[USC02] 48 USC CHAPTER 12, SUBCHAPTER IV: EXECUTIVE BRANCH
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48 USC CHAPTER 12, SUBCHAPTER IV: EXECUTIVE BRANCH
From Title 48—TERRITORIES AND INSULAR POSSESSIONSCHAPTER 12—VIRGIN ISLANDS 1954

SUBCHAPTER IV—EXECUTIVE BRANCH

§1591. Governor and Lieutenant Governor; election; eligibility; official residence; powers and duties; report

The executive power of the Virgin Islands shall be vested in an executive officer whose official title shall be the "Governor of the Virgin Islands". The Governor of the Virgin Islands, together with the Lieutenant Governor, shall be elected by a majority of the votes cast by the people who are qualified to vote for the members of the legislature of the Virgin Islands. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall be chosen jointly, by the casting by each voter of a single vote applicable to both officers. If no candidates receive a majority of the votes cast in any election, on the fourteenth day thereafter a run-off election shall be held between the candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor receiving the highest and second highest number of votes cast. The first election for Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall be held on November 3, 1970. Thereafter, beginning with the year 1974, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall be elected every four years at the general election. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall hold office for a term of four years and until their successors are elected and qualified. No person who has been elected Governor for two full successive terms shall be again eligible to hold that office until one full term has intervened. The term of the elected Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall commence on the first Monday of January following the date of election.

No person shall be eligible for election to the office of Governor or Lieutenant Governor unless he is an eligible voter and has been for five consecutive years immediately preceding the election a citizen of the United States and a bona fide resident of the Virgin Islands and will be, at the time of taking office, at least thirty years of age. The Governor shall maintain his official residence in the Government House on Saint Thomas during his incumbency, which house, together with land appurtenant thereto, is hereby transferred to the government of the Virgin Islands. While in Saint Croix the Governor may reside in Government House on Saint Croix, which house, together with land appurtenant thereto is also transferred to the government of the Virgin Islands.

The Governor shall have general supervision and control of all the departments, bureaus, agencies, and other instrumentalities of the executive branch of the government of the Virgin Islands. He may grant pardons and reprieves and remit fines and forfeitures for offenses against local laws. He may veto any legislation as provided in this chapter. He shall appoint, and may remove, all officers and employees of the executive branch of the government of the Virgin Islands, except as otherwise provided in this or any other Act of Congress, or under the laws of the Virgin Islands, and shall commission all officers that he may be authorized to appoint. He shall be responsible for the faithful execution of the laws of the Virgin Islands and the laws of the United States applicable in the Virgin Islands. Whenever it becomes necessary, in case of disaster, invasion, insurrection, or rebellion or imminent danger thereof, or to prevent or suppress lawless violence, he may summon the posse comitatus or call out the militia or request assistance of the senior military or naval commander of the Armed Forces of the United States in the Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico, which may be given at the discretion of such commander if not disruptive of, or inconsistent with, his Federal responsibilities. He may, in case of rebellion or invasion or imminent danger thereof, when the public safety requires it, proclaim the islands, insofar as they are under the jurisdiction of the government of the Virgin Islands, to be under martial law. The members of the legislature shall meet forthwith on their own initiative and may, by a two-thirds vote, revoke such proclamation.

The Governor shall prepare, publish, and submit to the Congress and the Secretary of the Interior a comprehensive annual financial report in conformance with the standards of the National Council on Governmental Accounting within one hundred and twenty days after the close of the fiscal year. The comprehensive annual financial report shall include statistical data as set forth in the standards of the National Council on Governmental Accounting relating to the physical, economic, social, and political characteristics of the government, and any other information required by the Congress. The Governor shall also make such other reports at such other times as may be required by the Congress or under applicable Federal law. He shall have the power to issue executive orders and regulations not in conflict with any applicable law. He may recommend bills to the legislature and give expression to his views on any matter before that body.

