Lisa Hango


  • 2022 Legislative Session Voting Record

    As reported by the Ethan Allen Institute:


    Override Clean Heat Carbon Tax Veto (H.715). Failed 99-51 (100 to override) on May 10, 2022. The Clean Heat Standard (CHS) is a complicated, de facto carbon tax intended to hide the price increases on fossil fuels. If heating fuel sellers do not generate enough “clean heat credits” themselves through weatherization and green appliance installations, they must purchase credits generated by others to stay in business. Those voting YES believe the CHS will help Vermont achieve its GWSA 2025 & 2030 greenhouse gas reduction mandates. House members voting YES trust the PUC to implement the Clean Heat Standard without needing further legislative approval. Those voting NO believe the CHS would lead to extreme hardship for the 200,000+ fossil fuel heating Vermont households and numerous small businesses supplying and relying on fossil fuels. The technology to replace fossil fuel heating systems is not currently scalable to satisfy the GWSA, due to labor and supply restraints.

    HANGO - NO

    Impose Rental Registration with Housing Programs (S.210). Passed 88-54 on April 22, 2022. The flagship provision of S.210 is a statewide registry of rental properties. Landlords can only rent housing if they pay $35 to register it and may not rent units that fail inspection (complaint basis). 7 full-time bureaucrats would administer the program, with salaries initially paid by federal ARPA money. Units rented out for fewer than 90 days are exempt. S.210 also creates two housing programs, designed to expand Vermont’s rental market and increase the homeownership rate. Those voting YES believe S.210 will increase the quantity, affordability and safety of Vermont’s rental housing market. Those voting NO were against the rental registry portion of S.210. They believe increasing housing regulations will reduce Vermont’s housing supply, raise rent on properties, shrink Vermont’s tourism industry, and reduce tax intake from short-term rentals. This could represent the first step toward state control of rental property.

    HANGO - NO

    Restrict Aggressive Political Speech and Firearm Rights (S.265). Passed 89-32 on April 12, 2022. The underlying language of S.265 would allow for the legal punishment of citizens who are aggressive toward public officials. Citizens could be given a misdemeanor (a year or less in prison) or even a felony (up to two years in prison). A felony charge could result in temporary or permanent seizure of firearms. S.265 also makes it more difficult for a defendant’s legal defense to claim that the defendant was unable to carry out their threat. Those voting YES believe that conflicts between citizens and school board members and other public official across the country warrants increased protections for elected officials from threats of violence, above those of ordinary citizens. Those voting NO believe S.265 infringes on the Constitutional rights to free speech, to petition government and Second Amendment firearm rights. S.265 could potentially result in citizens being punished for criticism (not threats) of certain groups, which is clearly protected First Amendment speech.

    HANGO - NO

    Add 27 days for “Default Proceed” Firearm Background Checks (Notte Amendment of S.30). Passed on January 27, 2022 by a vote of 97-49. This would lengthen the time some Vermont firearm applications take from 3 to 30 days. Those voting YES believe this amended bill could “potentially save lives,” by preventing dangerous police retrievals of guns for those who ultimately fail federal background checks. Those voting NO point to the rights to firearms protected in the Vermont and US Constitutions. They note that failed background checks have a shelf life of 30 days, meaning the applicant could be caught in an endless cycle.

    HANGO - NO

    Protect Doctor-Patient Privacy during Firearm Disputes (Donahue Motion of S.30). Failed on January 27, 2022 by a vote of 55-90. S.30 would add various gun restrictions, as voted upon above. The Donahue Motion would send S.30 and the Notte amendment to the House Healthcare Committee for further review. Those voting YES believe that greater deliberation was needed for discovering how S.30 could impact Vermonter’s doctor/patient relationships, if healthcare workers become legally obligated to report patients, limiting their firearm rights. Those voting NO believe that no such analysis was necessary.

    HANGO - YES

    Stricter Act 250 Development Process (S.234). Passed 99-43 on May 3, 2022. S.234 reorganizes the Act 250 approval process, which restricts economic development. The new permitting process adds “undue adverse impact on forest blocks (or) connecting habitat” to the list of reasons an Act 250 permit could be rejected. S.234 also offers favorable tax treatment to areas that already have economic development. The permit fees would fund the salaries of a new “Environmental Review Board,” overseeing Act 250 permits. Those voting YES believe updating Act 250 will reduce Vermont’s carbon emissions, preserve natural habitat for wildlife and funnel development into downtown areas. Those voting NO believe S.234 will make getting Act 250 permit approval more difficult, costly and uncertain. Housing and business development will fall further behind.

    HANGO - NO

    Mandate Conserving Half of Vermont Land from Development (H.606).Passed 98-42 on March 15, 2022. H.606 mandates conserving 30% of Vermont land by 2030, and 50% by 2050. Vermont would need to conserve another 6-8% of its private and public lands by 2030, and more than double its land conservation by 2050. Conserved land would gain "permanent protection" of a "natural state" of land, or could by subject to "long-term forest management." It is unclear what would happen if Vermont failed to meet these mandates, though conservation groups could conceivably sue Vermont for failing to address climate change quickly enough under the 2020 GWSA. Those voting YES believe greater conservation of land under H.606 will reduce the damage that climate change will have on Vermont ecosystems. Those voting NO believe creating new mandates will only increase the cost of living and intensify Vermont’s housing crisis, if less land is available for residential and commercial development. A land grab against private landowners is possible.

    HANGO - NO

    Enact Contractor Registration & 3 Housing Programs (S.226). Passed 103-42 on May 6, 2022. S.226 would enact a Residential Contractors Registry, requiring contractors to pay $75-250 annually to work legally in state, with an option of becoming certified in specific areas of contracting. S.226 also seeks to increase Vermont’s housing stock and make existing homes more affordable, by spending $20 million in federal ARPA funding on three housing programs. Those voting YES believe S.226 will protect Vermonters from contractor fraud, while the programs will alleviate Vermont’s housing crisis. Those voting NO opposed the contractor registry portion of the bill, believing home improvement fraud is rare enough that government intrusion is unnecessary. When fraud does happen, Vermont government has been reluctant to use the tools available to address it. Contractors are likely to raise their rates to cover the registry charge and added paperwork needed to do their jobs.

    HANGO - NO

    Create ‘Environmental Rights’ to Defend (S.148). Passed 109-31 on May 3, 2022. S.148 would acknowledge the environmental disparities minorities face in Vermont and to give those minorities more chances to live and work in the safest and least polluted areas of Vermont. A new 17-member Environmental Justice Advisory Council and an 11-member Interagency Environmental Justice Committee would make recommendations to the Legislature and Vermont government agencies for integrating environmental justice principles into State policy. Those voting YES argued that minorities live and work in environmentally undesirable locations relative to white Vermonters. Those voting NO are wary of adding 28 individuals to Vermont’s bureaucracy (insulated from Vermont citizen objections), who will likely make costly recommendations, with no shortage of ‘injustices’ to alleviate.

    HANGO - NO

    Expand Police Reporting, Study Misconduct & Interrogation (S.250).Passed 99-48 on May 11, 2022. First, S.250 expands obligated police collection of demographic data from roadside stops to any police encounter with citizens. Second, it creates a database of pending police infractions against individual officers. Finally, a study of appropriate police interrogation is authorized. Those voting YES believe more substantial data collection on police encounters and oversight of police interrogation techniques are needed. Those voting NO believe that expanding police encounter data will overburden exhausted police with more paperwork, exhibiting a distrust in the police that makes recruitment and retention difficult. The interrogation study begins with a bias against police already, having reached a predetermined conclusion that future legislation is needed to correct police misconduct.

