the bridge at the Nadir intersection on St. Thomas after him, according to the press release. 

 While I immensely respect Mr. Adams’ contributions to historic research and appreciate his testimony on personal struggles, I must challenge the appropriateness of naming a bridge in his honor,” Bryan wrote.

 The naming of roads, buildings, and bridges has typically been reserved for notable elected officials and renowned public servants. For example, in St. Thomas the airport entrance road was renamed honoring and commending the late Ambassador Terrence A. Todman. Ambassador Todman was recognized for his outstanding diplomatic service to the United States,” said Bryan.

“Additionally, a road in St. Croix was named after four-term Senator Sidney Lee, who served as Vice President of the 13th Legislature and chairman of the Finance Committee. He subsequently served many terms on Virgin Islands boards and was a philanthropist, businessman, and scientist. Equating these contributions to that of our beloved Mr. Adams does a disservice to those we have honored and will honor in the future,” Bryan wrote.

Bryan also vetoed Bill No. 35-0200, an Act requiring the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority to issue a monthly water bill abatement for six months to residential customers receiving potable water service in an area impacted by unsatisfactory levels of lead and copper, the release stated. 

While I understand the intent of this measure to provide relief for impacted residents, this proposed solution is overbroad, may violate WAPA’s obligations to its lenders, and would result in an unfunded mandate,” the governor wrote.

“The measure seeks to fund this proposal using any available federal monies,’ however, it does not provide a proposed source of such monies, and the Legislature is not authorized to appropriate federal funds. In lieu of approving this measure, and in addition to the vouchers which have already been provided, WAPA shall implement a flat bill credit for the next six months based on recommended flushing of taps for five minutes, three times per day, at an estimate cost of $25 per customer per month in the affected areas,” Bryan wrote.

Additionally, Bryan vetoed Bill No. 35-0201, an Act amending title 19 Virgin Islands Code, part VI, chapter 51, subchapter I, section 1303 requiring every owner or operator of a public water system to monitor, test, and analyze the water system’s lead and copper content at least once a year. Current Environmental Protection Agency standards call for testing every three years.

Bryan acknowledged the Legislature’s favorable action on the nominations of Sandra L. Setorie, Clement “Cain” Magras, Laura Nichols-Samms, and Kasima I. Knight-Hodge and the Legislature’s override of his veto of Bill No. 35-0082, the release stated. 

Bryan also acknowledgeResolution No. 1908 (Bill No. 35-0091), Resolution honoring and commending Aliyah Boston for her many accomplishments in girls’ and women’s basketball, her contribution as an ambassador for the territory, and her contribution to women’s sports worldwide, and awarding her the Key to the territory, it said. 

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated after Government House issued a correction including the veto of a third bill by Gov. Albert Bryan Jr.

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