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Budget Bills Still Not Delivered to Governor

Oct. 27, 2004 — Three weeks have passed since the 25th Legislature approved a $567.5 million budget for the operation of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government; however, Senate President David Jones has yet to send the budget along with several other budget bills to the governor for his signature.
James O'Bryan, spokesman for Gov. Charles Turnbull, said Tuesday evening that the governor only received two pieces of legislation from the Senate's marathon session – a bill establishing the Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands and a bill establishing a Constitutional Convention.
"At this point I am not aware of any other bills before the governor," O'Bryan said.
Turnbull, in a letter to Jones Wednesday, said he could not sign the Constitution Conventional legislation in its current form because it was problematic and filled with errors.
Jones said Wednesday evening Turnbull could not sign the Constitutional Convention bill because of a "technical error."
"The date for the establishment of the Constitutional Convention was wrong," Jones said. The legislation Turnbull received had the date for 2004, but the Senate had amended the bill to move it back to 2006. Apparently, an old version of the legislation was sent to Turnbull.
Jones said the bill would be corrected and resent to the governor for his approval.
Also, Jones verified that none of the budget bills had been sent to the governor.
"Hopefully, I will get them in to him before the election," Jones said about the expected date he would send the bills to Turnbull.
Jones explained that legal counsel had some "technical difficulties" in preparing the documents leading to the delay in sending them. He said although the figures were reviewed in light of the situation with the Economic Development Commission, the budget remains the same as when it was approved.
Jones said, "We want to make sure there are no errors."
Meanwhile, the government is operating on the 2004 executive budget, which is the 2003 budget, and a supplementary budget. The 25th Legislature failed to approve a budget for fiscal year 2004.
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