    HANGO - NO

    Make Town Withdrawal from School Districts More Difficult (H.727).Passed 98-39 on March 17, 2022. H.727 encourages multi-town school district foundation and discourages town school withdrawal from school districts. Current Vermont statute allows town citizens to bring school withdrawal from a district to a vote. H.727 would require more paperwork to be completed before the proposed withdrawal goes to vote, and gives the State Board of Education a final say in that withdrawal process. Those voting YES believe school withdrawal requires more serious deliberation than is currently the case, and want to give Vermont veto authority in such decisions. Those voting NO objected to the added paperwork that is especially onerous for smaller towns hoping to separate from their district. H.727 takes away local decision-making power and centralizes it in the State Board of Education.

    HANGO - NO

    Protect Doctor-Patient Privacy during Firearm Disputes (Donahue Motion of S.30). Failed on January 27, 2022 by a vote of 55-90. S.30 would add various gun restrictions, as voted upon above. The Donahue Motion would send S.30 and the Notte amendment to the House Healthcare Committee for further review. Those voting YES believe that greater deliberation was needed for discovering how S.30 could impact Vermonter’s doctor/patient relationships, if healthcare workers become legally obligated to report patients, limiting their firearm rights. Those voting NO believe that no such analysis was necessary.

    HANGO - YES

    Ensure Assisted Suicide is Voluntary (S.74). Failed 41-98 on April 13, 2022. S.74 would expand Vermont’s euthanasia law to allow terminally ill individuals to order the drugs they need to kill themselves exclusively with video telemedicine. The Donahue Amendment of S.74 would safeguard against the possibility of coercion by insisting that one of the patient’s appointments be in-person. Those voting YES believe eliminating the in-person requirement could make it much easier for those with authority over the individual to coerce the patient into ending their life before they would like to. Those voting NO believe many terminally ill Vermonters are not well enough to visit a healthcare provider, making video telemedicine the logical option.

    HANGO - YES

    Guarantee "Personal Reproductive Autonomy" (Proposal 5). Passed on February 8, 2022 by a vote of 107-41. Proposal 5 would amend Vermont’s Constitution, adding “that an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course and shall not be denied or infringed unless justified by a compelling State interest achieved by the least restrictive means.” Those voting YES argued that a constitutional amendment is necessary to protect abortion rights in case Roe v. Wade is overturned. Those voting NO may or may not be in favor of greater abortion protections, but argued that the vaguely worded language in Proposal 5 that does not mention ‘abortion’ is so ambiguous that any number of judicial interpretations could be reached.

    HANGO - NO


  • Workforce Development Announcement

    June 21, 2022 –
    Today I attended Governor Phil Scott’s press conference at Vermont Precision Tools in Swanton VT where he highlighted S.11 (Act 183), a substantial workforce development bill. A transcript of the Governor’s statements follows below. Among many other provisions, this bill contains language from H.332, a bipartisan bill that I co-sponsored to enable loan forgiveness to Physician Assistants if they commit to working in Vermont. With the current healthcare workforce shortage coupled with an aging population (Vermont is one of the oldest states in the nation), the lack of healthcare providers has reached crisis proportions, leaving Vermonters with long wait times across all specialties and regions of the state. As doctors (MDs and DOs) age out of their practices, there are fewer Vermonters being accepted to medical schools to replace them, so the need for NPs and PAs is expanding. The original intent of the language in Act 183 was to include only Nurse Practitioners (NPs) because Vermont does not have a school for Physician Assistant Studies, leaving behind those students who don’t follow a traditional nursing path to becoming a higher level healthcare provider. My co-sponsor and I saw a need to include PAs in this loan forgiveness/scholarship model as a way to bring diversity and numbers to Vermont’s healthcare system by incentivizing those students who have studied out of state to return home to Vermont or to move to Vermont for the first time. We successfully advocated for this language and are pleased that it was included in S.11’s final iteration.

    The Governor also called out the passage of H.517, an expansion of the National Guard Tuition Benefits Program that I worked closely on with my Senate and House colleagues; this bill provides a necessary recruitment incentive for our Guard to attract members from across the country, who will be contributing to Vermont employers and community organizations for the length of their careers.

    Programs like these will energize and stimulate workforce growth, as students take advantage of a multitude of educational opportunities and put them to use in Vermont’s economy made possible by bills like S.11 and H.517.

    It is an honor to represent your interests in the Legislature and to work together with my colleagues to affect change that will benefit all Vermonters.
    Stay well,
    Lisa


    TRANSCRIPT: GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT OUTLINES NEW WORKFORCE INITIATIVES TO FILL AVAILABLE JOBS AND CREATE MORE OPPORTUNITY VERMONTERS

    Swanton, Vt. – At his weekly media briefing, Governor Phil Scott highlighted initiatives and investments passed this year to help train, retain and recruit more workers to address Vermont’s workforce shortage.

    The Governor was joined by state leaders from the Department of Labor, Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Agency of Human Services and the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) to discuss newly passed legislation that will help grow and strengthen the workforce, including regional workforce expansion program, loan forgiveness and incentives to retain nurses, and investments in higher education and adult training programs.

    Vermont Precision Tools hosted the event and the company’s president, Monica Greene, also shared details on the company’s efforts to train, retain and recruit employees.

    More details can be found in the below transcript of Governor Scott’s remarks or by clicking here to view the press conference.

    Governor Scott: Thank you all for being here and thanks to Vermont Precision Tools for hosting us.

    We’re here today to talk about a familiar theme – one that I’ve focused on since my very first day in office, and that’s workforce.

    At the start of each legislative session, I outline my Administration’s priorities for the year. I’m sure most of you have heard me talk about our strategic priorities before: growing the economy; making Vermont more affordable; and protecting the most vulnerable.

    To accomplish each of these goals, we keep coming back to our Achilles’ heel: The lack of workers in our workforce.

    Now, as you might remember, during my first term as governor I spoke a lot about three numbers: 6-3-1. Each of them representing concerning trends we were facing – and this was long before the pandemic. On average, we were seeing six fewer workers in our workforce, three fewer kids in our K-12 schools, and one child born to addiction, every single day.

    We were beginning to make progress, but then along came a once-in-a-century pandemic that had ripple effects far beyond public health.

    If you talk to any employer – and you’ll hear from a great one here at Vermont Precision Tools – finding people to fill the good jobs they have available is a challenge.

    That’s why, with record state surpluses and all the federal funding, I thought it was so important to invest in areas I knew would make a difference.

    All the proposals we put forward were tied together to address this issue: To have more workers, we need more housing. To have more housing, we need water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure. To support workers and give them reasons to come here, we need broadband, childcare, and safe, healthy and thriving communities. And to keep costs down and protect the environment, we need to invest in things like weatherization.

    But we also need workforce training and development programs, which is why we’re here today.

    My team worked closely with the Legislature, in particular the economic development and health care committees, to pass S.11, now Act 183, which includes major investments to expand and strengthen our workforce. There were also important workforce investments in the budget for higher education and VSAC to make getting the needed skills more affordable. And I want to mention H.518, now Act 172, which gives more financial assistance for Guard members to continue their education.

