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The VI Legislature History

 

The Legislative Seal

 

The Senate Building

 

The Legislative Branch

 

Leadership & Divisions

 

Checks & Balances

 

On the Record

 

Honor Roll Service in the Legislature of the Virgin Islands

 

Honor Roll Service in the Municipal Council:

St. Croix

St. Thomas

 

Presidents of the Legislature

 

The beginning of the Legislature can be traced back to the passage of the Colonial Law of 1852. This law, the first "constitution" of the Islands, provided for the establishment of a unified Colonial Assembly and for a Governor as the chief executive, or to be more accurate, as a vice regent of the King of Denmark. The governor, as the king’s direct representative, had the power to issue ordinances which had the force of law. In addition, he had the power to dissolve the Assembly with the provision that this not be done more than twice in two years and that a new election be held within two months of the dissolution. The Colonial Assembly, which served all three Islands, was basically limited to an advisory role. It could only make recommendations which could be accepted or rejected by the governor. In addition, the King still reserved the final authority to reject or amend any law made in the colony.

The Colonial Assembly, in addition to its lack of decision-making power, had serious flaws. It was forced to attempt to combine two incompatible economic systems into one political system. St. Thomas, with a commercially based economy, had totally different requirements from St. Croix, which had an agrarian one. Because St. Croix had a larger delegation to the Assembly than either of the other two Islands, many recommendations were passed which were unfavorable to St. Thomas. To make matters worse for the St. Thomian delegates, meetings were held on St. Croix. Eventually, because of a combination of transportation difficulties and hostilities, St. Thomian delegates ceased to attend meetings and consequently, none were conducted between 1856 and 1859. Needless to say, this legislative system soon fell apart, and eleven years after its inception, was superseded by the Colonial Law of 1863.

The Colonial Law of 1863 changed the system of government by dividing the islands into two Municipalities which were St. Thomas - St. John , and St. Croix. Each Municipality was served by a Colonial Council, both of which could combine as an Assembly on the call of the governor or both Councils. The Councils had slightly greater powers than their predecessors and they had some measure of financial control that is usually inherent in legislative bodies as we know them. However, many limitations on the powers remained firmly in the hands of the King and his direct representative, the governor. All final decisions rested with the King. In addition, the King appointed four members to the St. Thomas - St. John Council and five to the St. Croix Council. An additional handicap was the amount of deliberation necessary to adopt any measure. Before the Council adopted any measure, it was subject to revision three times. The first revision period permitted general discussion, in the second the governor or the council could make amendments, and in the third, only the governor could make amendments. As aforementioned, any measure was still subject to the approval of the King in order to become law.

The Colonial Law of 1863, besides dictating the structure of government, also dealt with the important matter of enfranchisement. It was the opinion of the lawmakers at the time that landowners and other people of means were those that truly had a stake in the society and therefore should be the ones represented at the polls. As a result, the strict property and income qualifications stipulated by the Colonial Law of 1863 were such that only 5.5 percent of the population was able to vote. This caused a double disadvantage for the average citizen who saw not only a Colonial Council that was practically powerless, but one in which he was unrepresented. To put it simply, the average or "grass roots" people had no voice whatsoever in the running of the government.

The Colonial Law of 1906 was basically an amendment to the Colonial Law of 1863. Of its provisions, the most noteworthy is one which states that before any ordinance is adopted, the opinion of the Assembly must be solicited. While this further insured that the voice of the Councils would be heard, it still gave them no power to enact or influence any legislation. This law of 1906 was the last "constitutional" document handed down by the Danes and it reflected the fact that to the very end, the Danish government felt that although the natives should be free to express their opinion, the decision making functions must rest with the government of the "mother country." To the end of Danish rule, Virgin Islanders had little self-government.

The lack of self-government, along with dire economic straits for the islands led to the widespread native approval of the sale of the islands in 1916 and their subsequent transfer in 1917. The natives assumed, that along with the rights of American citizenship, they would also receive a greater measure of self—government. As things turned out, they got neither.

When the United States took over the islands, it was a hasty and forced move for which the sole purpose was to prevent the Germans from taking them and thus to improve strategic defense of the Panama Canal. Therefore, the Islands, unlike the Louisiana Purchase or many other territories, were not acquired for purposes of expansion, but simply as a military possession. As a result, the natives were not granted citizenship and the administration of the islands was delegated to the Department of the Navy. The Navy, never known for being socio-politically gifted, decided to leave what seemed to be well enough alone and thus, with the obvious exception of having a Naval officer take the post of governor, there was no significant change in the structure of government.

Under the Administration of the Navy, significant progress was made in the more material aspects of life. New roads and hospitals were built, and efforts were made to improve sanitation and education in the islands. However, the years of the "Naval Regime" from 1917-1931 were long, bitter years for those who sought greater self-rule in the Virgin Islands. The training and temperament of the average ranking Naval officer was not at all suited to the running of a popular government for a peaceful group of people. Therefore, according to the natives, the majority of Naval governors conducted island affairs in much the same manner as they would have run a battleship. To make matters worse, the Federal Administration largely lost interest in the islands after World War I as they had served their original purpose. As a result, there was little or no effort on the part of the administration to oversee the affairs of the islands and the governor was thus left quite free from outside interference. This combination of federal neglect, carried over Danish laws, and Naval temperament conspired to effectively stymie any efforts at self-government.

As must go with saying, the years of the "Naval Regime" bred many seeds of discontent and produced such "radicals" as Rothschild Francis and D. Hamilton Jackson as well as others who fought for greater civil liberties and the removal of the Naval administration. In 1927 United States citizenship was granted to Virgin Islanders. Finally, in 1931, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the native leaders had stirred up enough publicity and outrage that President Herbert Hoover signed an order which provided for the transfer of the administration of the islands from the Navy Department to the Department of the Interior. While the yoke of the Navy had been lifted, no structural changes were made in the government and active leaders continued to press for change.

