82.5 F
Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, October 6, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesSENATORS: ERROR IN LAW HALTS JOBLESS BENEFITS

SENATORS: ERROR IN LAW HALTS JOBLESS BENEFITS

Oct. 22, 2003 – Nine senators have signed a petition asking Senate President David Jones to call a special session of the Legislature for Oct. 31 to address what they say is a language error in recent legislation on jobless benefits that is holding up the issuance of unemployment checks.
Sen. Norman Jn Baptiste, who chairs the Senate Labor and Veterans Affairs Committee, explained the reason for the petition on Wednesday: "Because of an error in the construction of language in the bill, the unemployment recipients are being denied those benefits right now. They are not able to receive them because the law as it is written does not allow the Department of Labor to send out the checks."
In May, legislation was signed into law extending unemployment benefit an additional 13 weeks. The new law states, however, that "no additional benefits shall be paid after Aug. 30, 2003."
Jn Baptiste said the wording should have read that "no new additional benefit claims shall be effective after Aug. 30, 2003."
Because of the error in language, he said, "about 540 people on St. Croix alone" are being denied benefits to which they should be entitled. "When you consider those who have families, some 2,000 people could be impacted," he said. "This is why we have to move it urgently."
According to Jn Baptiste, Jones had said he would write to the Labor Department about the matter. However, Jn Baptiste said, "our counsel said that is not a legal approach." Instead, the law itself must be changed.
Four senators from the 10-member majority — Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg, Shawn-Michael Malone, Luther Renee and Ronald Russell — joined the five minority senators — Carlton Dowe, Jn Baptiste, Almando "Rocky" Liburd, Usie Richards and Celestino A. White Sr. — in signing the petition.

Back Talk

Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name, and the city and state/country or island where you reside.

Publisher's note : Like the St. Thomas Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.