Legislative Update - April 26, 2024

Dear Constituents -

This week at the Statehouse found Committees responding to Senate proposals of amendment to bills passed earlier in the biennium and bringing those bills to the House Floor.  The Government Operations Committee finished our work on S.310 (natural disaster government response, recovery, and resiliency), HR18 (Resolution from the Special Committee on Impeachment) and a few more municipal charter changes; we also continued to work on S.55 (changes to Vermont’s Open Meeting Law), S.220 (act relating to Vermont’s Public Libraries), S.96 (act relating to privatization contracts), S.159 (County and Regional Governance study), and took a straw poll on H.887 (homestead property tax yields, non homestead rates, and policy changes to education finance and taxation – the Yield Bill). With regards to H.887, there is nothing in this bill for either short-term or long-term cost containment, or structural reform beyond an excess spending threshold and a penalty, neither of which have ever been effective in Vermont. Taxpayers will continue to feel the brunt of higher-spending districts across the state as we receive our property tax bills, and this is a direct result of the statewide funding formula that has existed since Act 60 was passed, making local decisions subject to the impact of a statewide education fund and the whims of other school board decisions across the state.                                                   On the House Floor, the following bills were passed: S.30, S.109, H.887, S.209, S.191, H.881, H.40, H.861, H.563, and H.659. Readers can find the content of these bills by typing the bill letter and number in the bill tracker on the General Assembly website and looking at the most recent “as passed by” copy. We also voted on PR3, a proposed constitutional amendment that will go through a four-year process that amends the Vermont Constitution to add the right to collectively bargain.  My explanation on the House Floor, as one of only eight Representatives to vote no, was “I believe in the power of unions, but I am never in favor of changing our precious and historic Vermont Constitution”. Additionally, and most importantly, the Budget “Big Bill” (H.883) was returned to us from the Senate and immediately sent to a Committee of Conference to resolve the differences between the two Chambers. This is one of only a couple of bills left to be sent to the Governor that are considered to be “must pass”, and once this is done, we will be able to adjourn.                      In Rural Caucus this week, we heard about a new program that the USDA will be offering in conjunction with the Administration for rural communities that will bring assistance to our neediest municipalities as they navigate the red tape that comes with applying for aid from FEMA, the SBA, and other federal governmental agencies. We also heard the latest update to the $3M Municipal Technical Assistance Program (MTAP), launched by the Administration in 2023 with the help of our advocacy, and we were pleased to hear that all of the funding has been obligated to municipalities for crucial work on projects and assistance with identifying and scoping those projects.  Many were developed in response to the need for new housing stock.  Please contact me at [email protected]             

Stay well,

Rep Lisa Hango



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