Senator DeGazon continues the work with four bills out of session
Legislation proposed by Sen. Allison DeGazon to include maternal mental health, unemployment insurance, roads and education have moved out of legislation session with one becoming law.
“The movement of these bills show how busy my office has been in ensuring that we get the work done for the people of the Virgin Islands,” DeGazon said.
Bill No. 33-0102 focused on ensuring graduates of the Adult Education Center were favored the same as traditional students when it came to scholarship awards. The bill also amended sections related to scholarship grants, to increase the scholarship maximum amounts for undergraduate and graduate scholarships; and amended Act No. 8245 relating to appropriations for the valedictorian and the salutatorian awards to consolidate them into one line item in the annual budget and a combined appropriation.
The bill was originally vetoed by Governor Albert Bryan Jr. but was overrode by the legislature during legislative session Friday evening, becoming law.
Bills on the way to the governor’s desk from Tuesday and Wednesday’s session include:
· Bill No. 33-0415, an Act to authorize the Commissioner of Public Works to accept the residential roads of Estate LaReine, on the island of St. Croix, into the public roadway system and to utilize the St. Croix Capital Improvement Fund to repair the residential roads in Estate LaReine.
· Bill No. 33-0246, An Act amending title 19, chapter 45 of the Virgin Islands Code adding subchapter VI relating to maternal mental health.
· And Bill No. 33-0416, An Act appropriating up to $3 million from the COVID CARES Act Fund for the purpose of fulfilling unemployment benefits.
On Bill 33-0246 regarding mental health, the senator spoke on how her mother, who worked with women in the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) program for 30 years, noticed the importance of mental health for mothers.
“She could tell something was wrong with these mothers when they came in for their benefits,” DeGazon said, noting that families did not recognize the signs. “They didn’t understand that this was postpartum depression. They did not understand mental illness and how serious this matter is."
"Now at the WIC programs and the hospitals, they are going to have information that they are going to give out about postpartum depression, mental health and treatment because of this bill and zone in a little more about the mental health of mothers.”
While Bill No. 33-0415 spoke to the Estate La-Reine Roads, the senator said there was more to come.
“It is our hope to add more roads to this bill as an amendment” DeGazon said. “Several neighborhoods are plagued with very bad roads and piece by piece we’re going to do the best we can.”