Bryans Signs Slew Of Bills Into Law, Including 2020 Budget. The Governor Also Vetoed 3 Measures.
Governor Albert Bryan took action Tuesday by signing into law a number of bills forwarded to his desk by the 33rd Legislature. Among them was the government’s fiscal year 2020 budget, though Mr. Bryan expressed concern with what Government House said was the removal of “several key provisions” of his initial budget proposal. Those provisions include the removal of $1.7 million to fund the White Collar Crime Division within the Department of Justice, the removal of funding for 30 new police officers to the Virgin Islands Police Department and removal of $4.2 million to fund the integration of the Virgin Islands Emergency Medical Service with the Virgin Islands Fire Service, Government House said. “Removing funding for the White Collar Crime Unit of the Department of Justice at a time when we need to show concerted efforts on this front to the community and our federal oversight partners concerns me,” the governor said. Mr. Bryan also raised concern with a line item in the budget which calls for an appropriation of $10 million to only fund retroactive payments to retirees over 65. According to Government House, while Mr. Bryan agrees with the intent and acknowledges the debt owed to retirees over 65, he contended that the appropriation discriminates against retirees who are under the age of 65 and also are owed retroactive monies. “While I agree with the intent and want to pay what is owed for retroactive wages, this appropriation to fund what’s owed to those 65 and over is discriminatory to retirees who are under 65, and only a fraction of the more than $100 million we believe is owed to just those retirees,” Mr. Bryan said. “The government of the Virgin Islands owes retroactive wages to active and retired government employees, but our priority at this point with…
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Source: VI Consortium