Virgin Islands Law Blog

Virgin Islands Law Blog

U.S. Virgin Islands law & politics

Category Archives: Government Relations

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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, … Continue Reading

Officials Continue to Discuss Unified Court System

Posted in Government Relations
The U.S. Virgin Islands Supreme Court and Superior Court remain locked in a debate over the authority the Supreme Court would be allotted if the two systems merged, the courts’ heads said during budget testimonies in July before the 30th Legislature’s Committee on Finance. Although both courts are in favor of merging into one entity, … 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 … Continue Reading

US Virgin Islands Businesses Gain Access to USDA’s REAP

Posted in Government Relations
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) offered a seminar on best practices last month to local businesses at the U.S. Virgin Islands Small Business Development Center. The informative seminar, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development office, aimed to educate small business owners about resources and options it has available for sustaining … Continue Reading

Governor Vetoes Tax Break Changes for RT Park Businesses

Posted in Corporate & Financial Services, Government Relations
In a controversial move, U.S. Virgin Islands Governor John deJongh has vetoed a bill that would have widened the variety of businesses at Kingshill’s Research and Technology (RT) Park deemed eligible for considerable tax breaks. The tax breaks are incentive benefits bestowed by the RT Park to its tenants at the park, preventing them from … Continue Reading

Bill in U.S. Virgin Islands Legislature Could Hurt Local Employers

Posted in Government Relations, Labor & Employment
A proposed bill before the Legislature of the Virgin Islands has the potential to hurt employers and business owners throughout the Territory and inhibit expansion of small businesses. Bill No. 30-0349, known as the Virgin Islands Healthy Workplace Act of 2014, aims to address issues like bullying, abuse and harassment at work — which the … Continue Reading

U.S. Virgin Islands Ban on E-Cigarettes for Minors: Are They Really Dangerous?

Posted in Government Relations
A recent bill put forth in the U.S. Virgin Islands legislature would make it illegal to sell e-cigarettes and nicotine vaporizers to minors. The bill also bans other alternative tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco and snuff. Senator Sammuel Sanes sponsored Bill 30-0268, as did co-sponsors Senators Kenneth Gittens and Diane Capehart. On March 21, … Continue Reading

U.S. Virgin Islands Government Workers Will Soon Receive Mandatory Assessments

Posted in Government Relations
The Government Employee’s Service Commission Health Insurance Board recently passed an important change to territorial government worker health policies in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The new rule stipulates that active government employees and retirees under the age of 65 are required to receive health risk assessments. The alternative is to pay a steep financial penalty, … 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 … Continue Reading

New FERC Order Lifts Renewable Energy Obstacles

Posted in Government Relations
A new ruling by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has opened the doors to connect more solar arrays and wind farms to the power grid. FERC’s new ruling in Order 792, updates its existing rules for small generators to reflect the latest developments in the energy storage field. The new order adds energy storage … Continue Reading

VI Attorney General OK’s Internet Gaming Law

Posted in Government Relations
The Virgin Islands Casino Control Commission and the Office of the Governor recently confirmed the legality of the "Virgin Islands Internet Gaming Act".  “This marks a turning point in the diversification of our gaming industry from land-based casinos and racinos, to internet gaming. The implementation of this Act will fulfill our mission of attracting very successful … Continue Reading

The Latest News on Wind Energy in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Posted in Government Relations
The U.S. Virgin Islands Energy Road Map, an analysis by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory at the U.S. Department of Energy thinks so.  Today’s state-of-the-art commercial equipment usually captures about 45% of the available energy in the wind when operating at  maximum efficiency.  Nonetheless, wind power is thought to be among the lowest cost renewable … Continue Reading

Dram Shop Act Signed Into Law by VI Governor

Posted in Government Relations
Last Friday, U.S. Virgin Islands Governor John P. deJongh signed into law Act No. 7485 amending Title 8, Virgin Islands Code by adding Chapter 8.  This new law shields individuals who serve and sell alcoholic beverages to persons of drinking age from liability.  Thel legislation, however, does not extend the liability exemption to those selling or furnishing alcoholic beverages … Continue Reading

USVI Delegate Appeals to President Obama for Declaration

Posted in Government Relations
In response to the closure of the HOVENSA oil refinery, the United States Virgin Islands single largest private employer, the Territory’s Delagate to Congresss, Donna Christensen, is pursuing an Economic Disaster Declaration by President Obama. “I know that is what the car industry got, and while this is on a smaller scale, for our territory, with its 110,000 … Continue Reading

Bill Will Allow Virgin Islands Access to Federal Funding

Posted in Government Relations
Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo has introduced the "Territories Economic Development Opportunities Act," which allows the U.S. territories to participate in federal government-funded highway discretionary programs. Such programs include funding for ferries or ferry terminals, as well as the Federal Bridge Program. Current law prohibits the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern … Continue Reading

Governor deJongh Submits FY2012 Budget

Posted in Government Relations
Governor John P. deJongh, Jr. submitted his $1.2 billion Fiscal Year 2012 budget proposal to the the 29th Legislature of the Virgin Islands on Friday. Of the total budget, $731.3 million would come from the General Fund – $50.6 million less than the FY 2011 budget. The remaining budget would derive revenues from federal funds and special … Continue Reading

Tech Park Can Offer Investors Savings and Simplicity

Posted in Corporate & Financial Services, Government Relations, Tax & Estate Planning
The USVI attracts many businesses to its shores by offering generous tax incentives to qualifying companies that are approved by the Economic Development Commission (“EDC”). However, fewer people seem to be aware that those same benefits—90% reduction in income tax liability; 100% exemption on real property taxes, gross receipts taxes, and excise taxes, and a … Continue Reading

Your Very Own Wikileaks Scandal

Posted in Government Relations
Your Very Own Wikileaks Scandal Prior to the tragic shooting in Arizona, the airwaves were dominated with the Wikileaks saga, and the brouhaha caused by the release of classified diplomatic cables. The real damage caused by the leaked cables does not appear to be the unmasking of top secret, cloak-and-dagger spy novel stuff. The damage, … Continue Reading

Third Party Contracts, Independent Contractors, and other Agents in the Hospitality Industry

Posted in Government Relations
  With the ever increasing liability for injury to guests being imputed to the hotel or restaurant when in fact the injury stems from the actions of a third party vendor being utilized by the hotel or restaurant, it is important to carefully consider who is being hired to perform work at your establishment. Below … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Rules Cell Phone RF Litigation Federally Preempted

Posted in Government Relations
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals which includes the U.S. Virgin Islands, has affirmed the dismissal of class action claims against cell phone manufacturers and retailers of wireless handheld telephones alleging they are unsafe to use without headsets because holding the antennas next to the head purportedly exposes the user to dangerous levels of radio … Continue Reading