Dear Constituents –
Crossover week at the Statehouse marks when all bills must « cross over » to the other chamber in order to have a chance of survival for the rest of this session. It began with a snowy, early morning meeting of the VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus, which I co-Chair, along with a Democrat and an Independent Representative. We heard from the Adjutant General about the expansion of the Provost Marshal position to full-time (necessary so traditional drill members can access this office), we discussed our frustrations that neither Chamber’s tax committees have taken up the military survivors’ benefits and pension tax exemption bills (S.118/H.255), despite overwhelming bipartisan support, and heard an impressive presentation from CAPT Anne Turner on her role commanding a military base in Qatar during the first wave of evacuation of Kabul (Afghanistan).
On the House floor, despite it being Crossover, we passed relatively few bills compared to other years ; bills of note that were passed : H.461 miscellaneous changes to education law, which contained the expansion of the National Guard Tuition Benefit Program that I proposed in H.99 ; H.175, modernizing the Children and Family Council Prevention Programs ; H.465, amending regional emergency management committee’s meeting quorum requirement ; H.466, a technical corrections bill for the 2023 legislative session ; and three Interstate Compact bills : H.62 for Counseling services, H.77 for licensed Physical Therapists, and H.86, for audiologists and speech-language pathologists, making it simpler for those profressionals to move into Vermont and continue their licensure (think military spouses who move frequently as an example), as well as allowing for interstate telemedicine work.
In committee (Government Operations & Military Affairs), much of what we worked on pertains to the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council. We have several draft bills that are in the works, and I have some concerns about each of them that are gradually being addressed, as I question the witness list. We also passed H.291, creating a Cybersecurity Council ; H.125, an act relating to boards and commissions ; H.178, commissioning Department of Corrections personnel as notaries public ; and H.270, miscellaneous amendments to the adult-use and medical cannabis programs, which I was opposed to on the grounds that several of the proposals were either not well-vetted or they were strongly opposed to by various medical and public health prevention advocates.
Thursday brought the weekly meeting of the Rural Caucus, of which I am also a tri-partisan co-Chair, where we had a presentation on Tourism in Vermont, as well as an overview of H.263, relating to emergency medical services. I am a co-sponsor on this important bill that starts the conversation on how to modernize and sustain our essential EMS infrastructure.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your questions and concerns at [email protected]
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the Statehouse.
Rep Lisa A Hango, Franklin-5