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]
Rep Lisa Hango, Berkshire