On June 22, 1936 the United States Congress passed the Organic Act of 1936. Under the provisions of this Act, a true system of civil government was set forth for the Islands. The two Colonial Councils, now Municipal Councils with the exclusion of the appointed members, remained, and could still combine to form a Legislative Assembly, but they were given legislative power to pass laws and to override the governor’s veto by two thirds vote, although in this event, final veto power went to the President of the United States. The Legislative Assembly, which could convene upon passage of resolutions by both Councils or on the call of the governor, had the authority to enact legislation for the entire Virgin Islands. To be eligible for membership in a Municipal Council, a candidate had to be at least twenty-five years of age, a qualified voter in the municipality in which he sought election, and be a resident of that municipality for not less than three years preceding the date of election.

The Organic Act of 1936 was a major sign of victory for native Virgin Islanders who wanted a greater measure of self-government. Of this act, the greatest features include the granting of universal suffrage and permanent removal of property and income qualifications for voting. This took political control of the Islands from the upper class and "landed gentry" and placed it squarely in the hands of the thousands of working and lower class citizens in the Virgin Islands. Thus, the face of the legislative branch was also changed. Conservative legislators preferring the status quo were replaced by more liberal, sometimes even radical ones who were more dedicated to bringing about social and economic changes, better working conditions, etc. for the working man or the "grass root."

Despite the apparent victories, however, there were still items left to be desired in the new governmental system. Although Councils were empowered to enact legislation and override the governor’s veto, the Congress of the United States still reserved the power to annul any and all legislation enacted by the Virgin Islands government. The President of the United States retained final veto power in the case of a legislative override of the governor’s veto. In addition, the Legislative Assembly, the body that passed laws for the entire territory, was the representative of unified government. It did not meet with the frequency that would have been desirable and was only empowered to act on bills proposed by the governor or by both the separate Councils. In other words, the Legislative Assembly was not capable of independent action. It can be said therefore, that there was still no viable working instrument to enact legislation for the entire Virgin Islands and that a unified system of government was still woefully lacking. By this point, it was more than high time that one was put into effect.

In 1954, this unified legislative system was put into effect when the United States Congress passed the Revised Organic Act of 1954. Among other things, this act created a unicameral body called the Legislature of the Virgin Islands in which all legislative power was vested. For the first time since 1863, the government of the Virgin Islands was fused into one entity. A relatively equal balance of power between the executive and legislative branches was finally attained. In addition, equal representation from St. Thomas and St. Croix was achieved.

The Legislature created by the aforementioned act, unicameral, consisted of eleven members: three from the District of St. Croix; three from the District of St. Thomas; one from the District of St. John; and four at-Large, serving all three islands.

The at-Large concept is utilized solely for the purpose of embodying the unified interest and to reduce inter-island deadlocks.

In 1966 the Legislature underwent further change when the United States Congress and the Virgin Islands Legislature passed a resolution. The number of seats was increased from 11 to 15 and the distribution changed to the following: seven from the District of St. Thomas - St. John; seven from the District of St. Croix; and one At-Large who must be a resident of St. John. With that move, the Legislature of the Virgin Islands had finally evolved into its present form. It is now a body with the rights and powers enjoyed by most state legislatures of the Union. With the century-long development of the legislative branch from Colonial Assembly to Virgin Islands Legislature, we see an important part of a people’s struggle for self-determination and self-government.

The Legislature is one of three co-equal branches of the Government of the Virgin Islands of the United States, with its own powers delegated by the Revised Organic Act of 1954, passed by the U.S. Congress, which established our local government. The other two branches are the Executive Branch, which is headed by the Governor and is responsible for administering the laws passed by the Legislature; and the Courts, usually called the Judiciary, which interprets the laws passed.

The Senators are elected representatives of the people and pass the laws for the people of the Virgin Islands, subject to the veto power of the Governor. These laws must not be in conflict with any federal rule or law, or in violation of the Constitution of the United States.

The Legislature organizes Committees to plan ways in which the various departments of the Government can operate more effectively. When a new law or resolution is proposed, it is first written up as a "Bill," introduced into the Legislature, and given a number and assigned to a Committee. After the Bill is discussed by the various committees concerned with its content, it is sent to the floor of the Legislature, voted upon by the fifteen Senators, and if passed by a majority of Senators present and voting, it is sent to the Governor for his signature. When the Governor signs the Bill, it then becomes an "Act" or law of the Virgin Islands Government and will be put into effect. If the Governor vetoes the bill, the Senators can override the veto by a two-thirds vote of the fifteen member body.

The Legislature may convene in Special Sessions called by the President of the Legislature, by petition to the office of the President of the Legislature signed by a majority of the Senators, or by the Governor of the Virgin Islands.

The legislative power and authority of the Virgin Islands, created by Section 5-A of the Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands approved July 22, 1954, as amended, is vested in a legislature consisting of one house, designed as the "Legislature of the Virgin Islands."

Annually, on the second Monday in January, the Legislature convenes in Regular Session. In addition to its law-making functions, the Legislature performs functions which include fact-finding and similar investigation, receiving and considering requests or petitions from groups and individuals, confirming certain officers appointed by the Governor, and exercising quasi-judicial authority to punish in cases of certain offenses against the Legislature or its members.

The Legislature is composed of fifteen Senators, who serve for two year terms. It adopts its own rules of procedure, establishes standing committees, maintains its own records, and elects its own officers. The presiding officer of the Legislature is the President of the Senate.

To be eligible to serve as a member of the Legislature, a person must have attained the age of twenty-one years, be a U.S. citizen, be resident of the Territory for not less than three years, and be a qualified voter of the district from which election is sought.