    It was great to see support for so many initiatives that will help move the needle on our workforce shortage – though we all know we need to do more.

    I want to acknowledge all the members of the House and Senate here today, and in particular, the Chair of House Economic Development Mike Marcotte for your close collaboration and commitment to getting these initiatives passed.

    Members of my team will speak more about some of the specifics in a moment, but you’ll hear about ways employers and potential employees can better connect; support for refugees entering the workforce; and incentives to recruit workers to Vermont. And while we have shortages in every sector, we know healthcare is a big one, so S.11 included tools specifically for healthcare workers and nurses. We’ll also hear from Scott Giles of VSAC which received funding to help more students access post-secondary education and training, and a forgivable loan program to keep more of them here after they graduate.

    This is just a handful if initiatives that were passed this session, and we’ll highlight more as these programs get up and running.

    But no matter what government does, this work is not possible without strong leadership and partnership from the private sector. Employers finding new ways to attract, train and retain workers is essential to our success.

    Vermont Precision Tools is not just our host today but a great example of an employer who is running their own training program. It’s now my pleasure to turn the podium over to Monica Greene, president of Vermont Precision Tools, to talk more about the work the company does, as well as some of the challenges they face because of our workforce shortage.

     


  • Legislative Update - 13 May 2022

    Dear Constituents –
    The Legislature officially adjourned Thursday evening, having passed a record $8.3 billion budget containing historic investments in broadband, housing, infrastructure, workforce and economic development, healthcare, tourism, and the creative sector. We also passed bills containing modest tax relief, education funding, investments in childcare, food security, the trades, changes to Act 250 permitting in downtowns and village centers, provisions for the forest products industry, and many other initiatives that we can be proud of. For a complete listing, please see the General Assembly website www.legislature.vermont.gov and click on the Current House Journal and the Current Senate Journal to view individual bills. While I remained disappointed in provisions passed for military retirees and regulations for residential building contractors, I understand the importance of compromise and working to advance legislation that will help all Vermonters, and my votes reflect my sentiments.
    A true highlight of the week was being present at the ceremony to recognize the newest National Guard State Partnership Program with Austria and introducing our honorees to the General Assembly.
    It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve Franklin-5 in the Vermont House, and I am pleased to announce that I will be running for re-election in the Fall in our two-seat district with Rep Wayne Laroche of Franklin. For more information, please visit www.hangoforhouse.com. I look to forward seeing many of you over the Summer and Fall campaign season.
    Thank you and stay well,
    Rep Lisa A Hango, Berkshire
    Franklin-5


  • Legislative Update - 6 May 2022

    Dear Constituents –
    The end of the legislative session is in sight – next week looks to be our last, and then the campaign season will begin in earnest. Most of what we did this week was vote to concur with or amend bills being returned from the Senate. In Committee, we dealt with our two housing bills, S.210 and S.226, both of which I’ve repeatedly voted against due to the government overreach that is exemplified in the registries that the bills set up. Each bill had several amendments that we took up and voted on, none of which made the bills significantly more palatable. Housing is a basic need for all Vermonters, but more government regulations will not build more homes. We were also intoduced to a Resolution, J.R.H.22, that directs the President and Congress of the United States to spearhead a global effort to prevent nuclear war and opposing the basing of nuclear weapons in Vermont. It is unclear to me if this will make it out of my Committee, but I will not be voting to do so.
    The General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee received H.517, expanding the National Guard Tuition Benefits Program, back with amendments from Senate Education. They concurred with the expansion of the program, which I’ve written about in past news blogs, and added several sections : Education of military families – providing in-State tuition benefits for the spouse and dependent child of any person who is a member of the US Armed Forces and stationed in this State pursuant to military orders ; Purple Star Campus Designation – enabling the Agency of Education to designate a school district as a Purple Star Campus if the school district applies and qualifies for the designation, which would recognize a school that is committed to providing a welcoming environment for military-connected children ; Eligibility for Election to Serve as Adjutant and Inspector General – provides qualifications to be eligible to be selected as the Adjutant General of the Vermont National Guard, where there were none in statute . This is a bill I am particularly proud of, as Co-Chair of the VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus, having worked closely with the Senate Education and Senate Government Operations Committees to include this language for the benefit of Vermont’s military families and our National Guard. The bill as amended passed through the Senate committee of jurisdiction, on the Senate floor, the House committee of jurisdiction, and on the House floor unanimously.
    On the House floor this week, we took up numerous bills, predominantly amendments from the Senate, sending legislation back to them with concurrence or with further amendment, or to a Committee of Conference if there appears to be no easy path forward in Committee. These bills are too numerous to list, but if you wish to view them, please go to www.legislature.vermont.gov, and click on each day’s House Journal.
    On Thursday evening, the House recessed so members were able to attend the Statehouse unveiling ceremony of the portrait of Rep Alexander Twilight of Brownington, who was the first person of African American descent to serve in the Vermont General Assembly and to graduate from a US college.
    Please reach out to me at [email protected] with any questions or concerns.
    Stay well,
    Rep Lisa A Hango, Berkshire
    Franklin-5


  • Legislative Update - 22 April 2022

    Dear Constituents –
    Spring is in the air, and it’s apparent by the pace of the Legislature. Amendments to bills are flying through committees, and committees are playing the « hurry up and wait » game. On the House floor, we passed : H.447, amendments to the Charter for the City of Springfield ; H.731, technical corrections for the 2022 legislative session ; S.206, planning and support for individuals and families impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease and related disorders ; S.162, collective bargaining rights for teachers ; S.197, provisions for mental health supports ; and H.704, request to send the Budget to a Committee of Conference. Also on the floor is the problematic S.210, relating to rental housing health and safety and affordable housing, which contains the Rental Housing Registry, and once divided, only passed the second reading on an 88-54 vote across party lines. This sends a strong signal that many members have heard from constituents that this portion of the bill has concerning issues and should not be considered a mandate. Several bills were postponed for a number of days so committees could do more work on them.
    In the House General Committee, we spent a good portion of our time discussing amendments to S.210 and S.226, another housing bill that I’ve referred to over in recent updates that has several grave concerns.
    At the REDWnG caucus, members were updated on bills relevant to the rural economy ; several amendments were proposed and discussed.
    Adjournment is projected to be May 6, but with the budget in a Committee of Conference, as well as leadership-identified priority bills like H.159 (economic development), H.703 (workforce development), S.287 (Pupil Weighting), S.210, and S.226 still in various stages of passage, the date seems optimistic to me.
    It is an honor to serve as your Representative. Please reach out to me with your concerns at
    [email protected]
    Stay well,
    Rep Lisa A Hango
    Franklin-5


