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BILL NO. 29-0102

Twenty-Ninth Legislature Of The Virgin Islands

May 11, 2011

An Act enacting the Legislative Youth Advisory Council


Senator Terrence Positive Nelson Co-Sponsor: Nereida Rivera-OReilly

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Be it enacted by the Legislature of the Virgin Islands: SECTION 1. Title 2 V.I.C. is amended by adding a new chapter 9 to read as follows: Chapter 9. Legislative Youth Advisory Council 150. Youth Advisory Council; Establishment There is established the Legislative Youth Advisory Council, referred to in this section as the "Council." 151. Duties The Council shall perform the following duties:

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(a) Advise the Legislature on proposed and pending legislation, budget expenditures and policy matters related to youth; (b) Consult with study commissions, committees and task forces regarding issues related to

(c) Conduct periodic seminars for its members regarding leadership, government and the Legislature; (d) Meet at least 3 times but not more than 6 times per year, including not more than 2 public hearings on issues of importance to youth. However the council may meet up to an additional 3 times in a year if the Executive Director of the Legislature determines that sufficient budgeted resources remain after paying all costs associated with the initial 6 meetings to pay any additional costs associated with any additional meetings; and (e) Report annually to the Legislature on its activities by December 1st of each year. The council may submit proposed legislation as part of its report to the Legislature to implement its recommendations. 152. Jurisdiction The Council shall examine issues of importance to youth, including, but not limited to, education, employment, strategies to increase youth participation in Government, safe environments for youth, substance abuse, emotional and physical health, foster care, poverty, homelessness and youth access to services territory-wide. 153. Membership (a) The Council consists of 16 voting members who are Virgin Islands residents and appointed in accordance with this subsection. In appointing members, the appointing authorities shall consider

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geographic distribution. All youth and legislative appointments must be made within 60 days after the convening of each new Legislature. (b) All appointments are for the duration of the legislative term for which the members are appointed and expire upon the convening of the next Legislature. (c) The appointing authorities shall select youth members from youths recommended by principals, guidance counselors or administrative heads of secondary or postsecondary school systems, representatives of equivalent instruction programs or other organizations having an interest in youth activities. (d) Members may be reappointed to subsequent terms on the Council as long as they are eligible at the time of their reappointment. (e) The President of the Legislature shall appoint the following 20 members: (1) Sixteen youths who have attained 14 years of age and who are enrolled in programs that lead to a secondary school diploma or certificate of attendance or a general equivalency diploma, or enrolled at a postsecondary educational institutions located in the Virgin Islands with 8 being from the St. Croix District and 8 from the St. Thomas/St. John District provided that at least one member is a resident of the island of St. John; and (2) Four members of the Legislature to serve as non-voting ex officio members. (f) Chairs. There is a legislative chair and a youth chair of the Council. The members shall elect one of their youth members to serve as the youth chair. (g) Tie or Split Vote. In the event of a tie or split vote, the non-voting ex officio members of the Legislature, excluding the legislative chair, shall serve as the tie-breaker. 154. Integration with Learning Results The Department of Education may seek the cooperation of the Council on the integration of

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Council experience into the learning results standards in student service and career preparation. 6 155. Priorities The Council shall set priorities and shall determine the function of subcommittees, standards of conduct, process, procedures and the use of technology to convene meetings. Council members shall review and consider the procedures and rules used by the Legislature as they may be appropriate for use as models for the Council. 156. Communication The Council may provide testimony on legislation pending before the Legislature. 157. Compensation Members of the Council who are Legislators are entitled to the legislative per diem and to reimbursement of reasonable expenses incurred in order to serve on the Council as provided in Title 2 V.I.C. 71. Notwithstanding the provisions of 3 VI.C. 65, all other members who are not otherwise reimbursed for their service on the Council are entitled to compensation for reasonable expenses incurred in order to serve on the Council as provided in 3 VI.C. 65. 158. Freedom of Access Meetings of the Council are public meetings and all records of the Council are public records as defined by 3 V.I.C., chapter 33. 159. Staff The Legislature shall provide staff assistance to the Council from within its existing budgeted resources or from any grants received by the Legislature for that purpose. The staff assigned by the Legislature shall draft all legislation submitted to the Legislature by the Council. Legislative staffing may be curtailed during periods when the Legislature is in regular or special session.

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160. Funding The Legislature may seek outside funds to fund costs of the Council. Contributions to support the work of the Council may not be accepted from any party having a pecuniary or other vested interest in the outcome of the matters being studied or who would in any way compromise the work of the Council. Any person, other than a government agency, desiring to make a financial or in-kind contribution must certify to the Legislature or its designee in the manner prescribed by the Legislature that the person has no pecuniary or other vested interest in the outcome of the work of the Council. All contributions are subject to approval by the Legislature or its designee. The Executive Director of the Legislature administers any funds received by the Council. The executive director shall notify the chairs of the Council of the status of the funding on or before October 1st annually and what funding is available for the following fiscal year. 161. Budget The Council shall work with the Executive Director of the Legislature to develop a budget for the Council. The budget must be submitted to the Executive Director of the Legislature within 60 days of the beginning of each Legislature. The Legislature shall pay reasonable expenses of members who are Legislators to attend authorized meetings of the Council. All other expenses must be paid for from the Council's budget. The Council may not incur any expense that would cause the Council to exceed its budgeted resources. 162. Solicitation of Funds Prohibited without Prior Written Approval No public or private entity may solicit or receive funds from any source on behalf of or for the benefit of the Council without prior written approval of the Legislature or its executive director. All such funds, if approved and when received by the requesting entity, must be immediately transferred in full to the Legislature and reserved by the Legislature for use by the Council.

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BILL SUMMARY This bill seeks to enact the Youth Advisory Council within the Legislature. The components of this legislation were mirrored after legislation enacted in the state of Maine. Section 1 of this bill outlines the duties, jurisdiction, membership, priorities, compensation, and funding for the Council. The purpose of the legislation is to foster a better understanding of issues affecting youth of the Virgin Islands and enact appropriate legislation.

BR11-0165 / February 4, 2011 / PFA/ reviewed by TF: April 1, 2011