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Legislative Seal

The present Great Seal of the U.S. Virgin Islands became effective on January 1, 1991. It was designed by Mitch Davis, a native Virgin Islander, and was selected from among 33 other submissions from around the world. The symbols depicted thereon are representative of the three major islands comprising the U.S. Virgin Islands and were chosen for their historical as well as future significance. The sugar mill was chosen for St. Croix because it was the center of agricultural productivity during the early years of the island’s history. Today, St. Croix is the hub of industrial production in the territory, with the Hess Oil Refinery, Martin Marietta Complex and the Industrial Park. The Annaberg ruins on the island of St. John represent that islands’s role in the production of sugar and the slave uprisings. The ruins currently site in the National Park, which is the bastion of preservation in the territory and its environment for the present and into the future. The Legislative Building on the island of St. Thomas represents the seat of government and the capital of the United States Virgin Islands. The two flags being flown are the Dannaberg, which is being lowered, and the U.S. flag. The flags depict the transfer of the islands from Denmark to the United States on March 31, 1917, on the grounds of the Legislature. The boat in the harbor of St. Thomas represents the importance of the islands in interstate and international commerce, from Columbus’ discovery of the islands to the present and into the future, with the cruise ship and charter boat industries as well as down island traders.

The motto inscribed on the scroll, "United in Pride and Hope" relates to the fact that the islands are inhabited by varied groups of people of different ethnic, national and religious persuasions and all live together in relative harmony to form one community.

Put the above variables together and you have a seal that represents pride, dignity, history, culture and the natural beauty of the United States Virgin Islands.

The purpose of this design is to instill a sense of pride and dignity in the U.S.V.I. and in our people. Each color which makes up the composition was chosen to exemplify a specific identity to the islands. Working from the outside to the center, the significance of each aspect of the design is described below.

The words "Legislature of the United States Virgin Islands" encircle the seal. The yellow color which borders the seal represents our tropical sun with its brilliant rays beaming down and keeping us warm 365 days a year; the green color of the islands represents the foliage that is ever present and creates our natural beauty; the white trim around the islands represents the white sand that is found on our world-renowned beaches; the blue represents the crystal clear waters which surround our islands and the magnificent blue skies which are seldom cloudy.

In addition, the Yellow Breast, our national bird, with its regal-colored chest is perched on a stem of our national flower, the Yellow Cedar, with three of its fruits, three flowers in bloom, and three leaves, all representing the three major islands. These national symbols were especially selected for the following reasons: 1. they are our legally adopted national symbols; 2. they are easily recognized; and 3. they populate all of the islands.

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Legislature Building

 

The Senate Building has a historic background which is almost comparable to that of its immediate neighbor, Fort Christian.

The original building, constructed in 1828, was a wooden structure. These quarters used as barracks are documented on a map of St. Thomas of 1730, which shows the barracks and its installations which includes water batteries on which 8 cannons were located; officers barracks; noncommissioned officers barracks; senior and junior clerks barracks; musketeers barracks, prison chambers, catchment and wine cellar.

The present building is a reconstruction of the original and was completed in 1874 as the Roman numerals (MDCCCLXXIV) on the building verify. Among the significant events which took place on its grounds was the official transfer of the Danish West Indies to the United States in 1917.

After 1917 the building served as a barracks for the U.S. Marines and in 1931 when the islands experienced a change of government from Naval Rule to Civil Government the building was transferred to the Department of Interior.

Two other significant uses of the building were, Charlotte Amalie High School and wartime purposes during World War II.

In 1956, with assistance of federal funds, it was restored and later occupied by the Legislature and the Department of Social Welfare.

Presently the building serves only as the Legislature with accommodations for private and other related offices such as the law library, legal counsel and business offices.

It has often been said that to fully understand something, you must understand its history. This can truly be said of the Virgin Islands Legislature. The nature of the present body is derived from the experiences of Danish colonialism and from the struggle of our people for self-government under the American flag.

The present Legislature of the Virgin Islands is a fifteen member body in which all the legislative powers of the territory are vested. It enjoys the powers and privileges held by most state legislatures of the Union. The Capitol Building, in which the body is housed, is located just south of Fort Christian on the Island of St. Thomas.

The Capitol Building itself is a classic piece of historic island architecture. Plans for the building to be built as a Danish Marine Barracks were started in 1827 and the actual work on the building began in 1829. While the exact date of completion, at a cost of $29,000, is somewhat uncertain, the best date that can be given is 1879, the year entered in the records of the Planning Office. However, the Roman numerals on the portal of the building are MDCCCLXXIV (1874).

The building was used to house the Danish Militia and the Gendarmes until 1917 when the islands were transferred to the United States. The formal transfer ceremonies of the islands from Denmark to the U.S. took place in front of the building on March 31, 1917.

From that time until 1931, when the transfer to civil government took place, the building was used as a barracks for the U.S. Marines. From 1931 to 1945 the building was used as the site of the Charlotte Amalie High School with an interruption during World War II caused when it was taken over by the military to incarcerate prisoners brought to St. Thomas off a Vichy ship captured by the U.S. Navy in the Eastern Caribbean Sea.

In 1957, the Legislature, which formerly met on the top floor of the Enid Baa Library, and the Department of Social Welfare, moved into the building with the Legislature occupying the top floor and Social Welfare the first floor. However, as the Legislature and its staff expanded, it became necessary to occupy both floors, and a few years later, around 1970, the Legislature occupied the entire building in the manner that it does now.

 

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The Legislative Branch

 

How Does a Bill Become a Law?

Step 1 A bill may become a law, a resolution, or it may be designed to express the opinion of a senator or senators. It may be introduced either by an individual senator or by standing committees.

Step 2 The president then assigns each bill to the committee which is considered most appropriate for acting on it.

Step 3 While in committee, the bill may be dropped, held for further consideration, or sent to public hearings in order to gather information to better gauge the will of the public on the matter. The Committee Chair sets and publicizes a date for the hearing and invites all interested persons to appear and express their views. The consensus expressed in a public hearing is not binding but can be highly influential in determining the action that is taken after. The bill may then be voted out of the committee with a quorum present and a majority voting.

