Dear Constituents –
For the first time since arriving in Montpelier earlier this month, I feel like we’ve finally gotten into a routine, and the pace has slowed down enough to catch our collective breath…
The focus of the Legislature is on getting the Budget Adjustment Act (BAA) out of the House Appropriations Committee, so it can pass through the House and on to the Senate. In Vermont, we pass a balanced budget every Spring according to statute, and every January, the Administration proposes adjustments to that budget, based on actual expenditures and funds left in various accounts. It is the job of the Appropriations Committee to sift through those proposals and various requests from outside groups to best utilize the remaining funds. In order to do so, the Committee needs to take input from every committee of jurisdiction whose purview would be affected by those adjustments. My committee, for instance, weighed in on the progress at the Agency of Digital Services on technology upgrades for both the Department of Labor and the Judiciary and the rural administrative capacity initiative to assist towns that I’ve written about previously in this letter. I can assure you that the Appropriations members are working diligently to protect the interests of all Vermonters.
Aside from weighing in on the BAA, my House Government Operations & Military Affairs Committee has spent some time learning about the Offices of the Vermont State Treasurer, the Attorney General, the Agency of Administration’s Racial Equity Office, and the Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s Office. We have also begun a deep dive into the workings of the Cannabis Control Board and the world of Sports Betting, both of which could potentially be sources of revenue for the State. I look forward to learning more and hearing constituent feedback on both of these issues.
The House Floor was very quiet this week, with bills being introduced up to H.124 for the session thus far. I have had a few relevant bills introduced and sent to committees of jurisdiction: H.11 requiring private insurers to cover the cost of epinephrine auto-injectors with no cost-sharing; H.26 a housing and subsistence tax exemption for members of the National Guard on State Active Duty; and H.99 a Tuition Benefit program expansion for the National Guard. I will continue to keep constituents informed about these and other bills that I am following closely. We also had our annual legislative ethics training during a House floor session Thursday.
The VT Rural Caucus met on Thursday morning and summarized the results of member voting for the Rural Omnibus Bill that will be forthcoming and sponsored by many on this special issues Caucus. On Friday, H.124 an act relating to promoting rural economic development capacity, of which I am a co-sponsor, was released to committee. Other bills that I have signed onto in are in the housing and regulatory reform arenas.
I will continue to make connections and offer suggestions across the aisle to help build the best possible legislation for my rural district in an environment where I hold a profound minority political status.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected] It is an honor to serve!
Rep Lisa A Hango