Legislative Update – 07 January 2022
Dear Constituents – Happy New Year!
A new Legislative session has begun, but the reality for many legislators is that we continue to work in the off-session; assisting constituents, collaborating with special issues caucuses, and seeking information. After adjourning on May 21, the General Assembly met via Zoom on June 23 for a veto session and December 8 for a fiscal briefing, and we held in-person voting at the Statehouse on November 21 and January 4. The House General (my committee) and House Human Services Committees also held an in-person joint hearing on October 18 to discuss housing and related supportive services. Aside from those official meetings, there were special issues caucus meetings, economic development tours (I participated in a forest economy tour of Franklin and Lamoille Counties), and local events relating to Lake Carmi, the Franklin County State Airport, workforce development at Kaytec (with the Cold Hollow Career Center), and Moving Richford Forward.
The Vermont National Guard Caucus, of which I am a Co-Chair, re-branded itself to the VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus, to better reflect our mission of being a liaison between the military and veterans, families, employers, and legislators. We welcomed partner organizations into our Caucus, including the Governors’ Veterans Advisory Council, the VT Veterans Administration, the National Guard Family Support Group, and the USS Vermont Submarine Support Group; they continue to provide us with information that assists us in understanding the legislature’s role with Vermont’s military organizations. We also held our first Public Hearing on Veterans Affairs on October 28, where we heard overwhelmingly that Vermont needs to be competitive with other states by exempting military retirement pay from taxation, something we have been advocating for as a Caucus throughout our first year. We also heard from individuals that there need to be more mental health supports for veterans, which is being echoed throughout our country in schools, hospitals, and community settings.
The General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee spent this week taking testimony on several employment anti-discrimination, collective bargaining, and alcohol bills, and we are working on our response to the Budget Adjustment Act letter, which is due on January 11 and contains important affordable housing language.
The General Assembly saw limited floor time, passing routine Resolutions and fast-tracking S.172 giving municipalities the option to hold their Annual Meetings remotely again in 2022.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected].
Rep Lisa A Hango