  • Legislative Update - 15 April 2022

    Dear Constituents –
    In the Vermont Statehouse, we continue to take up bills sent from the other Chamber, adding and subtracting language in a manner that I’ve not seen previously. My opinion of this « sausage-making », as it’s called, is that it’s confusing to the lay person, haphazard, and a result of poor time-management. Committees have unlimited time to take testimony on bills that are on other Committee’s walls, yet when it comes time to vote out a bill with multiple, complex sections, we are told that there « hasn’t been time to fully vet this, but it’s OK to vote it out », because we will « work on it later ». I object to this process, and I’ve been vocal about it since the first day I sat in House General. This week, we put out two very complicated, convoluted housing bills (S.210 and S.226) that in the past few days had sections re-arranged and added on pertaining to fair housing practices, tax sales, racial and social equity in land access and property ownership, and changes to the previously vetoed Residential Construction Contractor Registry.
    On the House Floor, the schedule was light, as most of the work was being done in Committee. Favorable bills passed include : H.741, changes to the Charter of the City of St Albans ; S.171, adoption of State Code of Ethics ; S.163, State court petitions for vulnerable noncitizen youth ; H.629, access to adoption records; and H.461, excluding income of asylum seekers and refugees from household income. Some of these may sound familiar, as they previously passed the House and came back to us with further amendment from the Senate. Bills that I voted against this week are : S.265, expanding criminal threats to include threats to third persons ; S.74, modifications to Vermont’s patient choice at end of life laws ; S.254, recovering damages for Article 11 violations ; and H.708, amendments to the Charter of the City of Burlington. If you would like further information on any of these bills, you may use the bill tracker feature on the Vermont General Assembly website, www.legislature.Vermont.gov
    On Tuesday, I chaired the VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus meeting. We hosted members of the VT National Guard who briefed us on the State Partnership Program with Austria and the upcoming visit by the Austrian delegation for the signing of the Partnership on May 11. I also updated members on the progress of legislation that is pertinent to the military, including H.517 (National Guard Tuition Benefit Program and Qualifications for the Adjutant General) and S.53 (containing tax exemptions for military pensions and survivors benefits). There is talk of the Legislature adjourning early this year, around May 6, so there is an urgency to pass priority legislation ASAP, and I am following it very closely on behalf of the military caucus.
    It is my honor to serve my constituents in the Vermont House. Please reach out to me with your concerns at [email protected]
    Stay well,
    Rep Lisa A Hango, Franklin-5


  • Legislative Update - 8 April 2022

    Dear Constituents –
    This week, Committees got to work on the task of reading their counterpart’s bills, hearing testimony, and deciding which pieces to keep, concur with, scrap, or amend. My Committee, the General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee, did a deep dive into the affordable housing and rental safety bills sent to us by our colleagues in the Senate, S.210 and S.226. We also continued to hear testimony on H.329, amending prohibitions against discrimination, and H.625, protections against eviction, foreclosure, and tax sales, both of which are rumored to be contenders to add in to the already Christmas tree-like housing bills.
    We began our week hearing from the National Guard on their annual Sexual Assault and Harassment Report to the Legislature, noting that much progress has been made in recent years on changing the culture of reporting within the Guard, highlighting our Vermont Guard as an example to the rest of the country for forward-thinking leadership and zero tolerance.
    Several of the Franklin County delegation had the pleasure of meeting with MVU students and advisors representing the OVX and VKAT groups, who were on the Statehouse steps in the rain advocating for our awareness around smoking and vaping use in school-aged youth.
    On the House Floor, several bills were re-committed to committees, and a handful of bills were passed to the Senate. Of interest to readers : S.113, establishing a cause of action for medical monitoring expense ; S.72, Interstate Compact on placement of children ; S.239, enrollment in Medicare supplemental insurance policies ; H.744, amendment to the Charter of the City of Burlington ; S.184, defense of others and justifiable homicide, and S.265, expanding criminal threatening to include threats to third parties.
    This last portion of the biennium will be busy, with legislators wanting to wrap up their priorities before heading to the campaign trail ; we’ve been told to expect long days working into the evening as we attempt to keep legislation at a reasonable and practical standard.
    It is an honor to serve as your Representative in the Statehouse. Please reach out to me with comments at [email protected]
    Stay well,
    Rep Lisa A Hango, Berkshire
    Franklin-5


  • Legislative Update - 1 April 2022

    Dear Constituents –
    This week in the Statehouse was the calm after the storm. After long hours for the past two weeks, action on the House floor and in Committee was relatively light. We began by acknowledging Vietnam Veterans Day on Tuesday, recognizing those who served in the conflict. Action on H.444, a Charter Change for the City of Barre, dealing with the number and type of flags that can be displayed, was postponed until next week to give the Committee of Jurisdiction more time to review amendments made by the Senate. A Committee of Conference was named for S.53, which is a tax bill dealing with a variety of issues, not the least of which are the military pension and survivors benefits tax exemptions. The VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus that I Co-Chair submitted a letter on Monday to House leadership and the Administration voicing that we do not support the tax relief package as written, and expressing our hope that the C of C understands the importance of full exemption as a way to honor those who have served. Bills that passed this week include H.R.23, a Resolution updating the House Sexual Harassment policy, and S.183, relating to midpoint probation review.
    In Committee, we continue to take testimony on H.329, an act relating to amending the prohibitions against discrimination. This bill gets more convoluted every week, and I will lead my Caucus in voting against what I see as government overreach and restrictive dictates to the Judiciary. We also continued to hear from witnesses on the Senate’s flagship housing bills, S.210 and S.226, both of which contain unpalatable poison pills and ACT 250 « reforms » that may not be seen as real reforms. The House General Committee is taking up H.631, that defines hard cider, and H.638, pertaining to direct to consumer spirits shipping licenses, both of which have tax and revenue implications for the State.
    At the Rural Economic Development Working Group, discussion centered around their omnibus bill, which contains language deemed favorable to rural businesses, including our logging industry ; language in this bill can be seen in several bills scattered throughout the legislature, all in varying stages. Other important legislation for REDWnG is S.287, the Pupil Weighting System bill, which is now in House Ways and Means. Stay tuned for possible changes on this legislation that would impact property taxes as this bill moves forward.
    Please reach out to me at [email protected] with your concerns.
    Stay well,
    Rep Lisa A Hango, Berkshire
    Franklin-5