There is hereby established the office of Lieutenant Governor of the Virgin Islands. The Lieutenant Governor shall have such executive powers and perform such duties as may be assigned to him by the Governor or prescribed by this chapter or under the laws of the Virgin Islands.

(July 22, 1954, ch. 558, §11, 68 Stat. 503; Pub. L. 90–496, §4, Aug. 23, 1968, 82 Stat. 837; Pub. L. 97–357, title III, §309(a), Oct. 19, 1982, 96 Stat. 1710; Pub. L. 98–454, title V, §502, Oct. 5, 1984, 98 Stat. 1735; Pub. L. 105–362, title IX, §901(n), Nov. 10, 1998, 112 Stat. 3290.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original "this Act", meaning act July 22, 1954, ch. 558, 68 Stat. 497, as amended, known as the Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1541 of this title and Tables.

Amendments

1998Pub. L. 105–362, in fourth paragraph, struck out "The Governor shall transmit the comprehensive annual financial report to the Inspector General of the Department of the Interior who shall audit it and report his findings to the Congress." after "other information required by the Congress." and "He shall also submit to the Congress, the Secretary of the Interior, and the cognizant Federal auditors a written statement of actions taken or contemplated on Federal audit recommendations within sixty days after the issuance date of the audit report." after "under applicable Federal law."

1984Pub. L. 98–454 substituted "Saint Croix, which house, together with land appurtenant thereto is also transferred to the government of the Virgin Islands" for "Saint Croix free of rent" in second paragraph.

1982Pub. L. 97–357, in fourth paragraph, substituted provisions relating to the preparation, etc., of a comprehensive annual financial report to be submitted to the Congress, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Inspector General of the Department of the Interior, preparation of other reports as required by Congress or applicable Federal law, and submittal of a written statement of actions taken or contemplated on Federal audit recommendations for provisions relating to an annual report of transactions of the Virgin Islands government to the Secretary of the Interior for transmittal to Congress and such other reports as required by Congress or applicable Federal law.

1968Pub. L. 90–496 amended section generally, providing for the popular election of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, setting the date of the first election, defining the scope of their authority, setting out the duties of their offices, specifying the qualifications for the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor, and providing that an elected Governor may serve two full successive terms but shall not be again eligible to hold that office until one full term has intervened.

Effective Date of 1968 Amendment

Pub. L. 90–496, §16, Aug. 23, 1968, 82 Stat. 842, provided that: "Those provisions of this Act [see Short Title note set out under section 1541 of this title] necessary to authorize the holding of an election for Governor and Lieutenant Governor on November 3, 1970, shall be effective January 1, 1970. All other provisions of this Act, unless otherwise expressly provided herein, shall be effective January 4, 1971."

Termination of Reporting Requirements

For termination, effective May 15, 2000, of provisions in the 1st sentence of the 4th par. of this section relating to the requirement that the Governor submit a comprehensive annual financial report to Congress, see section 3003 of Pub. L. 104–66, as amended, set out as a note under section 1113 of Title 31, Money and Finance, and the 11th item on page 115 of House Document No. 103–7.

Submerged Lands, Conveyance to Territory

Conveyance of submerged lands to the government of the Virgin Islands, see section 1701 et seq. of this title.

§1592. Repealed. Pub. L. 89–554, §8(a), Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 657

Section, act July 22, 1954, ch. 558, §20(a), 68 Stat. 505, prescribed compensation of Governor.

Codification

Section 20 of act July 22, 1954, was amended in its entirety by section 10 of Pub. L. 90–496, Aug. 23, 1968, 82 Stat. 841, which consolidated the text of said section 20 into a single unlettered paragraph, classified to section 1641 of this title. Prior to the 1968 amendment said section 20 was comprised of subsecs. (a) to (c). Subsec. (a) was classified to this section, and subsecs. (b) and (c) were classified to sections 1598 and 1641, respectively, of this title.

