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IAPMO
In rare move, USVI senators keep Christmas tree bill small 
 
 

ST. THOMAS - In what was probably the last formal session of the 30th Legislature, lawmakers on December 19 diverted from the tradition and only brought forward a very small Christmas tree bill that did not cost the taxpayers any extra money.

In past years, particularly when a Senate term is ending, senators have chosen a spending bill to decorate with unrelated amendments, called a Christmas tree bill.

Typically, the "ornaments" are earmarks for special projects, but this year the amendments did not appropriate any money at all.

The bill that was chosen to be the Christmas tree is a left over budget bill to help close the budget gap in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget. The measure authorizes the contribution of $41 million from the partial settlement of the South Shore Natural Resource Damage litigation settlement to the General Fund to help balance the FY 2015 budget.

The unrelated amendments attached to the bill included:
- An update to the plumbing regulations in the V.I. Code to reflect changes made to International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials standards for installing solar heated pools, spas and hot tubs.