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Virgin Islands Law Blog

U.S. Virgin Islands law & politics

Category Archives: Community Affairs

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USVI Government Employees to Contribute More to GERS

Posted in Community Affairs
Tier II government employees saw a small increase in their contributions to the Government Employees Retirement System (GERS) starting February 5. The 1% increase follows a similar measure for Tier I employees that took effect January 1. These increases are part of a plan to boost funding for the GERS, which was poised to collapse [&hellip… Continue Reading

Tourism Industry Continues to Drive USVI Economy

Posted in Community Affairs
The latest economic reports indicate that the summer tourist season in the U.S. Virgin Islands for 2014 was among the strongest in recent memory. This is good news for the territory, following a winter tourist season in which activity actually declined 0.9 percent compared to the same period the year before. The summer numbers, however, [&hellip… Continue Reading

U.S. Virgin Islands Voters Approve Medical Marijuana—What’s Next?

Posted in Community Affairs
On November 4, voters in the U.S. Virgin Islands approved the use of medical marijuana in the Territory, paving the way for legalization of producing, processing, manufacturing and distributing hemp for medicinal purposes in “America’s Paradise”. The measure received widespread support, passing by a margin of 56 to 43 percent. The referendum was nonbinding, which [&hellip… Continue Reading

Film Shoots Coming to US Virgin Islands

Posted in Community Affairs
Pending legislation could mean an increase in the film industry’s already booming business in the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to a source familiar with the industry’s workings in the Territory. The legislation could be passed as soon as the end of the year. For now, shooting in the U.S. Virgin Islands offers no major tax [&hellip… Continue Reading

Zozaya: Putting Politics Aside Would Help USVI Tourism

Posted in Community Affairs, Government Relations
At the 2014 State of the Industry Conference organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization in St. Thomas, keynote speaker Apple Leisure Group CEO Alex Zozaya emphasized the importance of keeping politics and bureaucracy out of the tourism industry if it’s expected to grow. Instead, Zozaya said, tourism should be run like the business that it [&hellip… Continue Reading

Research & Technology Park Earns LEED Silver Certification

Posted in Community Affairs
As part of its ongoing mission to promote sustainability through environmental design and energy efficiency, the University of the Virgin Islands recently received confirmation of an initial success. The Research and Technology Park building on the St. Croix campus has been certified green by the Green Building Certification Institute. RTPark is now considered a LEED [&hellip… Continue Reading

Public Finance Authority Sells Nearly $50 Million in Bonds to Fund Projects

Posted in Community Affairs, Government Relations
In a move that Governor John deJongh, Jr., said would help the U.S. Virgin Islands fund projects already approved by the senate, the Virgin Islands Public Finance Authority (PFA) sold $49.6 million in bonds at the end of August. Among other projects, the funds will provide working capital to territorial hospitals and the general fund, [&hellip… Continue Reading

Budget Cuts Could Impact Tourism Industry

Posted in Community Affairs
For the U.S. Virgin Islands, the news that the three major seasonal festivals — already feeling the impact of budget cuts from last year — will be faced with additional cuts in fiscal year 2015 is cause for concern. The combination of two years of reduced budgets and the lingering effects of some unpredictable events [&hellip… Continue Reading

Experts Say Same-Sex Marriage On Its Way to USVI

Posted in Community Affairs
BoltNagi Attorney Tom Bolt informed the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Finance Committee last month that the territory will most likely be seeing same-sex marriages soon, whether or not residents vote for it. While presenting next year’s budget request for the V.I. Uniform Laws Commission, a branch dedicated to researching and promoting productive uniform state laws, Bolt [&hellip… Continue Reading

DHHS Clarifies Affordable Care Act Issue for US Territories

Posted in Community Affairs
Recently the federal government announced that certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act would no longer apply to U.S. territories — most specifically the requirement that insurance companies must offer coverage to all individuals. The decision related to the Public Health Service Act’s definition of the word “state.” Under the PHSA, the provisions of the [&hellip… Continue Reading

Police, Fire Retirements May Stress Public Services in US Virgin Islands

Posted in Community Affairs, Government Relations
During recent budget hearings before the Finance Committee of the Legislature of the Virgin Islands, police and fire officials alerted the Virgin Islands Senate that their agencies, chronically understaffed already over the last few years, may be in even worse shape in the coming months and years. According to the officials, an unprecedented number of [&hellip… Continue Reading

Could Marijuana Legalization Be on Its Way to the U.S. Virgin Islands?