The bill is then passed on to the Committee on Rules and the same procedures are followed. Once the Committee on Rules completes action on the bill, the president then assigns the bill to the floor agenda for consideration by the full body.

Each senator receives a package containing all bills to be considered. Bills are acted on according to their order on the agenda. Senators have the privilege to defeat or approve the bill. A quorum of eight senators present, with a majority voting affirmatively for a bill or an amendment to a bill, is required in order for it to be approved.

The bill is then sent to the office of Legal Council where it is reproduced in the final format. The document is then signed by the President of the Senate and Legislative Secretary. It is stamped officially and sent with a cover letter signed by the Secretary of the Legislature to the Governor. The cover letter indicates the intent of the bill (ie) to become a law, executive consideration is requested, or if it is intended as a resolution, the letter merely advises or informs the governor of the resolution.

Step 4 The Governor may take any one of several courses of action:

(a) If approved the bill must be signed within ten days (excluding Sundays and holidays), thereby making it a law of the Virgin Islands.

(b) If not approved it,

(1) may be vetoed, whereupon it may become a law only by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of the legislature. (The process: It is returned to the legislature, with written objections, within ten days, and they decide whether or not they wish to reconsider it.)

(2) if it contains monetary appropriations, the governor may object to one or more items and sign approval of the balance of the bill, in which case it becomes a law without those items.

(3) the bill may be held beyond the ten-day period, in which case it automatically becomes a law without the governor’s signature, unless the legislature adjourns within that period. Thirty days are allowed for a decision.

(4) During the transition period from one Executive Administration to the next, it may be "pocket vetoed" if the new governor does not sign it within a thirty-day period.

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Checks & Balances

Another of the checks-and-balances designed to keep any one branch of the government from becoming more powerful than the others is the requirement that important gubernatorial appointments are to be made "with the advice and consent of the Legislature." These include the commissioners of the executive departments, the heads of the various executive boards, commissions, etc., and the judges of the territorial courts.

Because it does not necessarily involve proposed or possible legislation, the power of a Senate committee to make investigations on matters it deems important to the welfare of the people is being listed here separately from its power to conduct hearings. Such investigations may take on some of the aspects of court proceedings.

(1) The investigation committee may summon and subpoena witnesses, require the presentation of any records or documents considered to be of significance, and administer oaths.

(2) Any person who fails to comply with such summons or demands may, if a quorum is present, be held "in contempt of the Legislature." The full Senate is notified and may:

(a) request the Court of jurisdiction to intervene;

(b) call for the outright arrest of the offending party by a police officer.

(3) However, any person so sworn and examined before the Legislature or a committee thereof may not be subject to any penalty for disclosures made, and his revelations may not be used as competent evidence in a subsequent criminal investigation or proceedings.

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Leadership & Divisions

The leadership of the Legislature consists of the following officers: President, Vice-President, Legislative Secretary, Majority Floor Leader, White House Liaison and Minority Leader. These officers, with the exception of the Minority Leader, are selected by majority vote at the convening of a new legislature.

President of the Legislature: The presiding officer of the Legislature whose functions include chairing the sessions of the Legislature, maintaining order in the chamber, appointing members of all committees and designating the chairpersons, appointing legislative employees, and other duties required by law or by the rules of the Legislature.

Vice President: Performs the duties of the President in his absence.

Legislative Secretary: Duties include calling the roll of members, recording the presence or absence of a quorum and transmitting bills passed by the Legislature to the Governor.

Standing Committees:

Legislative standing committees are named for the program areas over which they have responsibility. Committees review programs and propose legislation. The findings and recommendations of the committees are reported to the Legislature for consideration. Other types of legislative committees include Special Committees, which are temporarily appointed to consider and report on special matters referred to them; and Committees of the Whole, which include the entire Legislative body.

Office of the Executive Director

The Executive Director is central to the administration and functioning of everyday legislative business. The Director is responsible for the daily administration of the legislative offices on all three islands, and is assisted on St. Croix by a full time Assistant Executive Director.

All bills, legislation initiated by the Governor, zoning change petitions, commendatory resolutions, and formal correspondence pass through the Office of the Executive Director before reaching the floor of the Senate. Acting as clerk on the floor, the Executive Director reads all bills, resolutions, and correspondence, and conducts all votes put to a roll call. Additionally, the Executive Director is responsible for the printing and distribution of bills, acts, journals and other official documents; the preservation of legislative records; and the supervision of all employees who may be assigned to this office by the President of the Senate.

Post Audit Division

The Division of Post Audit is attached to the Legislative Standing Committee on Finance. The Post Auditor monitors the financial affairs and transactions of every department or agency of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. Post audits are made to discover an evidence of unauthorized, illegal, irregular, or unsafe handling or expenditure of funds.

Office of Legal Counsel

This office is responsible for bill drafting and research for the members of the Legislature. The Legal Counsel insures that the language of bills that are introduced is legally correct and consistent with the Virgin Islands Code. In addition, the Legal Counsel advises the Senate on points parliamentary procedure and acts as the legal arm of the Legislature on matters of litigation.

Office of Business Affairs

The Office of Business Affairs is responsible for computing payroll, per diem, and expense reimbursements for each Senator and employee. The office acts as a purchasing clearing house for all items approved by the Executive Director or the Senate President, and performs all legislative bookkeeping and accounting functions as well as compiling and maintaining all fiscal records.

Office of Media Services

Media Services was established to disseminate accurate and timely reports on legislative activities. The public is served by the daily press releases and reports on the legislative activities for that day and the weekly up-dates and periodic analysis on controversial or complex bills. The Office also provides an update on the disposition of bills in the various committees.