  • Legislative Update - 25 March 2022

    Legislative Update – 25 March 2022

    Dear Constituents –
    This week was one of long Floor times in the House, as we worked through all of the bills passed last week that affected revenue of the State. Prior to starting our marathon sessions on the Floor that extended well into the evening, 34 new members of the House of Representatives who had never formally been seated participated in a Seating Ceremony ; these included members who have been recently appointed as well as those who had been elected during the pandemic. The first bill up for consideration was H.96, establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission that came out of the House General Committee on a party line 8-2-1 vote, with one member being absent. The objection to this bill is not only the breadth of the inquiry but also the cost to establish a professional office that will investigate claims of systemic injustices perpetuated by the State – the Joint Fiscal Office estimates that the total cost will start at $4.5M over the four year lifespan of the Commission. Other bills that were debated and passed include : H.492, changing the structure of the Natural Resources Board ; H.635, secondary enforcement of minor traffic offenses ; H.720, system of care for individuals with developmental disabilities; H.464, miscellaneous changes to the Reach Up program ; H.512, modernization of land records and notarial acts ; H.624 supporting creative sector businesses and cultural organizations ; H.728 opioid overdose response services ; H.410, Artificial Intelligence Commission ; H.553, eligibility of domestic partners for reimbursement from the victims compensation fund ; H.661, licensure of mental health professionals ; H.729, miscellaneous judiciary procedures ; H.730, alcoholic beverages and the Department of Liquor and Lottery ; H.738 miscellaneous changes to Vermont tax laws ; H.293 establishment of the State Youth Council ; H.718, dissolution of Colchester Fire District #1 ; H.353 Pharmacy Benefit Management. Of these bills, I opposed H.492 on the grounds that forming a new Board would take ACT 250 appeals hearings away from the Environmental Division of the Court System and hand them over to the new Board of appointed officials. In addition, the House passed four other bills necessary for the operation of the State : H.737, the « Yield Bill » an act relating to homestead property tax yields and non-homestead property tax rates ; H.736, the Transportation Bill ; H.740, the Budget « Big Bill » ; and H. 739, the Capital Budget Bill. H.737 contained problematic language reserving $36M for Universal School Meals, and many members expressed frustration that money was being set aside for potential policy that hasn’t yet passed from the Senate to the House, when that money could be used for tax relief or as investment in our CTEs (Career Technical Education Centers). H.740, although containing provisions for many worthy programs, did not meet the Governor’s economic development requests, nor did it fully take advantage of ARPA funding for housing needs, particularly in the « missing middle », or offer any tax relief to retirees or individuals working in high-demand, lower-paying, essential professions. Finally, the House passed a comprehensive workforce development bill, H.730, that House Commerce worked diligently on, taking testimony on where best to fund programs that would retain and attract working-age Vermonters. Changes to the CTEs and various scholarship, internship, work-based, and experiential learning opportunities for students of all ages in the trades and medical field are highlights of this bill.
    Committee time was curtailed due to the long hours spent on the House Floor, with House General taking testimony on H.329, a pervasively problematic anti-discrimination bill, and H.638, an act relating to direct to consumer spirits shipping licenses.
    Most special interest caucuses were also postponed this week as a result of time needed to attend to bills on the Floor. It is an honor to serve as your Representative, and when bills that I co-sponsored pieces of, such as the Workforce Development bill (H.703) and the Creative Futures Act (H.624), are overwhelmingly passed, I take pride in the work we do together to ensure the economic viability of Vermont.
    Please feel welcome to reach out to me at [email protected]

    Stay well,

    Rep Lisa Hango, Berkshire

     


  • Legislative Update - 18 March 2022

    Dear Constituents –
    This week in the House marked the end of crossover for all policy bills being reviewed by their respective money committees and brought to the House Floor. Bills passed by the House include: H.729, miscellaneous judiciary procedures; H.730, alcoholic beverages and Department of Liquor and Lottery; H.279, miscellaneous changes to Department of Vermont Health Access; H.244, Natural Organic Reduction; H.500, prohibiting sale of certain mercury lamps; H.523, reducing hydrofluorocarbon emissions; H.606, community resilience and biodiversity; H.655, telehealth licensure; H.255 incremental hearing aid converage; H.722, re-apportionment of the House of Representatives; H.287, medical debt protection; H.399, incarceration terms for primary caregivers of dependent children; H.475, classification of criminal offenses; H.548, miscellaneous cannabis establishment procedures; H.551 prohibiting racially and religiously restrictive covenants and deeds; H.482, Petroleum Cleanup Fund; H.715, Clean Heat Standard; H.629, access to adoption records; H.727, exploration, formation, and organization of school districts; H.731, technical corrections to Vermont State Statutes Annotated; H.465, boards and commissions; H.518 municipal fuel switching; S.4, procedures involving firearms; H.533, civil forfeiture; H.711, Opioid Settlement Advisory Committee and Opioid Abatement Fund; H.716, miscellaneous education law changes; H.487, secure facility for justice-involved youth; H.534, sealing criminal history records; H.505, reclassification of drug offenses; H.626, sale, use, or application of neonicotinoid pesticides; H.546, bureau of racial justice statistics; H.720, system of care for individuals with developmental disabilities. Despite voting with a block of my colleagues in opposition to some of these bills (including H.606, H.548, H.715, H.727, S.4, H.534, H.505, H.546), all of these bills are on their way to the Senate for further review. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for further information on any of the bills that remain alive.
    The General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee continues to work on H.329, a bill I consider to be an egregious expansion of discrimination and harassment statutes, and I will continue to insist that it be seen by both House Judiciary and House Education. We took testimony on H.638, direct to consumer spirits shipping licenses, H.640, tenant rights to purchase apartment buildings, and H.625, protection against eviction, foreclosure, and tax sales. We also started the long process of marking up the Senate affordable housing and rental safety bills, S. 226 and S.210, so you will be hearing more about those in the coming weeks.
    On March 16, we had the pleasure of welcoming a contingent from the USS VT naval submarine to the Statehouse on their first-ever namesake State visit. I had the honor of escorting them to meet the Governor, the Lt Governor, the Senate Pro-Tem, and the Speaker of the House, as well as hearing a Resolution read in recognition of their visit and introducing them on the House Floor. Included in this visit were the Commanding Officer, the Chief of the Boat, ten Sailors, the Ship’s Sponsor, the President of the Support Group, and two midshipmen and a naval officer from the Norwich University submarine program. The group left Vermont after a three-day visit with several treasures (maple syrup for the entire crew of the submarine, part of a historic silver tea service from the original USS VT, and paintings of Vermont covered bridges, as well as other works by local artisans that will be installed on the boat). Heartfelt appreciation goes out to former Representative, the Honorable Albert Perry, who played an instrumental and tireless role in arranging this visit, long-delayed by the pandemic.
    At the end of the week, Franklin County Reps played host to a local Boy Scout troop with members and leaders from St. Albans, Swanton, Sheldon, Highgate, and Franklin. A highlight of the visit was seeing these young people seated around a conference table in the Governor’s ceremonial office, taking in the awe-inspiring architecture and artwork, and listening in on a floor debate. It has been rewarding to welcome constituents back to the Statehouse after two years of silence in the chambers and corridors.
    It is truly an honor to serve as your Representative. Please reach out to me with concerns and comments at [email protected]

    Stay well,

    Rep Lisa A Hango, Berkshire

    Franklin-5


  • Legislative Update - 11 March 2022

     

    Dear Constituents –

    This was crossover week in the House, which means that all bills had to be passed out of policy committees to stay alive. Needless to say, there are many bills (out of 700+ introduced this biennium) that won’t make it into law, but I’ll provide a sampling of those that passed this week in my Committee and on the House Floor. Any bills that affect the revenue of the State or carry an appropriation will go on to a money committee and have their own crossover deadline of next Friday.

     

    The House General Committee worked to pass a number of bills this week: H.244, natural organic reduction; H.517, an expansion of the VT National Guard Tuition Benefit Program; H.96 a bill establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission that I voted against because of the potential $3.5M estimated appropriation it will require; and an omnibus alcoholic beverages bill adding Ready to Drink (RTD) spirits beverages that is as yet un-numbered.  A problematic bill that didn’t make it through my Committee was H.329, a broadly defined anti-discrimination bill that would have far-reaching implications on all aspects of employment, education, housing, and public accommodations.

     

    On the House Floor, we voted out: H.C.R.108 declaring March 8-11 Early Childhood Week; H.679 the Committee of Conference Budget Adjustment Act report; H.717 Humanitarian aid to the Ukraine ($1 for every Vermonter plus certain liquor receipts), H.517 expansion of the VT National Guard Tuition Benefit Program that I reported favorably on the House Floor; H.680 obtaining a marriage license in any town in Vermont; as well as two bills that I voted against: H.697 allowing reserve forest land to be included in the current use program and H.115 an expansion of household hazardous waste disposal requirements.  Both of these bills would put onerous regulations on landowners and households.

