Legislative Update - 2 February 2024

Dear Constituents –

At the Statehouse: This week brought more bill introductions in our committees and very little action on the House Floor. Committee Chairs are trying to hear from sponsors of as many of the almost 900 bills that have been introduced as they have time for. Based on whether they think the bill will have traction to last the session, they will then take the bill off the wall, and the committee will hear testimony from various witnesses and subject matter experts. If there are bills that constituents have an interest in, you are encouraged to reach out to the Chair and Committee Assistant of that committee to ask to submit written or oral testimony. This information is found on the General Assembly website, on each committee’s webpage. Examples of bills of interest from the House Government Operations and Military Affairs Committee: siting of outdoor cannabis cultivation, cannabis special events permits, miscellaneous amendments to cannabis statutes, municipal and state codes of ethics, and amendments to statutes relating to the Office of Professional Regulation. Committees also spend much of their time listening to summaries of reports mandated in previous legislative sessions.  This week, we heard from the Vermont Veterans Home on how their facility in Southern Vermont is faring during this time of healthcare worker shortages and nursing home closures (I am happy to report that they are doing very well!).

On the House Floor, we passed one bill of significance, H.363, an act relating to prohibiting discrimination based on certain hair types and styles.  This bill takes language from the national CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural hair) Act and was passed out overwhelmingly by a 132-5 roll call vote. You may notice that some of the roll call votes don’t add up to 150 – there are times when representatives are absent from the Floor, and these names, along with the yeas and nays, may be found on the General Assembly website after typing in the bill number and clicking on “Roll Call Votes”.

The VT National Guard completed their four-part series of presentations on the mission and vision of the Guard.  These recordings may be found on the General Assembly website under “Announcements”.  The depth and breadth of what this organization does for the State of Vermont is profound, and we are grateful for their service.

This week’s Rural Caucus meeting focused on the health of our rural hospitals. We heard from several CEOs around the State, and their presentations were starkly realistic:  they painted a picture of people living in hospitals because there is nowhere else in the community for them to live; patients with mental health challenges who need specialized treatment yet have no physical symptoms; transportation challenges on weekends and after-hours being met by EMT services that should be responding to emergencies. It is an honor to serve our rural communities.

Reach out at [email protected].

Stay well,

Rep Lisa Hango

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