Dear Constituents –
The first full week back in session was truly full — typically, Legislators use Mondays to attend to constituent issues, bills we are working on that are unrelated to bills assigned to our Committees, and local meetings. This week, Monday seemed particularly busy! Because of using remote platforms like Zoom, Advocacy groups no longer have to schedule to meet with us while we are at the Statehouse, so they can arrange meetings at any time during the week, and Monday was a day scheduledwith meetings on banking, municipal governance, child development, and food insecurity.
On the House floor, bills are being introduced and committed to the Committees of jurisdiction, several of which have been referred to my Committee, the House General, Housing and Military Affairs Committee. The scope of our work is such that we currently have possession of bills that deal with collective bargaining for public school employee health benefits, whistleblower protection for law enforcement, basic needs and livable wage, and National Guard employment protections, among other legislation that is being introduced on a daily basis.Some of these bills will remain on the wall, while others are given Committee time, and they can be found on the webpage for each Committee on the General Assembly website. All members also took part in mandatory training on Sexual Harassment in the workplace.
In Committee, we are hearing testimony on the response to COVID-19 from various housing agencies, hearing bill introductions, receiving general housekeeping updates on the use of our website and iPads, being introduced to the attorneys who serve our Committee, and discussing the writing and introducing of legislation. We also had a briefing from the National Guard on the deployment of Vermont soldiers to Washington DC for the Presidential Inauguration and from Senator Leahy’s office on the latest round of federal Coronavirus relief funding.
I had the opportunity to attend a meeting of the Vermont Commission on Women one evening, and I greatly appreciatedhearing the data that was presented on how COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting women in Vermont, which I learned more about the next day in a joint Committee hearing with the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee and the Joint Fiscal Office. The focus of that meeting spotlighted Vermont having the highest unemploymentclaims for women in the US and the lack of childcarereinforcing those numbers, both crucial issues that face Vermont families.
It is an honor to be back in the virtual Statehouse to serve the needs of my district with Rep Paul Martin.
Rep Lisa Hango