§1593. Initiative and recall

(a) Grant of rights

The people of the Virgin Islands shall have the rights of initiative and recall to be exercised as provided in subsection (b) and subsection (c), respectively.

(b) Initiative

(1) An initiative may enact, amend, or repeal any law, except that an initiative shall not be used to repeal a law declared by the legislature at the time of passage to be an emergency law necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or peace.

(2) An initiative that proposes a reduction of taxes shall also provide for an equivalent reduction of expenditures or an equivalent increase in revenues from other sources.

(3) An initiative shall address one subject only and matters reasonably related to that subject.

(4) The ballot question shall be in such form that a "yes" vote is a vote in favor of the proposal and a "no" vote is a vote against the proposal.

(5) A copy of the proposed initiative petition, including a complete text of the proposed law and containing signatures equal to at least 1 percent of the voters of each legislative district or 4 percent of all voters of the Virgin Islands must be submitted to the Supervisor of Elections prior to circulation for ballot qualification. The Supervisor of Elections must determine within 10 days after the submission whether the preliminary signatures are sufficient. If so determined, the Supervisor of Elections shall refer the preliminary petition to an initiative titling board consisting of the Attorney General, the Supervisor of Elections, and the legislative counsel of the legislature. The board shall, in an open hearing, prepare the official ballot title, the submission question, and a summary of the initiative proposal, and this preparation shall be completed within 30 days after the referral.

(6) After the ballot title has been written, proponents of the initiative proposal shall have a maximum of 180 days to circulate the petition. Petitions containing signatures equal to at least 10 percent of the voters of each legislative district or 41 percent of all voters of the Virgin Islands must be submitted to the Supervisor of Elections. The Supervisor shall have 15 days to determine that the minimum number of valid signatures are contained in the petition and he shall forward the certified proposal to the legislature which must accept or reject the measure within 30 days. If approved, the initiative shall take effect in accordance with its terms. If the legislature does not approve, the initiative shall be submitted to the voters at the next general election, unless the legislature approves a special election for this purpose. The legislature may submit its own version of the initiative to the voters. Should both measures be approved by the voters, the measure receiving the higher number of votes shall prevail. The voters shall have a clear alternative of rejecting either version or the entire proposition.

(7) An initiative submitted to the voters shall take effect if the initiative is approved by a majority of persons voting and if a majority of the voters of the Virgin Islands vote on the initiative. An initiative may not be vetoed by the Governor, and when approved by the voters, may not be amended or repealed by the legislature during the 3-year period after its approval unless the legislature acts by a two-thirds majority.

(8) The legislature may provide the manner in which petitions shall be circulated, filed, certified, and the ballot question shall be submitted to the voters.

(c) Recall

(1) An elected public official of the Virgin Islands may be removed from office by a recall election carried out under this subsection. The grounds for recall are any of the following: lack of fitness, incompetence, neglect of duty, or corruption.

(2) A recall election may be initiated by a two-thirds vote of the members of the legislature or by a petition under this subsection.

(3) Prior to circulation a recall petition which identifies by name and office the official being recalled and which states the grounds for recall shall be submitted to the Supervisor of Elections. The sponsors of the recall petition shall be allowed a period of 60 days after such submission for filing with the Supervisor of Elections a list of signatures equal in number to at least 50 percent of the whole number of votes cast for that office in the last general election at which that office was filled. The Supervisor of Elections shall have 15 days in which to determine whether the minimum number of valid signatures are contained in the recall petition.

(4) A special recall election shall be held with respect to an elected public official not earlier than 30 days after a vote of the legislature under paragraph (2) or a determination of the board of elections under paragraph (3), as the case may be, and not later than 60 days after such vote or determination.

(5) An official shall be removed from office upon approval of the recall in an election in which at least two-thirds of the number of persons voting for such official in the last preceding general election at which such official was elected vote in favor of recall and in which those so voting constitute a majority of all those participating in such recall election.