     

    This week, I co-chaired the VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus where we received a Global Threats briefing from the National Guard and re-iterated our support for military pension and survivors benefits tax exemptions; the Senate currently has legislation (S.53) on their Floor including provisions that are not entirely satisfactory to the Administration or the Caucus. I also attended the Rural Economic Development Working Group and the first post-COVID meeting of the Legislative Sportsman’s Caucus.

     

    It is an honor to serve as your Representative in the Vermont House.  Please feel welcome to reach out to me at [email protected]

     

    Stay well,

    Rep Lisa A Hango, Berkshire

    Franklin-5


  • Town Meeting 2022 Legislative Update

                                                   2022 Town Meeting Legislative Update

     

    Dear Constituents –

     

    I regret that I was unable to be in each of my four towns for your Annual Meetings due to scheduling conflicts. This is the second year of a biennium, and the pace has been even faster than usual, as the Legislature works to continue its response to COVID challenges while prioritizing social and environmental equity legislation. While most of the House has returned to work in person, the Senate and legislative staff remains largely remote, which presents a number of challenges to effecting change. By March 8, we anticipate all members and staff will return in person, and our work will (hopefully) be back to « normal » for the first time in two full years.

     

    The budget process has taken an unusual turn in that the typically uneventful Budget Adjustment Act has been committed to a Committee of Conference.  There remain enough differences between the House, Senate, and Administration’s priorities and uses of ARPA vs General Fund monies that it was determined that the best way forward was to send this important legislation for a more in-depth conversation.

     

    One of the hottest topics in the Legislature that affects all voters is re-districting. The map recommended by the Legislative Apportionment Board (LAB) was presented to the Committee of Jurisdiction, House Government Operations, in November, after BCA input was given ; the Committee declined to take up that map and put forth their own map, which went out to BCAs in late January. All towns should have had the opportunity to weigh in with their preferences in the first two weeks of February.  The Government Ops Committee is currently working their way through the statewide maps, and I am pleased to report that, thanks to your input, our Franklin-5 District is slated to remain as we’ve known it into the next decade.  With respect to our District, please note that Paul Martin (Franklin) tendered his resignation from the House on February 10, and by February 15, the Governor appointed and seated Rep Wayne Laroche of Franklin. I would like to take this opportunity to wish Paul all the best and to congratulate and thank Wayne for taking on this obligation to serve Vermonters. It is crucial that we are appropriately represented in Montpelier, and I am grateful that we are fully represented and that our District will remain untouched by re-districting.

     

    The all-important Crossover Date is March 11 for policy bills and March 18 for money bills this session. We continue to work on bills that broaden anti-discriminatory practices in employment (H.320/329), update alcohol statutes (H.178/590), allow for new methods for disposition of human remains (H.244), and address demands for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (H.96), reparations for historical systemic discriminations (H.387), and promote racial and social equity to land access and property ownership (H.273). Bills of note that have already passed the House include : setting Cannabis licensing fees (H.701) ;  a child tax credit bill (H.510) that didn’t consider military retirees, childcare workers, expanded Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs), or student loan debt ; a gun control bill (S.30) ; and a residential contractor registration bill (H.157). The status of bills can be found by logging into the General Assembly website www.legislature.Vermont.gov and typing in a keyword or bill number, which will give you the bill status, as well as its progress through the committee and chambers, including any roll call votes.  You may also find Committee webpages on this homepage ; by clicking on the Committee, you will be able to see the agenda, committee members and email addresses, and any bills or testimony relating to those bills that are on their virtual wall.

     

    Also passed this session were two Proposals of Constitutional Amendment : Prop 2, which eliminated slavery of all persons, regardless of age ; prior to this, the Vermont Constitution stated only that slavery was eliminated after age 21. The other amendment, Prop 5, the Reproductive Liberty Amendment, allows for persons of any age or gender to determine their own reproductive needs and to seek care from any provider in the State of Vermont at any time.  This proposed amendment goes over and beyond H.157 of 2019 that enshrined Vermonters’ right to abortion services in statute and broadens the reach to all reproductive procedures. The process of a Constitutional Amendment is threefold : In one biennium, the amendment originates in the Senate, and if it receives a 2/3 vote, goes on to the House for a simple majority vote. In the next biennium, the Senate and then the House must again vote with a simple majority after a public hearing is held.  The language of the amendment then goes to the voters in November, so please take the time to read these two Proposals and become informed. Thank you all for your petitions on these serious issues.

     

    I am a regular attendee at the Rural Economic Development Working Group (REDWnG) and the Tourism Caucus, and I am the Co-Chair of the VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus.  Each of these special issues caucuses is a powerful voice within the Legislature and seeks to effect change.  Some of the issues we’ve worked on this session include the VT Creative Futures Act, the On-Farm Accessory Business Act, and a personal income tax exemption for military retirement pay and survivors’ benefits.  Although House and Senate leadership declined to take up the tax exemption, the House General, Housing, and  Military Affairs Committee unanimously passed H.517 that expands scholarship opportunities for National Guard service.

    It is an honor and a pleasure to serve you in the Statehouse. Please feel welcome to reach out to me with your concerns at [email protected]

     

    Stay well,

    Rep Lisa A Hango, Berkshire

    Franklin-5

    House Committee on General, Housing, and Military Affairs

    Co-Chair, VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus


  • Legislative Update - 18 February 2022

    Legislative Update – 18 February 2022

     

    Dear Constituents –

    Our week in Montpelier began with the seating of Rep Wayne Laroche of Franklin, replacing former Rep Paul Martin who resigned late last week.  I want to thank Rep Laroche for stepping up to go back into service to Vermonters after three years of retirement and nine years as Commissioner of VT Fish & Wildlife during the Douglas Administration.

    The House General Committee started off the week with a presentation by the Commissioner of the Department of Liquor and Lottery on the new class of alcoholic beverages called low alcohol spirits, or « canned cocktails ». We are taking up several alcohol bills to update statutes according to changes in the field and new products. We also did a walk-through of several National Guard-related bills : updates to the National Guard tuition benefit program (H.517) ; minimum qualifications of the Adjutant General (H.207/691) ; and minimum qualifications and appointment of the Adjutant General (H.295). We continued work on an anti-discrimination bill (H.329) and establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (H.96), as well as taking testimony on the social equity in land access and home ownership bill (H.273) and hearing from the Rights and Democracy (RADVT) advocacy group on their legislative priorities.

    On the House Floor, several bills passed: Changes to the Charter of the Town of Springfield (H.447) ; amending birth certificates to reflect gender identity (H.628) ; retrieval and disposal of wild animals (H.411) ; exempting property owned by Vermont-recognized North American tribes from property tax (H.556) ; sent the Budget Adjustment Act to a Committee of Conference to further discuss the differences between the Administration, the House, and the Senate on the use of ARPA funds and General Fund monies ; and the residential contractor registration bill (H.157) was postponed until April 20.

    The only special interest caucus I was able to attend this week was the REDWnG rural working group, where we heard from the Chair of House Natural Resources, Fish & Wildlife about the bills that they are prioritizing to meet the crossover deadline of March 11.