Posted in Community Affairs
With marijuana legalization and decriminalization efforts sweeping the United States, most notably in Colorado and Washington, advocates here in the U.S. Virgin Islands are calling on our territory to take on similar reforms. At a recent gathering at the University of the Virgin Islands Great Hall, more than 200 advocates attended a forum and discussion [&hellip… Continue Reading

Water & Power Authority Reaches Agreement with EPA

Posted in Community Affairs
Under a legal agreement announced on April 23, the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) will soon come into compliance with the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s air pollution control requirements. When announcing the agreement, the U.S. Justice Department and the EPA stated that it would go a long way toward reducing air pollution throughout [&hellip… Continue Reading

Know the Key Environmental Issues Related to the Hospitality Industry

Posted in Community Affairs
Rapidly growing concerns related to environmental protection have resulted in regulations affecting nearly every industry in the United States and its territories, including the U.S. Virgin Islands. The hospitality industry is no exception, and it has been the focus of a great deal of attention from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other regulators. The [&hellip… Continue Reading

Could the U.S. Virgin Islands Face Bankruptcy Issues Like Detroit?

Posted in Community Affairs, Government Relations
Recent concerns surrounding the U.S. Virgin Islands’ growing debt has led some to wonder whether the territory might soon face bankruptcy issues similar the city of Detroit, Michigan. Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy on July 18, 2013, and was declared eligible on December 3 of the same year. The municipal bankruptcy filing was the [&hellip… Continue Reading

Cockfighting May Soon Be Illegal in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Posted in Community Affairs
A key provision of the federal Agricultural Act of 2014 (known commonly as the farm bill), recently signed into law by President Barack Obama, may soon make cockfighting illegal in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. Currently, the laws related to cockfighting in U.S. territories are ambiguous. An entertainment tax is placed on cockfighting [&hellip… Continue Reading

Virgin Islands Young Lawyer Elected to National Bar Office

Posted in Community Affairs
BoltNagi Associate Steven K. Hardy was recently elected as the District 10 Representative to the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Executive Council at the quarterly meeting of the Virgin Islands Bar (VIBA).  Hardy currently serves as Chair of VIBA’s Bar Journal Committee, Co-Chair of VIBA’s Young Lawyer Committee and as VIBA Delegate to the ABA YLD Assembly… Continue Reading

BoltNagi Attorney Attends ABA Bar Leadership Institute

Posted in Community Affairs
BoltNagi Senior Associate and Virgin Islands Bar Association (VIBA) President-Elect Nycole A. Thompson attended this year’s ABA Bar Leadership Institute (BLI) in Chicago, March 13-15, 2013. Sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Bar Activities and Services and the Division for Bar Services, the ABA Bar Leadership Institute is the premier program for bar association leaders. The program [&hellip… Continue Reading

BoltNagi Attorney Elected President-Elect of VI Bar

Posted in Community Affairs
BoltNagi PC Senior Litigation Associate Nycole A. Thompson has been elected President-Elect of the Virgin Islands Bar Association. As a Member of the VIBA Board of Governors since 2010, she has previously served as Secretary and Co-Chair of the Bar’s CLE Committee. In January 2014, She will become the 57th President of the Territory’s unified [&hellip… Continue Reading

BoltNagi Managing Attorney Selected for National Offices

Posted in Community Affairs
Last month was quite busy for BoltNagi’s Managing Attorney, Tom Bolt, as he was re-elected as Delegate-At-Large of  the American Bar Associate (ABA) House of Delegates, as well as Secretary of the ABA’s Law Practice Management (LPM) Section, at the ABA Annual Meeting in  Chicago, Illinois. While Bolt has served, and continues to serve, several roles for [&hellip… Continue Reading

Attorney Komives Elected to Humane Society Board of Directors

Posted in Community Affairs
Lisa Michelle Kömives, an attorney with the Litigation Practice Group at BoltNagi PC, was elected to serve on the Humane Society of St. Thomas Board of Directors. “I’m honored to be elected to the board, and am looking forward to contributing to the continued efforts of the Humane Society to improve our community”. Attorney Kömives [&hellip… Continue Reading