April 13-17 Update

Dear Constituents –

Thank you to all of you who are doing your part to flatten the curve of COVID-19 transmission. I am honored to represent the non-profits, municipalities, businesses, and individuals who are so creatively serving the public’s needs during the most difficult weeks of this crisis.  Hope is on the horizon, as the Governor begins to open up the State for business, slowly but surely. You can find the latest guidance for employers and employees working solo or in small, socially distanced teams at www.accd.vermont.gov. Please join me in supporting all of our local businesses, including farmers markets on May 1, as they transition towards gradual operation again.

Please remain vigilant and safe by visiting  www.healthvermont.gov and observing the Vermont Department of Health guidelines to prevent COVID-19 transmission. Additionally, there is a phone line staffed 8am-6pm daily, including weekends, at 802-863-7240 to answer your health-related questions and a new VT Helplink line 802-565-LINK(5465) for substance misuse support. The Department is also encouraging Vermonters who need non-emergency medical attention to call their providers and opt for a teleheath appointment when appropriate. For questions regarding your health insurance, please reach out to the Department of Financial Regulation at dfr.insuranceinfo@vermont.gov.

www.vermont211.org (2-1-1 by phone) remains the best resource for all other basic needs, such as housing, food insecurity, legal, and mental health services.

In regards to Unemployment Insurance, the Governor has given the Department of Labor until Saturday, April 18 to clear the backlog of those who are eligible for payments. If this has not been done, then he has authorized $1200 checks to be disbursed to those individuals beginning Tuesday, April 21.  As for self-employed, independent contractors, sole proprietors, and gig workers who may be eligible for payments under the Federal PUA system, please contact 877-660-7782 for a recorded message that will be updated regularly as to when that program is ready to go online. Your patience is appreciated as these programs are put into place, and you are assured that your claim will be retroactive to March 29.  If you missed any of the DOL Town Halls on Unemployment this week, please go to https://bit.ly/VTLabor-YouTube or alternatively there will be a link on www.labor.vermont.gov .

The Secretary of State is requesting that all voters take a few minutes to verify their voter registration information at https://mvp.vermont.gov . If you have not yet registered to vote and wish to, a link is available on that page to do so.

The full House heard from the Vermont Bankers Association on Friday with an update on the Small Business Association’s Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and the Federal stimulus checks.  As of April 16, both the PPP and the EIDL are out of money, so no new applications are being accepted. Vermont businesses were able to take advantage of these programs at an impressive rate, ranking 3rd in the nation per capita. There is hope that Congress will approve more funding for the PPP; the outlook for the EIDL is not as positive at this point. Individuals who qualify for the Federal Stimulus money should be seeing those direct deposits that began this last week; if you do not file income taxes and/or do not have Direct Deposit set up for your refund, there is a form to fill out on the IRS website to input your banking information in order to get a more timely payment. Any Stimulus checks being mailed could take up to 14 weeks to arrive in your mailbox.

Committee work consisted of completing work on S.333, a bill relating to establishing a moratorium on ejectment and foreclosure proceedings during the COVID-19 emergency and hearing an update from advocates on housing the homeless population during this crisis.

Two evenings were spent on Zoom with Selectboards in Highgate and Franklin listening to their agenda items. A common theme this time of year is road maintenance, and we are all grateful to learn that road crews and maintenance workers will be able to start working again on a limited basis. Both towns are anxiously awaiting word from VTRANS on safety issues with Rtes 120 and 207.

Please contact me with your questions and concerns at lhango@leg.state.vt.us

 

Stay well,

Rep Lisa A Hango
Berkshire-Richford-Franklin-Highgate


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