    I look forward to attending or posting an additional update in the next week for your Annual Meetings, so please look for that at your in-person meeting or on your town website for virtual meetings. Please remember that voting this year is in person at your local town polling place on Tuesday, March 1, and you may also call your Town Clerk to request an absentee ballot.

    It is an honor to serve as your State Representative. Please reach out to me at [email protected]

    Stay well,

    Rep Lisa Hango, Berkshire

    Franklin-5


  • Legislative Update - 11 February 2022

    Dear Constituents –

    My week’s work in the Statehouse was focused on supporting amendments to H.510, a tax credit bill that the House Ways & Means Committee sponsored by a 7-4-0 committee vote along party lines.  The majority party’s bill, which touted a tax break for individuals and families with children earning up to $200,000 annually  was narrowly focused on this population and excluded many others who need it the most, highlighted in a bill with language proposed by the Scott Administration. That bill, H.527, resides on the wall of House Ways and Means. H.510 ignored approximately 4000 military retirees, 21,000 nurses and childcare workers, and 80,000 Vermonters who struggle making ends meet who would have benefitted from a boost to Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC), social security tax exemptions, student loan interest deductions, and childcare and dependent care tax credits, as outlined in H.527. Both the LeClair and Sibilia amendments did not go forward, and H.527 remains on the wall.  H.510 passed the House and has moved on to the Senate. The VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus, of which I am a Co-Chair, sent a letter to the Senate leadership and Finance Committee calling for action on the military pension and survivors benefits tax exemption.

    Other action on the House floor was dominated by the passage of Proposal 5, the Reproductive Liberty Amendment, with impassioned debate on both sides.  I again thank all of my constituents for your postcards, phone calls, and emails – I heard overwhelmingly to vote no, and I did so knowing that I represented your voices , as well as my own beliefs, unequivocally with my vote. Additionally, I voted in the affirmative to expand employee  leave for crime victims (H.477), and against S. 30, an expansion of gun control.

    The House General Committee this week held an unprecedented 2-day training by the world-renowned International Center for Transistional Justice on Truth & Reconciliation Commissions and Reparations Task Forces. The leaders of the training are global experts who have worked with South African apartheid, Canadian Indian Schools Reconciliation Canada, Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation, and many other high-level crimes against humanity worldwide. Our Committee is taking continued testimony on H.96, a Truth and Reconciliation bill, as well as a number of other bills that can be found on the General, Housing, and Military Affairs webpage pertaining to reparations and reconciliations.

    The VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus heard from Honorary Commanders, who are community leaders embedded in companies throughout Vermont and who provide a liaison between the National Guard and employers. The REDWnG and Tourism Caucuses continue to discuss the progress of bills such as the Creative Futures Act and the On-Farm Accessory Business Act.

    It is with regret that I note that my District-mate, Paul Martin of Franklin, has resigned his seat, and I wish him the best.  We are hopeful that his replacement will be appointed in an expedient manner so Franklin-5 has appropriate representation. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected]

    Stay well,

    Rep Lisa Hango, Berkshire

    Franklin-5

     


  • Legislative Update - 4 February 2022

    Dear Constituents –

    Aside from shoveling out from a  generous amount of snow in Montpelier today, which will certainly help our winter tourism industry, members of the General Assembly have been dealing with a copious number of bills that have been introduced .  Most notably, Proposal 2, a proposed constitutional amendment clarifying the prohibition on slavery and indentured servitude passed today in the House by a roll call vote of 139-3 in the second of a two-biennium process. Voters will see this amendment on the Statewide November ballot.  Most members have returned to the Statehouse this week, which really energizes the building, but there remains a Zoom option strictly for those who have COVID-related reasons to be at home ; after nearly two years at home on Zoom, I am happy to see the Peoples’ House being used again.

    Among others, the following bills passed by voice vote this week : H.701 relating to setting cannabis license fees, H.367 perpetual care of cemeteries, and H. 489 miscellaneous health insurance provisions. H.320, a bill that I’ve spoken in opposition of, relating to allowing re-hiring of an employee with whom the employer has reached a settlement of discrimination, passed by a roll call vote of 91-37.  Several Joint Resolutions were also adopted.  For anyone who wishes to learn more about the bills that are being taken up, please visit the General Assembly website at www.legislature.Vermont.gov , type in the bill number or a keyword ; you may also go to individual committee webpages from there to view what each House or Senate committee is working on, and the daily Calendar and Journal of each Chamber is accessed from the General Assembly home page.

    In the House General Committee, our work has been focused on H.477 a bill that would protect an alleged crime victim’s (or their close family member’s) right to take unpaid leave from their place of employment to attend a hearing regarding the alleged crime. We’ve also continued to take testimony on H.273 relating to land access and property ownership, H.329 prohibitions against discrimination, H.387 establishing a Reparations Task Force for the institution of Chattel Slavery, and H.96 establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Task Commission for the eugenics apology Resolution that was passed last year. These are all incredibly complex, time-consuming, and difficult subjects, and it is my hope that they will not be rushed through to meet the crossover date in March or the end of the biennium in May ; they deserve deep, thoughtful discourse and careful consideration, something this Legislature doesn’t seem to have the propensity for.

    In special issues caucus news, I attended the Rural Economic Development Caucus and the Tourism Caucus this week.  The Vermont National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus held a successful press conference on Wednesday with bi-partisan Caucus and Administration speakers who called for the need to address the fact that Vermont is one of only three states that does not offer any type of military pension tax relief. We Co-Chairs were pleased to receive a press statement released by Governor Scott commending our Caucus for supporting this important issue.

    As always, please reach out to me at [email protected]

    Stay well,

    Rep Lisa A Hango, Berkshire

    Franklin-5


  • Legislative Update - 28 January 2022

    Dear Constituents –

    This week at the Statehouse was packed  – the House General Committee heard multiple bill introductions each day ; ranging from cemetery ownership  to collective bargaining provisions, employment discrimination policies, tenant rights, a full slate of alcohol related bills, and Native American/Abenaki affairs. The Committee passed out H.320, an act that prohibits agreements that prevent an employee from working for the employer following the settlement of a discrimination claim (8-3-0, along party lines) ; I voted against this bill, along with two of my colleagues, on the basis of serious concerns that we hadn’t heard enough testimony from employers on this legislation.

    On the House floor, we passed : H.654, extending flexibility for COVID-19 regulations in healthcare, including provisions for out of state professionals and telehealth services ; H.462, a miscellaneous Dept of Health bill ; H.466, a bill relating to surface water withdrawals and inter basin transfers, which I did not feel was in the best interests of our region, and S.30, a gun control bill that did not have the support of 49 tri-partisan members of the General Assembly, including myself.

    I was only able to attend two special issues caucuses due to scheduling conflicts this week : Rural Economic Development, where we discussed the Working Lands Enterprise Program, and the Vermont Creative Network ; and the Tourism Caucus, which focused on workforce development in the hospitality industry. Many of these issues affect our rural economy, and I am pleased to be learning more about the programs that can help Vermonters recover from the pandemic and move forward in a positive way.

    The House Appropriations Committee continues their important work taking testimony on the Governor’s FY’23 proposed Budget, and it is interesting to observe the process in a year where not only does the State have surplus funds, but the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) also is infusing the coffers .

    I truly appreciate every one of the postcards I’ve received on Proposal 5 (the Reproductive Liberty Amendment – a vaguely worded proposal to amend the Vermont Constitution), and my vote will reflect the voice of my constituents and my beliefs - a resounding no.

