Dear Constituents –
The first week of the 2023-24 Legislative biennium is behind us, and it was a busy one in Montpelier! This personally was my first time experiencing the pomp and circumstance of the swearing in of Constitutional officers and the entire General Assembly in person, having been appointed after the fact four years ago and legislating remotely two years ago. It was a momentous occasion, and I am honored to have been a part of it.
For those of you who have followed Statehouse goings-on in the past, you will find that much has changed this year: committee room locations are moved, jurisdiction of committees has evolved (as an example, there is no House Natural Resources, Fish & Wildlife Committee; these policy areas have been rolled into other committees), and members have their legislative lounge workspace back after three years of pandemic relocation to empty committee rooms. Many of us were assigned to new committees based on these changes and the need to balance the number of new members with returning members on each committee. My new committee assignment is House Government Operations & Military Affairs, which reflects its new policy jurisdiction to include Military Affairs and the Department of Liquor and Lottery. The General Assembly website lists all standing committees, a description of their areas of jurisdiction, and their membership. You can find email addresses for all members on this site, as well.
Government Operations & Military Affairs (Gov Ops & MA) is chaired by Franklin County delegate Rep Mike McCarthy and vice chaired by Rep Matt Birong – Vergennes. I have worked closely with Rep Birong on our previous committee, and he is one of my co-chairs on the tri-partisan VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus, and I am pleased to be able to work with him and Rep McCarthy on our new committee. We have not begun our committee work, but I know we have a full slate of hearings scheduled for next week. You can find Committee agendas on the General Assembly webpage for each committee, which will give you information on hearing times, witnesses, and upcoming committee votes, as well as supporting documents concerning the topics at hand. All committee hearings are live-streamed from the General Assembly website, and you can find those recordings on YouTube for review at a later time.
On the House Floor, we had several trainings and Joint Sessions with the Senate to prepare us for our work this biennium, mostly dealing with House Rules and procedural measures. Twenty bills were introduced and referred to committees. If you recall from my bill explanations in prior years, a bill will now be “on the wall” in a committee until House leadership determines that it should be taken off the wall for discussion and testimony.
To support my Republican Caucus, I applied for and was granted two UVM Legislative Interns who receive 5 credit hours for completing coursework and a 200-hour internship with a Legislator. The interns will be participating both in-person and remotely by attending committee hearings, doing research, and submitting reports to the Caucus.
In addition to co-chairing the VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus with Rep Birong (D) and Rep Laura Sibilia (I- Dover), I was elected to co-chair the VT Rural Caucus with Rep Sibilia and Rep Katherine Sims (D-Craftsbury). Our caucus has over fifty members and takes up any issue that affects rural Vermonters. If there is something you feel is important to you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected]
Thank you again for the honor of your support and the opportunity to represent you in the Vermont General Assembly.
Stay well – Rep Lisa A Hango, Franklin-5