Legislative Update - Adjournment 2024

Dear Constituents -

I will be seeking re-election to the House of Representatives in October.  It is an honor to represent my constituents in Richford, Berkshire, Franklin, and Highgate.

The Legislature adjourned at 2am Saturday after passing a staggering number of bills, many “half baked”, in the final hours, despite having had many months to get them right. As we end this 2023-24 biennium, I reflect back on our work, thinking about the legislation that passed, and my role in that process. We began this session with great hopes for a bill that I sponsored which would allow for the simpler, faster build-out of substantially more housing units. Despite efforts by the Rural Caucus and the Administration, we did not get that bill. We were left with H.687, the Act 250 bill, being the vehicle for all housing legislation. This is a massive bill that very few legislators had the opportunity to understand in the very short time between being presented to us and having to vote on it.  While I respect the input that made this bill better than it started out, it is still not the housing bill that we needed or anticipated in those early weeks of the session. A bill of this magnitude had too much crammed into one piece of legislation (167 pages!) too late in the session, and regardless of requests for more time, the Supermajority leadership chose to push forward. As one legislator put it, “I can’t vote yes on something that I haven’t had time to understand”, which was sadly the case with a number of bills that were passed in the final days of the session. I have serious doubts that this bill will allow development in places that really need it. Teachers, nurses, loggers, manufacturing workers, and law enforcement all need a place to live in our communities, and we already turn them away for lack of housing. This bill adds a new requirement for the re-imagined Land Use Review Board to make rules and to contemplate whether and how subdivisions are a jurisdictional trigger in Tier 3 areas – potentially much of the land in rural counties. What Tier 3 rule-making will bring is completely unknown, and at no point does it contemplate the impact on communities; only the environment, and I fear that the more rural areas of our county will be left behind economically if development is not easily accessible for our small towns.  Legislation that didn’t pass because for lack of support included several bills that would increase recruitment efforts, expand benefits for members of the military, and tax relief for veterans, survivors, and retirees. As a Co-Chair of the VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs and a member of the Government Operations & Military Affairs Committee, I find it shocking that we rarely take up this type of legislation, let alone pass an act that honors those who served their country. Additionally, the failure to pass a Yield Bill (H.887) that produces any real savings in the education fund or makes necessary structural changes to the education funding system will be felt in our pocketbooks well into the future.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve Franklin-5. Please reach out to me at [email protected]

Stay well,

Rep Lisa Hango




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