    Please continue to reach out to me with questions and concerns at [email protected]

    Stay well,

    Representative Lisa A Hango, Berkshire

    Franklin-5


  • Legislative Update - 21 January 2022

    Legislative Update – 21 January 2022

    Dear Constituents –

    This week marked the first full week that Legislators were invited back to the Statehouse to work in 22 months. Members who had a COVID-related reason to stay at home were accommodated via Zoom, so a hybrid model similar to what the Senate is using was in effect. It was important to me to be back in person to be able to fully execute my responsibility to my constituents.  Meeting other members in person throughout the day is crucial to the dynamics of being a Legislator.  In just one week, I was able to mediate discussion between members who had opposing views, engage in spontaneous conversations with various parties who wanted to weigh in on the issue, and seek last-minute information on bills before us. On the flip side, having the hybrid option provided a recorded livestream for me to review in the evenings that I was made aware of – after all, we can only be in one committee meeting at a time !

    On Tuesday, we heard the Governor’s Budget Address for the upcoming year, and we were able to pass the Budget Adjustment Act (updating funding provided by the previous year’s budget) by Friday. This was a much faster process than in previous years, but there were important recommendations included in the BAA that can be acted on immediately by the passage of the bill, H.679. Additionally on the House floor, we dealt with bills held over from last session; H.157 relating to registration of residential contractors and S.78 relating to binding arbitration for members of the Judiciary. Both of these bills were problematic to me in that they were not requested by the populations they affect, and both are adding more layers of bureaucracy.

    In the House General Committee, we focused on Homelessness Awareness, holding a joint hearing with House Human Services and a vigil for our homeless population on Wednesday. Legislation related to this issue includes H.93 the Homelessness Bill of Rights.  We also took up several bills relating to discrimation (H.320, H.329), land access/ownership equity (H.273), and employment leave (H.477). We heard updates and testimony from affordable housing advocates and organizations, as well as the National Guard on employment rights and tuition benefits.

    I attended special issues caucuses throughout the week with the Older Vermonters Caucus, the Rural Economic Development Working Group, the Tourism Caucus, and the Womens Caucus. A myriad of topics were covered in each of these meetings, but one I found particularly relevant to our area was testimony from the operators of Jay Peak and Smugglers Notch ski areas regarding their challenges with the lack of Canadian tourists and the pressures on the housing market and childcare facilities that are driving a shortage of employees. Both of these attractions are important economic drivers to the economy of northern Vermont, and we will do all that we can within the Legislature to support their needs.

    Please reach out at me at [email protected]  It is an honor to serve you at the Statehouse.

    Stay well,

    Rep Lisa A Hango, Berkshire

    Franklin-5

    Co-Chair, VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus

     


  • Legislative Update - 14 January 2022

    Legislative Update – 14 January 2022

     

    Dear Constituents –

    Our second week back in the virtual Legislature featured a packed schedule – Committees worked on their responses to the Budget Adjustment memo, heard introductions of new bills, and took testimony on bills from last year. The House General Committee was thoughtful in our response to the ask for housing funding in the budget, and I hope that our comments will be helpful to the Appropriations Committee that has the task of approving those requests. New bills that were introduced are on human rights issues, and holdover bills include several on discrimination and employment practices.  We will continue to take testimony on the ones that are prioritized by House leadership. We also discussed two bills from last session that were on the House calendar and postponed one legislative day, S.78 a collective bargaining bill for the Judiciary, and H.157 the requirement for registration of residential contractors.  Both are scheduled for a vote by the full House next week.

    On the House floor, we voted out two additional bills relating to temporary elections measures S.222 and S.223. These bills give your municipalities additional options to hold their annual meetings and handle candidate petitions and school ballots in a safe manner during the continuing Omicron wave. Floor time on Friday was devoted to much discussion about a House Rules Resolution H.R.14 that will enable us to safely return in person to the Statehouse on the 18th and H.589, the first of two re-districting bills that we will take up. In regards to H.589, many Boards of Civil Authority have already weighed in on a map that was sent out and approved by the Legislative Apportionment Board in November; the House Government Operations Committee chose to not use that “majority” map for their bill and instead used the “alternate” map.  This bill appears to be moving forward, and the Committee has assured the Legislature that BOTH maps will be sent out to BCA’s for the second round, with comments due back by February 15, so please be on the lookout for those maps and be sure to send feedback if you serve on your community’s BCA if it is passed. This is a once in a decade process, and it directly affects how your district is represented in the Legislature for the next ten years.

    Special issues Caucuses this week included:  the National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus, of which I am a Co-Chair, with VTNG Family Programs discussing support for deployed units returning home and the Secretary of State’s Office on the challenges of voting from remote locations overseas; the Older Vermonters Caucus on Medicaid reimbursement rates and the need for more Adult Day programs; the REDWnG Rural development working group on an omnibus bill that encompasses many of the needs we heard on a forest economy tour this Fall; and the Tourism Caucus on how marketing and pandemic relief dollars are being spent.  Due to the House floor session running overtime, the Women’s Caucus did not meet this week.

    Please continue to reach out with concerns and questions. [email protected]

    Stay well,

    Rep Lisa A Hango, Berkshire

    Franklin-5


  • Legislative Update - 7 January 2022

                                         Legislative Update – 07 January 2022

    Dear Constituents – Happy New Year!

    A new Legislative session has begun, but the reality for many legislators is that we continue to work in the off-session; assisting constituents, collaborating with special issues caucuses, and seeking information. After adjourning on May 21, the General Assembly met via Zoom on June 23 for a veto session and December 8 for a fiscal briefing, and we held in-person voting at the Statehouse on November 21 and January 4. The House General (my committee) and House Human Services Committees also held an in-person joint hearing on October 18 to discuss housing and related supportive services. Aside from those official meetings, there were special issues caucus meetings, economic development tours (I participated in a forest economy tour of Franklin and Lamoille Counties), and local events relating to Lake Carmi, the Franklin County State Airport, workforce development at Kaytec (with the Cold Hollow Career Center), and Moving Richford Forward.

    The Vermont National Guard Caucus, of which I am a Co-Chair, re-branded itself to the VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus, to better reflect our mission of being a liaison between the military and veterans, families, employers, and legislators. We welcomed partner organizations into our Caucus, including the Governors’ Veterans Advisory Council, the VT Veterans Administration, the National Guard Family Support Group, and the USS Vermont Submarine Support Group; they continue to provide us with information that assists us in understanding the legislature’s role with Vermont’s military organizations. We also held our first Public Hearing on Veterans Affairs on October 28, where we heard overwhelmingly that Vermont needs to be competitive with other states by exempting military retirement pay from taxation, something we have been advocating for as a Caucus throughout our first year. We also heard from individuals that there need to be more mental health supports for veterans, which is being echoed throughout our country in schools, hospitals, and community settings.

    The General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee spent this week taking testimony on several employment anti-discrimination, collective bargaining, and alcohol bills, and we are working on our response to the Budget Adjustment Act letter, which is due on January 11 and contains important affordable housing language.

    The General Assembly saw limited floor time, passing routine Resolutions and fast-tracking S.172 giving municipalities the option to hold their Annual Meetings remotely again in 2022.

    Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected]

    Stay well,

    Rep Lisa A Hango