Legislative Update - 23 February 2024

Dear Constituents –

The pace at the Statehouse is picking up – every Committee has its eye on crossover (March 15 for policy bills and March 22 for money bills) and is taking testimony fast and furiously.  The House Government Ops Committee heard brand-new bills (H.622 EMS, draft expansion of Optometric scope of practice, and recommendations from the Criminal Justice Council) this week – do we expect to pass those, too?? We continue to hear from the same witnesses repeatedly on H.612 miscellaneous amendments to cannabis statutes, miscellaneous amendments to alcoholic beverage statues, and both the State and Municipal Codes of Ethics, each time with changes to the proposed language – my sense is that none of these will be ready for prime time on March 15. The sponsors don’t seem to have vetted their proposals very thoroughly ahead of time. We have briefly touched on budget issues and education finance, which should be the major focus of every committee at the Statehouse this session: trying to solve the issues of how to build more housing, help more Vermonters live independent lives, and take care of the most vulnerable among us, while refraining from making Vermont so unaffordable and so unsafe that everyone who can moves away.

The House Floor saw little action again, passing H.861 an act relating to reimbursement parity for healthcare services delivered in person, by telemedicine, and by audio-only telephone, H.132 an act relating to discrimination based on housing status, and H.745 the Vermont Parentage Act.

Our VT Rural Caucus heard from the sponsor of S.55, which is an act relating to the Open Meeting Law, and Commissioner Danielle Fitzco on the Forest Futures Strategic Roadmap, a look-ahead to where the forest economy can thrive and how to get there. To that end, the Rural Caucus has been talking about Act 250 regulatory reform and how that could positively affect rural Vermont communities.  We are actively engaging with House leadership to put forth an agenda to relax reform where development makes sense and to protect land reasonably while allowing for economic growth, such as we see with forestry and farming-related businesses.

The next few weeks promise to be a roller-coaster ride! If you have questions or concerns, please reach out at [email protected].  It is an honor to serve as your Representative. Stay well,

Rep Lisa Hango, Franklin-5

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