Legislative Archives

Legislative Archives, headed by a records analyst, is responsible for the effective organizing of documents, and for storing records, and all other legislative reference materials. In addition, Archives works in concert with the Legislative Library, which is under the jurisdiction of the Legal Counsel’s Office, giving that office maximum research capability.

Journal Section

The Journal Section is responsible for typing, printing and distributing all legislative bills and journals. The Journal Section maintains a bill register which records each bill, along with its sponsors, committee assignments, and dates of introduction, report to the floor, and adoption, veto, and subsequent action. At the end of each year, the Journal Section prepares a complete resume on each piece of legislation introduced, which is then submitted to the Lieutenant Governor’s Office for printing into the Session Laws and subsequent codification.

Legislative Reporters

The Chief Recording Secretary shall be the Chief Recording officer of the Legislature.

Section 404. The duties of the Chief Recording Secretary are as follows:

(a) to record and transcribe verbatim each meeting of the Legislature, and to provide a copy of the verbatim transcript to each member of the Legislature, the Executive Director, and the Chief Counsel upon request.

(b) to record and transcribe verbatim any meeting of a Committee of the Legislature when directed to do so by the President of his or her designee;

(c) to cooperate with the Executive Director in providing members of the Legislature and their staffs with documents which may be transcribed by the Recording Secretary or his assigns.

Sergeant-at-Arms

Section 405. The duties of the Sergeant-at-Arms are as follows:

(a) to attend the Legislature during all of its sittings and to execute the commands of the Legislature, together with all such processes issued by authority thereof as shall be directed to him by the President;

(b) to enforce strictly these Rules as they relate to order and decorum in the Legislative Chambers;

(c) if directed, to establish a quorum at each meeting of the Legislature as provided in Section 205 (c) of these Rules; and

(d) to perform such other duties as may be prescribed by the President and to supervise such employees as may be assigned by the President to assist with these duties.

The Sergeant-at-Arms is authorized to arrest for contempt all persons in the Gallery found in loud conversation or otherwise disturbing the proceedings of the Legislature.

Maintenance, Construction and Housekeeping

Section 409. The duties of the Chief of Maintenance and Construction are as follows:

(a) to supervise a maintenance and construction staff of persons qualified and trained in building repairs, maintenance and construction;

(b) to prepare estimates of materials and labor costs for repairs and construction work to be done on offices and buildings of the Legislature;

(c) to inspect work performed in the various offices of the Legislature by private contractors in plumbing, painting, repairs, electrical and other work; and

(d) to prepare reports to the President on the condition of the various offices of the legislature in St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John

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On The Record

It is necessary, of course, to have precise records of legislative proceedings. Depending upon the purpose, there are several forms prepared:

(A) During a session of the Legislature, all discussions and actions are recorded on the spot by the Legislative Reporter. This verbatim report supplies the basic information for the succeeding publications.

(B) Immediately following a legislative session, all official action taken during the session, together with all messages and written communications from the Governor, are organized into a Legislative Journal.

(C) Each new law is then printed separately in "slip" form (without a cover), and becomes available to the public from the legislative offices.

(D) At the end of each regular session, all legislation passed during that session is published in book form (in more than 1 volume if necessary), under the title of Session Laws of the Virgin Islands. Laws are in chronological order of their passing, with the first legislation under the Revised Organic Act of 1954 as the starting point for numbering them, hence, the number of the most recent law will indicate the total number added, changed or repealed since that time.

(E) The final and most important publication of the territorial statutes is their incorporation into the Virgin Islands Code, the comprehensive collection of the basic laws by which we are governed.

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Honor Roll Services in the Legislature of the Virgin Islands

 

First Legislature: 1955-56

Walter I.M. Hodge - President

Earle B. Ottley - Vice President

Jorge Rodriquez - Secretary

 

Eric H. Carroll, Lucinda A. Millin, Joseph A. Gomez, Percival H. Reese, Fritz Lawaetz, Weymouth Rymer, John D. Merwin, Julius E. Sprauve

Second Legislature: 1957-58

Aubrey A. Anduze - President

Lucinda A. Millin - Vice President

John D. Merwin (resigned Dec. 21, 1957) - Secretary

Ann E. Abramson (succeeded Merwin) - Secretary

 

Ronald DeLugo, Theovald E. Moorhead, Joseph A. Gomez, Earle B. Ottley, Walter I.M. Hodge, Percival H. Reese, Fritz Lawaetz, Weymouth Rymer

Third Legislature: 1959-60

Walter I.M. Hodge - President

Candido R. Gaudalupe - Vice President

John L. Maduro - Secretary

 

Aubrey A. Anduze, Lucinda A. Millin, Ronald DeLugo, Theovald E. Moorhead, Joseph A. Gomez, Earle B. Ottley, Fritz Lawaetz, Percival H. Reese

Fourth Legislature: 1961-62

Walter I.M. Hodge - President

Candido R. Guadalupe - Vice President

John L. Maduro - Secretary

 

Joseph Alexander, Lucinda A. Millin, Aubrey A. Anduze, Theovald E. Moorhead, Joseph P. Gomez, Earle B. Ottley, Fritz Lawaetz, Percival H. Reese

Fifth Legislature: 1963-64

Earle B. Ottley - President

Patrick N. Williams - Vice President

David Puritz - Secretary

 

Augustin Doward, John L. Maduro, Randall N. James, Lucinda A. Millin, Fritz Lawaetz, Theovald E. Moorhead, Ronald DeLugo, Percival H. Reese

Sixth Legislature: 1965-66

Earl B. Ottley - President

Randall N. James - Vice President

David Puritz - Secretary

 

Bertha B. Boschulte, Fritz Lawaetz, Ronald DeLugo, John L. Maduro, Aureo Diaz Morales, Theovald E. Moorhead, Augustin Doward, Percival H. Reese

