Proven Results! Nov 2020 Edition
A Message from the Senator
It is with a humble heart I extend my gratitude for the overwhelming vote of confidence I received in the General Election. When I began this journey in 2018, I made a commitment to the people of the Virgin Islands, that I will work hard on your behalf and draft meaningful legislation which will positively impact the quality of life for ALL. I have done so with my thirty-plus pieces of legislation which have been enacted and the many others currently moving through the Legislative process.
Your unwavering support is the driving factor which motivates me to forge ahead, and I intend to continue to do just that in the 34th legislature. There is so much work to be done and I anticipate beginning the new legislative body with the same enthusiasm I had when I entered the 33rd legislature, full of energy and productivity. I have additional legislation waiting to be heard which will positively impact the people of this Territory and assist the government in attaining efficiency.
I am committed to these beautiful Virgin Islands. This is my home and I will continue to work on behalf of all to ensure it is a better place for everyone. Thank you for your immense support.
Legislation to Know
Senator Donna Frett-Gregory has been consistent in her commitment to work on your behalf to address issues and to find solutions to the Territory's most pervasive problems. In fact, she was able to craft over 30+ pieces of legislation that were signed into law, unprecedented for a freshman senator in the minority caucus. She fights passionately for the issues that matter to you and her track record reflects her dedication to our community. Below you will find a few of her bills that may be useful for you to know:
Surplus Funding to GERS (Act No. 8383)- This bill remits 50% of excess revenues this year to GERS, an estimated $30M, and up to $50M of any excess revenues next year
Career Tech (Act No. 8374)- Strengthens career and technical education in the public high schools by providing students with the opportunity to become certified in their field of interest and by incentivizing businesses to train students
WAPA Management & Oversight Review Committee (33-0346) (Vetoed by Governor)- An Act establishing a multi-year Management and Oversight Review Committee for the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority to address operational inefficiencies and financial mismanagement
Tax Amnesty (Act No. 8271)- Establishes a 180-day amnesty period for the waiver of penalties for payment of outstanding income taxes and the waiver of interest and penalties for payment of outstanding gross receipt taxes and real property taxes for all tax years up to tax year 2019
Funding to Waste Management Authority (Act No. 8381)- Set asides $15,000,000 from the General Fund to the Waste Management Authority to pay outstanding debts to waste haulers and solid waste operations to help the Agency keep our islands clean
School Facilities Maintenance Authority (33-0302)(In Committee)- Removing the responsibility of maintenance and construction from under the Commissioner of the Dept. of Education to allow for focus on student achievement. The Authority shall establish, acquire, construct, develop, improve, renovate, own, operate and manage all public schools and public educational facilities in the Territory
Chairing the Committee on Education & Workforce Development
As Chair of the Committee on Education and Workforce Development, Sen. Frett-Gregory held three (3) meetings in the third quarter of 2020 to receive updates from the Department of Education (DOE) and to hear four (4) pieces of legislation.
DOE was invited this summer to give an update on the reopening of schools for the 2020-2021 school year, to include safety guidelines for COVID-19, and the status of the Cares Act funding. During the meeting, DOE testified that after many discussions with the leadership from the Dept. of Health, it was decided students would attend school virtually for the first semester of this school year. This would result in all public school students learning from home. In the hearing, DOE laid out the plan for this new normal.
In the most recent Education hearing, DOE testified before the committee members to give an update on the transition process from classroom learning to distance learning, including positive outcomes and challenges, availability of equipment, scheduled teacher and parent trainings, new K4 classrooms in the STT/STJ district and the status of federal funds that were to expire on September 30, 2020. The DOE team reported there are still many challenges in adjusting to this new normal, but they assured the community they are working diligently to ensure student success.
Quite a few bills were heard in the meetings, including two (2) pieces of legislation sponsored by Sen. Frett-Gregory: Bill No. 33-0347 mandates that students who receive home instruction must also be considered to receive the UVI free tuition scholarship benefits, and Bill No. 33-0360, which requires DOE to offer public school students the ability to fulfill required and elective courses of study via accessible digital classrooms, and putting policy in place to provide students engaged in distance learning with access to the necessary devices to successfully complete courses.
Both of Sen. Frett-Gregory's bills were favorably voted on by her colleagues and moved for further consideration.
Below you will find the senator's outstanding attendance at Legislative hearings this year.
DFG in the Community
On August 26, Sen. Frett-Gregory held a virtual conference to honor the 100th anniversary of Women’s Equality Day where we celebrated all women accomplished throughout generations. The Putting Pumps to the Pavement virtual forum granted our panelists an opportunity to tell their stories and inspire young women to propel forward in their fields. You can replay the conference on our Facebook page here.
In true Virgin Islands fashion, Sen. Frett-Gregory held a delicious local breakfast sale on Sep 26 and it was a resounding success! Supporters loved the banana and pumpkin fritters, butterbread, saltfish, and every other local dish on the menu.
While Sen. Frett-Gregory was unable to campaign like normal due to COVID-19, the Results Team made sure to show supporters they do not take their vote lightly. The team was seen handing out DFG ecofriendly shopping bags, rack cards, and the likes to connect with residents in both St. Thomas and St. John.
Staying in touch with the community throughout the pandemic, Sen. Frett-Gregory also sat down to chat with different talk show hosts, like former Senator Roosevelt David on Pass It On, Elvin Fahie on The Police Show, Sheldon Turnbull on Da Vybe and Neville James on Analyze This.
Sen. Frett-Gregory also made sure to attend events that highlighted Virgin Islands talent, like the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) anniversary ceremonies in both the STT/STJ district and the STX district, and the ribbon cutting ceremony of the largest free-standing hanger in the Caribbean right here at one of our very own airport facilities in St. Thomas.
Thank you for your unwavering vote of confidence in the General Election and throughout Senator Donna Frett-Gregory's first term. We could not have done it without YOU!
Get in Touch
Our office is always open to the entire Virgin Islands community to share concerns, ask questions, or pitch ideas that will positively impact our Territory. You can reach us right here on the website via "Get Involved" or you can:
Email us at email@example.com
Call us at 340-693-3686
The next "Working for Results" newsletter issue- February 2020