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BILLS ON SCHOOLS, LIGHTING AND LICENSING PASS

Dec. 13, 2001 – The 24th Legislature on the final day of its last full session of 2001 passed four bills, leaving 11 others and two leases to be carried over to the new year.
Among those left over was Sen. Lorraine Berry's Child Protection Act, which suffered the same fate a year ago in the final session of the 23rd Legislature. However, since it will be the same Legislature convening in 2002, the bill, which toughens the penalties for rape, will not have to be reintroduced but should come up again at the first full Senate session.
Three legislative measures were passed:
– To appropriate funds for site-based management of high schools.
– To tranfer responsibility for street lighting to the Water and Power Authority.
– To require that defunct business entities prove they've met their tax obligations before they start a new company.
The fourth bill passed was a resolution to remove Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg from the Government Operations Committee. For details on that measure, see "Donastorg forced off Operations Committee".
In an effort to address the impending loss of accreditation for the territory's three accredited public high schools, Sen. Norman Jn Baptist, Education Committee chair, special ordered legislation to establish a Public High School Site-Based Management Fund and authorize the Education commissioner to develop and implement policies for site-based management at the individual schools.
The bill "seeks to correct one of the deficiencies that prompted the pending loss of accreditation," Jn Baptiste said. "It seeks to give the Education Department some leverage as it appeals to Middle States." It appropriates $50,000 for site-based management to be made available to each high school principal without the need to go through the long and involved procurement process. The measure passed unanimously.
The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools announced last month that it will withdraw accreditation from the Central, Charlotte Amalie and Ivanna Eudora Kean High Schools. One of several reasons cited was failure of the school system over the last four years to implement site-based management The territory's fourth high school, the newer Education Complex on St. Croix, has never sought accreditation.
Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen's bill to transfer responsibility for the territory's street lights to WAPA from the Public Works Department passed. It appropriates $2.78 million for start-up costs and, as unexpectedly amended, includes the gift to WAPA of a floating desalination plant reportedly worth several million more.
Sen. Celestino A. White Sr. tacked the amendment onto the lighting bill transferring control to WAPA of the infamous desalination barge that was donated to the territory years ago by the U.S. Navy and has never been put into operation. Earlier this year, the Public Works Department leased the floating desal plant to a British Virgin Islands private water company owned by the brother-in-law of Attorney General Iver Stridiron. In September, it was taken back and turned over to the Property and Procurement Department. Since then it has sat unused in Krum Bay.
The bill does not address ongoing funding for the lighting program, a fundamental issue for WAPA. Separate legislation that does is still in the Government Operations Committee. Joseph Thomas, the utility's executive director, wants to impose a monthly surcharge of $1.80 on residential electric bills to cover the costs. Senators against that idea have submitted legislation to fund the program from a portion of property taxes.
In an apparent reference to the authority's semi-autonomy, Jn Baptiste on Wednesday called WAPA "a wild beast that needs to be tamed." The senator, who voted for the bill, didn't elaborate.
The third bill that was passed, sponsored by White, is intended to protect the government against a business owing taxes shutting down and then starting up anew under a different name. It requires that any individual or entity formerly affiliated with a dissolved company, upon seeking to establish a new company, first must provide proof that all tax obligations of the dissolved entity have been satisfied.
In other business, Sen. Douglas Canton Jr. introduced a bill to appropriate $300,000 to the Public Works Department to repair Vitran buses to transport the disabled. According to a group of individuals in need of the services, the mechanized wheel-chair lifts on the buses do not function.

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Dec. 13, 2001 - The 24th Legislature on the final day of its last full session of 2001 passed four bills, leaving 11 others and two leases to be carried over to the new year.
Among those left over was Sen. Lorraine Berry's Child Protection Act, which suffered the same fate a year ago in the final session of the 23rd Legislature. However, since it will be the same Legislature convening in 2002, the bill, which toughens the penalties for rape, will not have to be reintroduced but should come up again at the first full Senate session.
Three legislative measures were passed:
- To appropriate funds for site-based management of high schools.
- To tranfer responsibility for street lighting to the Water and Power Authority.
- To require that defunct business entities prove they've met their tax obligations before they start a new company.
The fourth bill passed was a resolution to remove Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg from the Government Operations Committee. For details on that measure, see "Donastorg forced off Operations Committee".
In an effort to address the impending loss of accreditation for the territory's three accredited public high schools, Sen. Norman Jn Baptist, Education Committee chair, special ordered legislation to establish a Public High School Site-Based Management Fund and authorize the Education commissioner to develop and implement policies for site-based management at the individual schools.
The bill "seeks to correct one of the deficiencies that prompted the pending loss of accreditation," Jn Baptiste said. "It seeks to give the Education Department some leverage as it appeals to Middle States." It appropriates $50,000 for site-based management to be made available to each high school principal without the need to go through the long and involved procurement process. The measure passed unanimously.
The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools announced last month that it will withdraw accreditation from the Central, Charlotte Amalie and Ivanna Eudora Kean High Schools. One of several reasons cited was failure of the school system over the last four years to implement site-based management The territory's fourth high school, the newer Education Complex on St. Croix, has never sought accreditation.
Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen's bill to transfer responsibility for the territory's street lights to WAPA from the Public Works Department passed. It appropriates $2.78 million for start-up costs and, as unexpectedly amended, includes the gift to WAPA of a floating desalination plant reportedly worth several million more.
Sen. Celestino A. White Sr. tacked the amendment onto the lighting bill transferring control to WAPA of the infamous desalination barge that was donated to the territory years ago by the U.S. Navy and has never been put into operation. Earlier this year, the Public Works Department leased the floating desal plant to a British Virgin Islands private water company owned by the brother-in-law of Attorney General Iver Stridiron. In September, it was taken back and turned over to the Property and Procurement Department. Since then it has sat unused in Krum Bay.
The bill does not address ongoing funding for the lighting program, a fundamental issue for WAPA. Separate legislation that does is still in the Government Operations Committee. Joseph Thomas, the utility's executive director, wants to impose a monthly surcharge of $1.80 on residential electric bills to cover the costs. Senators against that idea have submitted legislation to fund the program from a portion of property taxes.
In an apparent reference to the authority's semi-autonomy, Jn Baptiste on Wednesday called WAPA "a wild beast that needs to be tamed." The senator, who voted for the bill, didn't elaborate.
The third bill that was passed, sponsored by White, is intended to protect the government against a business owing taxes shutting down and then starting up anew under a different name. It requires that any individual or entity formerly affiliated with a dissolved company, upon seeking to establish a new company, first must provide proof that all tax obligations of the dissolved entity have been satisfied.
In other business, Sen. Douglas Canton Jr. introduced a bill to appropriate $300,000 to the Public Works Department to repair Vitran buses to transport the disabled. According to a group of individuals in need of the services, the mechanized wheel-chair lifts on the buses do not function.