Seventh Legislature: 1967-68

Earle B. Ottley - President

Randall N. James - Vice President

David Puritz - Secretary

 

Kenneth D. Alexander, Frank E. Jacobs, Horace A. Callwood, Fritz Lawaetz, Augustin Doward, Theovald E. Moorhead, Alexander A. Farrelly, Aureo Diaz-Morales, Santigo Garcia, John L. Maduro, David M. Hamilton, Percival H. Reese

Eighth Legislature: 1969-70

John L. Maduro - President

Randall N. James - Vice President

David Puritz - Secretary

 

Earle B. Ottley, David M. Hamilton, Augustin Doward, Arnold M. Golden, Louis P. Hestres, Fritz Lawaetz, Horace A. Callwood, Theovald E. Moorhead, Alexander A. Farrelly, Aureo Diaz-Morales, Santigo Garcia, Percival H. Reese

Ninth Legislature: 1971-72

John L. Maduro - President

Philip C. Clark - Vice President

Percival H. Reese - Secretary

 

Virdin E. Brown, Ariel Melchior Jr., Earle B. Ottley, Alexander A. Moorhead, Jr., Hector A. Cintron, Lew Muckle (died in office May 5, 1971), Felix Francis, Jaime Garciaz, Athneil C. Ottley, Claude A. Molloy, David Puritz, Elroy Sprauve, George G. O’Reilly (succeeded L. Muckle)

Tenth Legislature: 1973-74

Claude A. Molloy - President

Athneil C. Ottley (resigned April 5, 1973) - Vice President

John L. Maduro - Vice President

Virdin C. Brown - Secretary

 

Britain M. Bryant, Elmo D. Roebuck, Hector L. Cintron, Ruby M. Rouss, Eric E. Dawson, Noble B. Samuel, Cyril E. King, Albert Sheen, Alexander A. Moorhead, Jr., Lloyd L. Williams, Raymond J. Smith (succeeded A. Ottley)

Eleventh Legislature: 1975-76

Elmo D. Roebuck - President

Britain H. Bryant - Vice President

Eric E. Dawson - Secretary

Lloyd L. Williams - Majority Floor Leader

Alexander A. Moorhead, Jr. - Minority Floor Leader

 

John A. Bell, John L. Maduro, Hector L. Cintron, Claude A. Molloy, Otis L. Felix, Earle B. Ottley, Roger C. Hill, Jean A. Romney, Fritz E. Lawaetz, Noble B. Samuel

Twelfth Legislature: 1977-78

Elmo D. Roebuck - President

Britain H. Bryant - Vice President

Eric E. Dawson - Secretary

Lloyd L. Williams - Majority Floor Leader

 

Leroy S. Arnold, Cleone Creque Hodge, John A. Bell, G. Luz James, Hector L. Cintron, Fritz E. Lawaetz, Otis L. Felix, Sidney Lee, Roger C. Hill, John L. Maduro, Earle B. Ottley

Thirteenth Legislature: 1979-80

Elmo D. Roebuck - President

Sidney Lee - Vice President

Cleone Creque Hodge - Secretary

Leroy S. Arnold - Majority Leader

 

John A. Bell, Earle B. Ottley, Hector L. Cintron, Michael A. Paiewonsky, Williams S. Harvey, Alli J. Paul, John L. Maduro, Eddy Rivera, Athneil C. Ottley, Ruby M. Rouss, Lloyd L. Williams

Fourteenth Legislature: 1981-82

Ruby M. Rouss - President

Gilbert A. Sprauve - Vice President

Ruby Simmonds - Secretary

John A. Bell - Majority Leader

Lloyd A. Williams - Minority Leader

 

Lilliana Belardo, Bent Lawaetz, Hugo Dennis, Jr., Sidney Lee, Milton A. Frett, Michael A. Paiewonsky, William S. Harvey, Elmo D. Roebuck, Edgar M. Iles, Iver A. Stridiron

Fifteenth Legislature: Jan. - July 21, 1983

Elmo D. Roebuck - President

Lilliana Belardo de O’Neal - Vice President

Ruby Simmonds - Secretary

Milton A. Frett - Majority Leader

Hugo Dennis Jr. - Minority Leader

 

Lorraine L. Berry, Edgar M. Iles, Adelbert M. "Bert" Bryan, Bent Lawaetz, Virdin C. Brown, Sidney Lee, Lloyd L. Williams, Kenneth E. Mapp, William S. Harvey, Cleone Creque Maynard

Fifteenth Legislature: July 21-1983-84

Hugo Dennis, Jr. - President

Bent Lawaetz - Vice President

Cleone Creque Maynard - Secretary

Lloyd L. Williams - Majority Leader

 

Lilliana Belardo de O’Neal, Ruby Simmonds, Edgar M. Illes, Milton A. Frett, Sidney Lee, Lorraine L. Berry, Kenneth E. Mapp, Adelbert M. "Bert" Bryan, Elmo D. Roebuck, Virdin C. Brown, William S. Harvey

Sixteenth Legislature: 1985-86

Derek M. Hodge - President

Eric E. Dawson - Vice President

Cleone Creque Maynard - Secretary

Clement "Cain" Magras - Majority Leader

John A. Bell - Minority Leader

 

Virdin C. Brown, James A. O’Bryan, Jr., Ruby M. Rouss, Holland L. Redfield II, Allan Paul Shatkin, Lilliana Belardo de O’Neal, Adelbert M. "Bert" Bryan, Iver A. Stridiron, Hector L. Cintron, Lorraine L. Berry

Seventeenth Legislature: Jan.-Mar, 9, 1987

Ruby M. Rouss - President

Bingley G. Richardson - Vice President

Alicia "Chucky" Hansen - Secretary

Bent Lawaetz - Majority Leader

Iver A. Stridiron - Minority Leader

 