(6) No recall election shall be held with respect to an elected public official—

(A) during the first year of the first term of office of the official; or

(B) less than 3 months before a general election for the office.

(d) "Law" and "voter" defined

As used in this section, the term—

(1) "law" means a law of the Virgin Islands; and

(2) "voter" means a registered voter who is eligible to vote on the issue or for the office involved.

(July 22, 1954, ch. 558, §12, 68 Stat. 503; Pub. L. 90–496, §5, Aug. 23, 1968, 82 Stat. 838; Pub. L. 99–396, §1, Aug. 27, 1986, 100 Stat. 837.)

Amendments

1986Pub. L. 99–396 amended section generally, substituting provisions giving people of Virgin Islands the rights of initiative and recall and spelling out ways in which those rights are to be exercised for provisions which had formerly only set out a method for removal of Governor by referendum election.

1968Pub. L. 90–496 substituted provisions authorizing the removal of the Governor from office by a recall referendum for provisions authorizing the appointment of a Government Secretary for the Virgin Islands, and provisions setting forth his powers and duties.

Effective Date of 1968 Amendment

Amendment of provisions of section necessary to authorize the holding of an election for Governor and Lieutenant Governor on Nov. 3, 1970, effective Jan. 1, 1970, and all other amendments of provisions of section, unless otherwise expressly provided by Pub. L. 90–496, effective Jan. 4, 1971, see section 16 of Pub. L. 90–496, set out as a note under section 1591 of this title.

§1594. Repealed. Pub. L. 90–496, §6, Aug. 23, 1968, 82 Stat. 839

Section, act July 22, 1954, ch. 558, §13, 68 Stat. 503, authorized the Governor to appoint an administrative assistant to reside in St. Croix and an administrative assistant to reside in St. John.

Effective Date of Repeal

Pub. L. 90–496, §6, Aug. 23, 1968, 82 Stat. 839, provided in part that the repeal of this section is effective on the date of enactment of Pub. L. 90–496, which was approved Aug. 23, 1968.

§1595. Vacancy in office of Governor or Lieutenant Governor

(a) Temporary disability or temporary absence of Governor

In case of the temporary disability or temporary absence of the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor shall have the powers of the Governor.

(b) Permanent vacancy in office of Governor; Lieutenant Governor as Governor; term of office

In case of a permanent vacancy in the office of Governor, arising by reason of the death, resignation, removal by recall or permanent disability of the Governor, or the death, resignation, or permanent disability of a Governor-elect, or for any other reason, the Lieutenant Governor or Lieutenant Governor-elect shall become the Governor, to hold office for the unexpired term and until he or his successor shall have been duly elected and qualified at the next regular election for Governor.

(c) Temporary disability or temporary absence of Lieutenant Governor; president of legislature as Lieutenant Governor

In case of the temporary disability or temporary absence of the Lieutenant Governor, or during any period when the Lieutenant Governor is acting as Governor, the president of the legislature shall act as Lieutenant Governor.

(d) Permanent vacancy in office of Lieutenant Governor; Governor to appoint new Lieutenant Governor with advice and consent of legislature; term of office

In case of a permanent vacancy in the office of Lieutenant Governor, arising by reason of the death, resignation, or permanent disability of the Lieutenant Governor, or because the Lieutenant Governor or Lieutenant Governor-elect has succeeded to the office of Governor, the Governor shall appoint a new Lieutenant Governor, with the advice and consent of the legislature, to hold office for the unexpired term and until he or his successor shall have been duly elected and qualified at the next regular election for Lieutenant Governor.

(e) Temporary disability or temporary absence of Governor and Lieutenant Governor; appointment of Acting Governor; permanent vacancies in offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor; appointment of Governor

In case of the temporary disability or temporary absence of both the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor, the powers of the Governor shall be exercised, as Acting Governor, by such person as the laws of the Virgin Islands may prescribe. In case of a permanent vacancy in the offices of both the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, the office of Governor shall be filled for the unexpired term in the manner prescribed by the laws of the Virgin Islands.

