The Committee on Public Safety, Homeland Security and Justice met in Frederiksted Monday to consider bills creating new penalties for street gangs, expanding sex offender tracking, and regulating drug enforcement, but adjourned after two hours due to a lack of a quorum.
Sen. Sammuel Sanes, the committee chairman, said several senators gave last-minute notice that they would not be able to attend, leaving the committee without a quorum after testifiers were already on their way.
"It is unfortunate how this happened," Sanes said before adjourning the hearing.”We received all the letters this morning and were not aware we were not going to have a quorum until 9 a.m.," he said.
The bills before the committee are important and complex enough that they merit separate hearings, so the committee will consider them individually, on separate days, when they are rescheduled, Sanes said.
Sens. Carlton "Ital" Dowe and Alvin Williams both sent notice Monday morning they would not be present for the hearing, Sanes’s office manager and committee coordinator Magnolia Duff-Rames confirmed after the hearing. Sen. Celestino White was not present, but sent no notice. Sen. Usie Richards sent a letter several days earlier – on Friday – asking to be excused, she said.
Present were: Sanes, Senate President Ronald Russell, Sen. Nereida "Nellie" Rivera-O’Reilly, and non-committee member Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson.