Dear Constituents –
Rural Vermont is certainly in the spotlight! This week in the Statehouse, the buzz was all about rural capacity and how we can put human capital to work to ensure in an efficient and effective way to make sure the remaining federal funds reach the neediest of communities in a timely manner before the rapidly approaching deadline of Dec 2026. The work of many folks on the VT Rural Caucus and around the Statehouse has yielded a rural administrative capacity bill that should be introduced next week, as well as a comprehensive rural omnibus bill dealing with many issues particular to rural life that is in the works. Through collaborative, tri-partisan efforts, these bills and others like them seek to highlight the plight of many rural towns with respect to overwhelming public safety, infrastructure, and housing needs. All of the bills being introduced have a long road ahead of them as they move through the committee process, but I am encouraged to see so many legislators and advocates willing to work together for the common good of their collective communities.
In committee, several new bills were introduced by their sponsors, including one to return to mailing out general election ballots only to those voters who request them (H.23), sponsored by Rep Larry Labor. The House Government Operations & Military Affairs Committee received a Pensions 101 briefing by the Joint Fiscal Office, a subject area new to several of us, and an introduction to the operations of the Department of Liquor and Lottery and the Agency of Digital Services, new to our committee jurisdiction, the Department of Public Safety, the Vermont Judiciary, and the Cannabis Control Board, all within our purview.
The House Floor was relatively quiet, with the introduction of new bills being referred to committees of jurisdiction, such as H.66 Paid Family Leave, H.68 a housing bill that I signed onto, and H.77 a bill establishing a Physical Therapy Interstate Compact, to name a few. We voted to pass H.48 an update to an act relating to diversion and expungement and H.1 an act relating to legislative oversight for case management for individuals with developmental disabilities. As a reminder, all bills can be entered by number into the legislative bill tracker tool on the Vermont General Assembly website if you are interested in following their progress.
Friday marked the Governor’s Budget Address and continued to highlight the needs that rural communities are facing. Much of what is proposed uses one-time surpluses for seed money to make investments in key economic drivers. You can access the text of the Governor’s speech in multiple media outlets, and I encourage you to read about these investments in roads, water projects, working lands, brownfields, clean energy, health care and dental care stabilization, substance use prevention, mental health services, fair and impartial policing, housing, homelessness prevention, childcare access, trades training, the Vermont State College System, internships, scholarships for critical occupations, and more.
The takeaway for all of us, elected officials and citizens, is what does this budget mean for your family and your town?
It is an honor to represent your interests in the Statehouse. Please reach out to me at [email protected]
Rep Lisa A Hango, Franklin-5