(f) Additional compensation

No additional compensation shall be paid to any person acting as Governor or Lieutenant Governor who does not also assume the office of Governor or Lieutenant Governor under the provisions of this chapter.

(July 22, 1954, ch. 558, §14, 68 Stat. 504; Pub. L. 90–496, §7(a), Aug. 23, 1968, 82 Stat. 839.)

Amendments

1968Pub. L. 90–496 designated existing provisions as subsec. (a), substituted provisions that in case of the temporary disability or temporary absence of the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor shall have the powers of the Governor for provisions that in case of a vacancy in the office of Governor or the disability of the Governor or the temporary absence of the Governor, the Government Secretary shall have all the powers of the Governor, and added subsecs. (b) to (f).

Effective Date of 1968 Amendment

Amendment of provisions of section necessary to authorize the holding of an election for Governor and Lieutenant Governor on Nov. 3, 1970, effective Jan. 1, 1970, and all other amendments of provisions of section, unless otherwise expressly provided by Pub. L. 90–496, effective Jan. 4, 1971, see section 16 of Pub. L. 90–496, set out as a note under section 1591 of this title.

§1596. Repealed. Pub. L. 104–186, title II, §224(3), Aug. 20, 1996, 110 Stat. 1752

Section, act July 22, 1954, ch. 558, §15, as added May 27, 1975, Pub. L. 94–26, §2, 89 Stat. 94, related to clerk hire allowance and reimbursement for transportation expenses of the Delegate from the Virgin Islands to the House of Representatives.

§1597. Reorganization of government

(a) Consolidation of departments, bureaus, etc.; popular election of school board members

The Governor shall, within one year after July 22, 1954, reorganize and consolidate the existing executive departments, bureaus, independent boards, agencies, authorities, commissions, and other instrumentalities of the government of the Virgin Islands or of the municipal governments into not more than nine executive departments except for independent bodies whose existence may be required by Federal law for participation in Federal programs. The head of each executive department other than the department of law shall be designated as the commissioner thereof, and the commissioner of finance shall be bonded. The head of the department of law shall be known as the attorney general of the Virgin Islands. Members of school boards, which entities of government have been duly organized and established by the government of the Virgin Islands, shall be popularly elected.

(b) Changes after examination from time to time

The Governor shall, from time to time, after complying with the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, examine the organization of the executive branch of the government of the Virgin Islands, and shall make such changes therein, subject to the approval of the legislature, not inconsistent with this chapter, as he determines are necessary to promote effective management and to execute faithfully the purposes of this chapter and the laws of the Virgin Islands.

(c) Appointment of department heads; tenure; removal; powers and duties; appointments to boards, etc.

The heads of the executive departments created by this chapter shall be appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the legislature. Each shall hold office during the continuance in office of the Governor by whom he is appointed and until his successor is appointed and qualified, unless sooner removed by the Governor. Each shall have such powers and duties as may be prescribed by the legislature. The chairman and members of any board, authority, or commission established by the laws of the Virgin Islands shall, if the laws of the Virgin Islands hereafter provide, also be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the legislature, if such board, authority, or commission has quasi-judicial functions: Provided, That no law of the Virgin Islands dealing with the chairmanship, membership, or chairmanship and membership of any such board, authority, or commission, and requiring an appointment or appointments to be made with the advice and consent of the legislature, shall relate to more than one such board, authority, or commission, nor shall it relate to any other legislative matter.

(July 22, 1954, ch. 558, §16, 68 Stat. 504; Pub. L. 85–224, Aug. 30, 1957, 71 Stat. 510; Pub. L. 86–289, §3, Sept. 16, 1959, 73 Stat. 569; Pub. L. 90–496, §8(a), Aug. 23, 1968, 82 Stat. 839.)

