Virgin Islands Law Blog

Virgin Islands Law Blog

U.S. Virgin Islands law & politics

Category Archives: Government Relations

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USVI Begins Overtime Pay Cuts for Public Workers

Posted in Government Relations
To help mitigate the potential financial crisis facing the U.S. Virgin Islands, Governor Kenneth E. Mapp recently ordered dramatic cuts in overtime work hours as he reviews ways to keep the Territory’s government operational. The Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) became one of the first public agencies to drastically reduce its overtime work hours in… Continue Reading

Governor Vetoes Bill Eliminating Customs Duties in U.S. Virgin Islands

Posted in Government Relations
U.S. Virgin Islands Governor  Kenneth Mapp recently vetoed legislation that would have eliminated customs duties, while at the same time transferring money that would have been collected through a different provision in the proposed bill. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Kurt Vialet, would have mandated the Bureau of Internal Revenue to create and present a… Continue Reading

With Puzder Out, Trump Turns to Acosta for Labor Secretary

Posted in Government Relations, Labor & Employment
Andrew F. Puzder, who rose to prominence as a fast food executive, recently withdrew from consideration to be President Donald Trump’s Secretary of Labor. Puzder had been the subject of a great deal of debate and scorn since his announcement in December, particularly among progressive groups and labor unions. After records of spousal abuse from… Continue Reading

What the Incoming Commerce Secretary Could Mean for Business

Posted in Government Relations
President Donald Trump recently nominated Wilbur Ross to serve as U.S. Secretary of Commerce. With Ross’ confirmation by the Senate on February 27, 2017, economists are already looking at what the appointment will mean for businesses across the country—including here in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Most of the discussions that took place during the congressional… Continue Reading

The Economic Impact of President Trump’s Proposed Tax Plan on the US Virgin Islands

Posted in Government Relations, Tax & Estate Planning
During his campaign, President Donald Trump put forth a tax plan that would cap itemized deductions, barring single people from deducting more than $100,000 and preventing couples from deducting more than $200,000. This proposal would help raise more than $1 trillion over the course of a decade. However, according to the Tax Policy Center, the… Continue Reading

Legislators Look at ‘Sin Taxes’ to Address USVI Financial Situation

Posted in Government Relations
Members of the U.S. Virgin Islands Senate recently met to discuss a variety of issues, including the financial affairs of the Government of the Virgin Islands. Of particular interest were the opinions of senators on Gov. Kenneth Mapp’s proposed “sin taxes” for the territory. These taxes would include new levies on cigarettes, alcohol, carbonated sugar… Continue Reading

Defend Trade Secrets Act Offers Federal Protection to Trade Secrets

Posted in Corporate & Financial Services, Government Relations
Trade secrets are a valuable type of intellectual property—and they’re now subject to a number of federal protections similar to patents, copyrights and trademarks. This development is thanks to the new Defend Trade Secrets Act, which was written and approved to help strengthen the protection of trade secrets in the United States and its territories.… Continue Reading

With New Federal Rule, Many More Americans Now Eligible for Overtime Pay

Posted in Government Relations, Labor & Employment
Last summer, President Barack Obama announced plans to raise the overtime salary threshold, a move that promised to make millions more Americans eligible for overtime pay. Those plans went into effect last month, when the White House revealed the details of the new overtime threshold rules the President had set forth. The measure is the… Continue Reading

Gov. Mapp Outlines Economic Development Initiatives for U.S. Virgin Islands

Posted in Community Affairs, Government Relations
U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth E. Mapp recently held a press conference at Government House, where he discussed a number of economic development initiatives. Tourism has long been the single-largest driver of the economy in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the industry has fully recovered since the Great Recession. Mapp emphasized the importance of the… Continue Reading

How the ‘One Person-One Vote’ Supreme Court Ruling Will Affect Virgin Isalnds Senate Elections

Posted in Community Affairs, Government Relations
Back in April, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that states were allowed to count all of its residents—and not just those eligible to vote—when drawing their elective districts. The decision was a significant statement on the principle of “one person, one vote,” and marked the first time the Supreme Court had ever ruled on… Continue Reading

EEOC’s Proposed Enforcement Guidance Reflects Agency’s Changing Views

Posted in Government Relations, Labor & Employment
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released a new Proposed Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues. This proposed guidance specifically includes attempts to expand the scope of the participation clause and the definition of protected opposition conduct. These proposals represent a shifting viewpoint on the part of the federal agency. Let’s take… Continue Reading

Governor Gives State of the Territory Address

Posted in Government Relations
In his first State of the Territory Address, Governor Kenneth A. Mapp didn’t shy away from speaking to the Legislature and citizens of the U.S. Virgin Islands with candor, especially when it came to the fiscal situation of the Territory. At the start of 2015, the Government of the Virgin Islands has a budget shortfall… Continue Reading

USVI Senate Considers Expanded Preferred Vendor Status to Local Contractors

Posted in Government Relations
Bill No. 30-0438, a U.S. Virgin Islands Senate bill approved in committee at the end of October could, if passed, pave the way for local contractors to receive additional priority when bidding for government contracts in the territory. Local contractors already have significant standing when it comes to government contracts. Under the terms of the… 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… Continue Reading

USVI Government to Guarantee Developer Leases

Posted in Corporate & Financial Services, Government Relations, Real Estate
A bill recently passed in the U.S. Virgin Islands Legislature would allow the Government of the Virgin Islands to guarantee up to $20 million of hotel developers’ leases for up to 25 years, a move that supporters cheered as a boon to the islands’ economic development. Under the legislation, the Public Finance Authority would have… Continue Reading