Dear Constituents –
As the final weeks of the legislation draw to a close, bills are passing through committees and in the chambers at a much faster pace, and changes to them are being drafted even faster than they can be printed. For the most up to date information, please go to the Vermont General Assembly website and click on House and Senate calendars, or specific committees for agendas, bills, and amendment drafts. If you know the bill number, you can also type it into the bill tracker on the General Assembly website, and you can scroll down to see the latest action taken on that bill.
Typical of this time of year, I begin to question the speed at which some legislation passes while other bills sit for an entire session on the wall. I have explained in this space in the past that it is legislative leadership’s sole discretion to take up bills or not, and when, provided it meets crossover in order to pass that session – at least this is how it works in the House ; the Senate has its own version of how late in the session a bill can be taken up. The Senate Rules Committee can decide if a bill is prioritized even if it didn’t meet the House crossover deadline. This session, I have seen evidence of this happening more frequently than I have in the past, and I am not in favor of using this method to advance bills. For instance, Senate Rules allowed S.39, an act relating to compensation and benefits for members of the Vermont General Assembly, to be debated on the Senate floor beginning on April 11, and it finally came over from the Senate to my committee, Government Operations on April 19. Recall that policy crossover in the House was on March 17. We did not hear a bill introduction for this bill until May 2, and we are in the process of passing that bill out of committee as of this writing. A few of my fellow committee members joined me in objecting to the compressed timeframe , but the majority were more than OK with passing a bill that lacked extensive testimony and time to digest the content.
Because legislation is moving so fast and being changed so dramatically in these last couple of weeks, I plan to bring you more news in next week’s report. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected]. It is an honor to serve.
Rep Lisa A Hango, Franklin-5