Amendments

1968—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 90–496 substituted provisions that members of school boards which have been duly organized by the government of the Virgin Islands be popularly elected for provisions that required the approval of the Secretary of the Interior for the establishment of any new department, agency, or other instrumentality by the Governor or the legislature, unless such department, agency, etc., was required by Federal law for participation in Federal programs.

1959—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 86–289 provided that the head of the department of law should be known as the attorney general of the Virgin Islands.

1957—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 85–224 provided for appointments to boards, authorities or commissions.

Effective Date of 1968 Amendment

Amendment of provisions of section necessary to authorize the holding of an election for Governor and Lieutenant Governor on Nov. 3, 1970, effective Jan. 1, 1970, and all other amendments of provisions of section, unless otherwise expressly provided by Pub. L. 90–496, effective Jan. 4, 1971, see section 16 of Pub. L. 90–496, set out as a note under section 1591 of this title.

§1598. Omitted

Codification

Section, act July 22, 1954, ch. 558, §20(b), 68 Stat. 505, which related to compensation of the Government Secretary, department heads, and staffs of the Governor and Government Secretary, was superseded by section 10 of Pub. L. 90–496, Aug. 23, 1968, 82 Stat. 841, which amended section 1641 of this title. See Codification note set out under section 1641 of this title.

§1599. Transfer of functions from government comptroller for Virgin Islands to Inspector General, Department of the Interior

(a) Functions, powers, and duties transferred

The following functions, powers, and duties heretofore vested in the government comptroller for the Virgin Islands are hereby transferred to the Inspector General, Department of the Interior, for the purpose of establishing an organization which will maintain a satisfactory level of independent audit oversight of the government of the Virgin Islands:

(1) The authority to audit all accounts pertaining to the revenue and receipts of the government of the Virgin Islands, and of funds derived from bond issues, and the authority to audit, in accordance with law and administrative regulations, all expenditures of funds and property pertaining to the government of the Virgin Islands including those pertaining to trust funds held by the government of the Virgin Islands.

(2) The authority to report to the Secretary of the Interior and the Governor of the Virgin Islands all failures to collect amounts due the government, and expenditures of funds or uses of property which are irregular or not pursuant to law.

(b) Scope of authority transferred

The authority granted in paragraph (a) shall extend to all activities of the government of the Virgin Islands, and shall be in addition to the authority conferred upon the Inspector General by the Inspector General Act of 1978 (92 Stat. 1101), as amended.

(c) Transfer of personnel, assets, etc., of office of government comptroller for Virgin Islands to Office of Inspector General, Department of the Interior

In order to carry out the provisions of this section, the personnel, assets, liabilities, contracts, property, records, and unexpended balances of appropriations, authorizations, allocations, and other funds employed, held, used, arising from, available or to be made available, of the office of the government comptroller for the Virgin Islands related to its audit function are hereby transferred to the Office of Inspector General, Department of the Interior.

(July 22, 1954, ch. 558, §17, as added Pub. L. 97–357, title III, §309(b), Oct. 19, 1982, 96 Stat. 1710.)

References in Text

The Inspector General Act of 1978, referred to in subsec. (b), is Pub. L. 95–452, Oct. 12, 1978, 92 Stat. 1101, as amended, which is set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.

Prior Provisions

A prior section 1599, acts July 22, 1954, ch. 558, §17, 68 Stat. 505; Aug. 28, 1958, Pub. L. 85–851, §§4, 5, 72 Stat. 1094, 1095; Mar. 20, 1962, Pub. L. 87–421, 76 Stat. 43; Aug. 23, 1968, Pub. L. 90–496, §9, 82 Stat. 840; Oct. 15, 1977, Pub. L. 95–134, title III, §301(a), 91 Stat. 1162, related to appointment, status, and duties of the government comptroller for the Virgin Islands, prior to repeal by Pub. L. 97–357, §309(b).