Dear Constituents –
As both cases of COVID and vaccination rates rise, pandemic fatigue and Spring fever are working against the tide – please remember to keep our unvaccinated neighbors and communities safe as the economy opens back up and we look towards better times.
My work in the Legislature this week has been largely around H.157, an act relating to registration of residential construction contractors. On the House floor and in various Committees, amendments to the contractor registration bill were taken up, debated at length, re-worded, and decided upon, some in the negative and some in the positive. All of these proceedings are available to watch on the General Assembly and Committee websites by clicking on Livestreams, which will bring the viewer to the YouTube recordings. I am disappointed to report that this bill passed the House on April 6 on a second reading roll call vote of 97-52, and by voice vote the next day, when it was messaged to the Senate, where it is reported to have been referred to the Committee on Rules. However, as of this writing, the bill does not appear on the Senate Rules webpage.
In other Committee business, we continue to take testimony on the State eviction moratorium, hearing compelling accounts from landlords who have been adversely affected by a year-long delay in judicial proceedings. We also continued taking testimony on another bill, S.79, that is concerning. The bill proposes to create a rental housing registry of all properties in the State, including those listed for the short-term rental market. A Statewide registry is purported to be necessary for increasing health and safety measures, yet the agency tasked with maintaining the registry does not have inspection or enforcement powers, and the agency that will have them would only respond on a complaint basis. There is a disconnect in this process that leaves me uncertain of the validity of needing such a registry. The Senate removed much of the affordable housing incentive language from this bill that was recommended by the Governor, so it will be up to the House to work to re-insert it. Additionally, House General took up several bills dealing with land access and ownership and social equity, which we will take testimony on in the near future and whose language could possibly find their way into S.79.
In the special legislative caucuses, we continue to hear about the benefits of legislation passed and pending for our various constituencies, be they rural Vermonters, older Vermonters, or the tourism industry. I appreciate those meetings where a non-partisan effort is made to work together across our shared interests.
Of interest to the Towns, I attended a Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting, where I heard updates on various road projects. RT 120 in Franklin/Sheldon has been elevated to a priority project to be further discussed with VTRANS, RT 7 in Swanton/Highgate and Georgia/St Albans are on this season’s construction schedule, a few dangerous intersections in the County (including Franklin and Fairfax) were highlighted for further investigation, and the replacement of the RT 105 temporary bridge entering Richford from Berkshire is slated to be replaced in 2022.
Representative Lisa A Hango