John A. Bell, Lorraine L. Berry, Virdin C. Brown, Douglas E. Canton, Alicia Torres-James, Robert O’Connor Jr., Clement "Cain" Magras, Holland L. Redfield II, David A. Puritz, Allan Paul Shatkin

Seventeenth Legislature: Mar. 9, 1987-88

Iver A. Stridiron - President

John A. Bell - Vice President

Virdin C. Brown - Secretary

Alicia Torres-James -  Secretary for Territorial and Intergovernmental Affairs

Clement C. Magras - Majority Leader

Holland L. Redfield - Minority Leader

 

Lorraine L. Berry, Douglas E. Canton, David A. Purtiz, Alicia "Chucky" Hansen, Bingley G. Richardson, Bent Lawaetz, Allan Paul Shatkin, Ruby M. Rouss, Robert O’Connor, Jr., Edgar M. Iles

Eighteenth Legislature: 1989-90

Bent Lawaetz - President

Robert O’Connor, Jr. - Vice President

St. Claire N. Williams - Secretary

Alicia "Chucky" Hansen -  Secretary for Intergovernmental Relations and Territorial Affairs

Lorraine L. Berry - Majority Leader

Holland L. Redfield II - White House Liaison

 

Virdin C. Brown, David A. Puritz, Edgar M. Iles, Bingley G. Richardson, Sr., Kenneth E. Mapp (served until May 16, 1989), Elmo D. Roebuck, Lilliana Belardo de O’Neal, Allan Paul Shatkin, Celestino A. White, Sr., John F. Tutein (succeeded K. Mapp)

Nineteenth Legislature: 1991-92

Virdin C. Brown - President

Alicia "Chucky" Hansen - Vice President

Almando "Rocky" Liburd - Secretary

Alicia "Chucky" Hansen -  Secretary for Intergovernmental Relations and Territorial Affairs

Adelbert M. "Bert" Bryan - Majority Leader

Lilliana Belardo de O’Neal - White House Liaison

 

Lorraine L. Berry, Stephanie Scott-Williams, Holland Redfield, II, Bent Lawaetz, St. Claire N. Williams, John F. Tutein, Celestino A. White, Sr., Arturo Watlington, Jr., Malcolm C. Callender, Elmo D. Roebuck

Twentieth Legislature: 1993-94

Bingley G. Richardson - Sr. President

Mary Ann Pickard - Vice President

Judy M. Gomez - Secretary

George E. Goodwin -  Secretary for Intergovernmental Relations and Territorial Affairs

Arturo Watlington - Jr. Majority Leader

Lorraine L. Berry - White House Liaison

 

Gerard Luz A. James II, Kenneth E. Mapp, Celestino A. White, Sr., Holland L. Redfield II, Almando "Rocky" Liburd, Edgar Ross, Osbert Potter, Alicia "Chucky" Hansen, Lilliana Belardo de O’Neal

Twenty-First Legislature: 1995-96

Almando "Rocky" Liburd - President

Lilliana Belardo de O’Neal - Vice President

Allie-Allison Petrus - Secretary

Celestino A. White - Sr. Majority Leader

Osbert Potter -  Secretary or Intergovernmental and Territorial Affairs

Alicia "Chucky" Hansen - Liaison to the White House

 

Lorraine L. Berry, Adelbert M. "Bert" Bryan, Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg, Judy M. Gomez, Gerard Luz A. James II, Winfield G. James, David S. Jones, Vargrave Richards, Arturo Watlington, Jr.

Twenty-Second Legislature: 1997-98

Lorraine L. Berry - President

Vargrave A. Richards - Vice President

Roosevelt St. C. David - Secretary

Carol M. Burke - Majority Leader

Roosevelt St. C. David - Secretary for Intergovernmental and Territorial Affairs

Judy M. Gomez - Liaison to the White House

Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg, Jr. - Liaison to U.S. Congress

Holland L. Redfield, II - Republican Charge d'Affaires to Washington

 

Adelbert M. Bryan, Miguel A. Camacho, David S. Jones, Stephen "Smokey" Frett, Almando "Rocky" Liburd, Allie-Allison Petrus, Celestino A. White, Sr.

Twenty-Third Legislature: 1999-2000

Vargrave A. Richards - President

Judy M. Gomez - Vice President

Roosevelt St. C. David - Legislative Secretary

Allie-Allison Petrus - Majority Leader

David S. Jones - Secretary for Intergovernmental & Territorial Affairs

George E. Goodwin - Liaison to the White House

Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg, Jr. - Liaison to U.S. Congress

Violet Anne Golden - Republican Charge d' Affairs to Washington

 

Gregory A. Bennerson, Lorraine L. Berry, Adelbert M. Bryan, Donald "Ducks" Cole, Alicia "Chucky" Hansen, Norman Jn. Baptiste, Almando "Rocky" Liburd

 

Twenty-Fourth Legislature: 2001 - 2002

 

Almando "Rocky" Liburd - President

Adelbert M. Bryan - Vice President

Norman Jn Baptiste - Vice President

Donald "Ducks" Cole - Legislative Secretary

Celestino A. White - Majority Leader

Norma Pickard Samuel - Secretary for Intergovernmental and Territory Affairs

Alicia "Chucky" Hansen - Liaison to the White House

Donald "Ducks" Cole - Liaison to the U.S. Congress

 

Lorraine L. Berry, Douglas E. Canton, Roosevelt St. C. David, Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg, Carlton "Ital" Dowe, Emmett Hansen II, David S. Jones, Vargrave Richards

 

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Honor Roll Service in the Municipal Councils

St. Thomas

 First Council: 1937-38

Lionel V. Roberts, Conrad Corneiro, Ralph Paiewonsky, Eugene LaPlace, Harry DeLagarde, Leopold Barbel, Julius E. Sprauve

