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Author: William-Jose Velez

Resident Commissioner González-Colón introduces legislation for statehood vote in Puerto Rico

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (NPP, R) of Puerto Rico, alongside Representatives José Serrano (D) of New York, Darren Soto (D) of Florida, Don Young (R) of Alaska, Stephanie Murphy (D) of Florida, Rob Bishop (R) of Utah and 40 other members of Congress, introduced bipartisan legislation to begin Puerto Rico’s admission process as a state of the Union. By requiring a statehood yes-or-no vote on the islands, this legislation follows the same precedent established for the admission process of Alaska and Hawaii.  The Puerto Rico legislature, however, would not have to wait for congressional action on the bill.  The...

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Governor Bryan introduces legislation to create the USVI’s Emergency Medical Services System

United States Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan Jr. (D) submitted two major pieces of proposed legislation to dramatically overhaul emergency medical services in the territory by merging two critical response apparatuses to increase available resources and manpower, and by creating a system that is more efficient and responsive to the emergency needs of residents and visitors to the Virgin Islands. The first proposed legislation, the Virgin Islands Emergency Medical Services System Act, creates the first-ever Emergency Medical Services System and gives the US Virgin Islands Department of Health regulatory authority over all out-of-hospital emergency medical services providers in the...

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Final seven members of Bryan’s cabinet sworn in

United States Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan Jr. (D) held his final swearing-in ceremony today, officially filling out his administration’s 29-member Cabinet, which has been charged with moving forward his agenda to stabilize the US Virgin Islands government and restore public trust and to rebuild and sustain a vibrant economy. “This is the final round of people we are swearing-in, and it’s a time of great transition for us as a Cabinet,” Governor Bryan said. “People look at ‘change course now’ as a physical change, but it’s a mental change. It’s an attitude change. It’s a policy change. It’s...

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US Supreme Court hears case on Oversight Board appointments, could review the Insular Cases

On Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court’s nine Justices squarely faced the question of where the Insular Cases stand as they consider whether the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico violates the Appointments Clause of the Constitution. This follows concerns two Justices raised about the Insular Cases last week that hint to the possibility that after more than a century there may finally be interest on the Court to reconsider the Insular Cases. During the actual oral arguments however, the Justices seemed to focus more on whether the board was primary or purely local powers versus federal...

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Governor Bryan signs improved Hotel Development Act into law

US Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan Jr (D), signed into law on Monday a new version of the Hotel Development Act. The Hotel Development Act (HDA), initially introduced and codified in 2011, was intended to herald new growth incentives for commercial and hotel development by incentivizing new construction in the territory. Under the new Hotel Development Act signed into law, those incentives can now be applied to hotel reconstruction, renovation, restoration, and improvement—broadening the scope of who can participate in the program. The bill expands the application of the HDA to not just new hotel and resort construction but...

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