Dear Constituents –
Aside from shoveling out from a generous amount of snow in Montpelier today, which will certainly help our winter tourism industry, members of the General Assembly have been dealing with a copious number of bills that have been introduced . Most notably, Proposal 2, a proposed constitutional amendment clarifying the prohibition on slavery and indentured servitude passed today in the House by a roll call vote of 139-3 in the second of a two-biennium process. Voters will see this amendment on the Statewide November ballot. Most members have returned to the Statehouse this week, which really energizes the building, but there remains a Zoom option strictly for those who have COVID-related reasons to be at home ; after nearly two years at home on Zoom, I am happy to see the Peoples’ House being used again.
Among others, the following bills passed by voice vote this week : H.701 relating to setting cannabis license fees, H.367 perpetual care of cemeteries, and H. 489 miscellaneous health insurance provisions. H.320, a bill that I’ve spoken in opposition of, relating to allowing re-hiring of an employee with whom the employer has reached a settlement of discrimination, passed by a roll call vote of 91-37. Several Joint Resolutions were also adopted. For anyone who wishes to learn more about the bills that are being taken up, please visit the General Assembly website at www.legislature.Vermont.gov , type in the bill number or a keyword ; you may also go to individual committee webpages from there to view what each House or Senate committee is working on, and the daily Calendar and Journal of each Chamber is accessed from the General Assembly home page.
In the House General Committee, our work has been focused on H.477 a bill that would protect an alleged crime victim’s (or their close family member’s) right to take unpaid leave from their place of employment to attend a hearing regarding the alleged crime. We’ve also continued to take testimony on H.273 relating to land access and property ownership, H.329 prohibitions against discrimination, H.387 establishing a Reparations Task Force for the institution of Chattel Slavery, and H.96 establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Task Commission for the eugenics apology Resolution that was passed last year. These are all incredibly complex, time-consuming, and difficult subjects, and it is my hope that they will not be rushed through to meet the crossover date in March or the end of the biennium in May ; they deserve deep, thoughtful discourse and careful consideration, something this Legislature doesn’t seem to have the propensity for.
In special issues caucus news, I attended the Rural Economic Development Caucus and the Tourism Caucus this week. The Vermont National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus held a successful press conference on Wednesday with bi-partisan Caucus and Administration speakers who called for the need to address the fact that Vermont is one of only three states that does not offer any type of military pension tax relief. We Co-Chairs were pleased to receive a press statement released by Governor Scott commending our Caucus for supporting this important issue.
As always, please reach out to me at [email protected]
Rep Lisa A Hango, Berkshire