Second Council: 1939-40

Osmond Kean, Ralph Paiewonsky, Weymouth Rymer, Lionel A. Roberts, Jacques M. Schiffer, Omar Brown, Julius E. Sprauve

Third Council: 1941-42

Ralph Paiwonsky, Osmond Kean, Valdemar A. Hill, Roy P. Gordon, Omar Brown, Harry DeLagarde, Julius E. Sprauve

Fourth Council: 1943-1944

Valdemar A. Hill, Oswald E. Harris, Weymouth Rymer, Roy P. Gordon, Ralph Paiewonsky, Omar Brown, Julius E. Sprauve

Fifth Council: 1945-46

Oswald E. Harris, Valdemar A. Hill (resigned December 31, 1945), Roy P. Gordon, Weymouth Rymer, Omar Brown, Ralph Paiwonsky, Julius E. Sprauve, Carlos A. Downing (succeeded V. Hill),

Sixth Council: 1947-48

Earle B. Ottley, Oswald E. Harris, Omar Brown, Carlos A. Downing, Roy P. Gordon, Louise E. Hodge, Julius E. Sprauve

Seventh Council: 1949-50

Oswald E. Harris, Earle B. Ottley, Roy P. Gordon, Louise E. Hodge, Carlos A. Downing, Omar Brown, Julius E. Sprauve

Eighth Council: 1951-52

Earle B. Ottley, Oswald E. Harris, Weymouth Rymer, Roy P. Gordon (resigned February, 1952)
Henry V. Richards, Omar Brown, Julius E. Sprauve, Henry O. Creque (succeeded R. Gordon)

Ninth Council: 1953-54

Earle B. Ottley, Percival H. Reese, Joseph A. Gomez, Weymouth Rymer, Henry V. Richards, Henry O. Creque, Julius E. Sprauve

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St. Croix

First Council: 1937-38

Joseph Alexander, Ralph DeChabert, Halvor Berg, Fredrick D. Dorsch, Issac Boynes, Christian Joseph, David C. Canegata, Paul E. Joseph, Cornelius Penthany

Second Council: 1939-40

Joseph Alexander, Arnold M. Golden, C.R.T. Brow, William Johansen, Frederick D. Dorsch, Paul E. Joseph, Robert S. Fleming, Andrew C. Pedro, Cornelius Pentheny

Third Council: 1941-42

Emile A. Abramson, Robert S. Fleming, Joseph Alexander, Percy Gardine, Isaac Boynes, D. Hamilton Jackson, Eric H. Carroll, William Johansen, Cornelius Pentheny

Fourth Council: 1943-44

Emile A. Abrahamson, Robert S. Fleming, Joseph Alexander, Percy Gardine, Isaac Boynes,
D. Hamilton Jackson, Eric H. Carroll, Cornelius Pentheny, George E. Wulff

Fifth Council: 1945-46

Joseph Alexander, Edmund Hurley, Eric H. Carroll, D. Hamilton Jackson, Robert S. Fleming, Daniel Joseph, Percy Gardine, Reuben A. Neazer, Cornelius Pentheny

Sixth Council: 1947-48

Joseph A. Benjamin, Walter I.M. Hodge, Canute A. Brodhurst, Aloyslus A. James, James De Castro Christian, Alexander Moorhead, Ludvig E. Harrigan, Reuben A. Neazer, Cornelius Penthany (died March 8, 1947), William B. Robinson (succeeded C. Penthany)

Seventh Council: 1949-50

S. Christian Chase, Franke E. Jacobs, A. Sebastian Forbes, Alva C.M. Farlane, Ludvig E. Harrigan, Reuben A. Neazer, Walter I.M. Hodge, Gordon M. Skeoch, George E. Wulff

Eighth Council: 1951-52

Eric H. Carroll, Walter I.M. Hodge, Aloyslus A. James, Cydrian A. Gardine, William Johansen (resigned April, 1951), Ludvig E. Harrigan (died March 19, 1951), Alva C.M. Farlane, Herbert H. Heywood, S. Christian Chase (succeeded W. Johansen), Henry E. Rohlsen (succeeded L. Harrigan),

Ninth Council: 1953-54

Ann E. Abramson, Herbert H. Heywood, J. Wilfred Benjamin, Walter I.M. Hodge, Eric H. Carroll, Raymond A. Pedro, John W. Flick, Henry E. Rohlsen, Alex Schade

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Presidents

  • 1st Walter I.M. Hodge 1955-56

  • 2nd Aubrey Anduze 1957-58

  • 3rd Walter I.M. Hodge 1959-60

  • 4th Walter I.M. Hodge 1961-62

  • 5th Earle B. Ottley 1963-64

  • 6h Earle B. Ottley 1965-66

  • 7th Earle B. Ottley 1967-68

  • 8th John L. Maduro 1969-70

  • 9th John L. Maduro 1971-72

  • 10th Claude A. Molloy 1973-74

  • 11th Elmo D. Roebuck 1975-76

  • 12th Elmo D. Roebuck 1977-78

  • 13th Elmo D. Roebuck 1979-80

  • 14th Ruby M. Rouss 1981-82

  • 15th Elmo D. Roebuck Jan-July, 1983

  • 15th Hugo Dennis July, 1983-84

  • 16th Derek M. Hodge 1985-1986

  • 17th Ruby M. Rouss Jan-Mar, 1987

  • 17th Iver A. Stridiron Mar, 1987-88

  • 18th Bent Lawaetz 1989-90

  • 19th Virdin C. Brown 1991-92

  • 20th Bingley G. Richardson 1993-94

  • 21st Almando "Rocky" Liburd 1995-96

  • 22nd Lorraine L. Berry 1997-98

  • 23rd Vargrave Richards 1999-200

  • 24th Almando "Rocky" Liburd 2001-02

  • 25th David S. Jones 2003-2005

  • 26th Lorraine L. Berry 2005-2007

  • 27th Usie R. Richards 2007-President

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