Dear Constituents –
This week at the Statehouse was packed – the House General Committee heard multiple bill introductions each day ; ranging from cemetery ownership to collective bargaining provisions, employment discrimination policies, tenant rights, a full slate of alcohol related bills, and Native American/Abenaki affairs. The Committee passed out H.320, an act that prohibits agreements that prevent an employee from working for the employer following the settlement of a discrimination claim (8-3-0, along party lines) ; I voted against this bill, along with two of my colleagues, on the basis of serious concerns that we hadn’t heard enough testimony from employers on this legislation.
On the House floor, we passed : H.654, extending flexibility for COVID-19 regulations in healthcare, including provisions for out of state professionals and telehealth services ; H.462, a miscellaneous Dept of Health bill ; H.466, a bill relating to surface water withdrawals and inter basin transfers, which I did not feel was in the best interests of our region, and S.30, a gun control bill that did not have the support of 49 tri-partisan members of the General Assembly, including myself.
I was only able to attend two special issues caucuses due to scheduling conflicts this week : Rural Economic Development, where we discussed the Working Lands Enterprise Program, and the Vermont Creative Network ; and the Tourism Caucus, which focused on workforce development in the hospitality industry. Many of these issues affect our rural economy, and I am pleased to be learning more about the programs that can help Vermonters recover from the pandemic and move forward in a positive way.
The House Appropriations Committee continues their important work taking testimony on the Governor’s FY’23 proposed Budget, and it is interesting to observe the process in a year where not only does the State have surplus funds, but the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) also is infusing the coffers .
I truly appreciate every one of the postcards I’ve received on Proposal 5 (the Reproductive Liberty Amendment – a vaguely worded proposal to amend the Vermont Constitution), and my vote will reflect the voice of my constituents and my beliefs - a resounding no.
Please continue to reach out to me with questions and concerns at [email protected]
Representative Lisa A Hango, Berkshire