Dear Constituents –
As Spring begins, most of this week’s work revolved around the virtual House floor, with must-pass money bills. The Transportation Bill, the Capital Bill, and the Budget Bill all passed the House and are headed to the Senate. We also passed legislation opening the door to alleviate gaps in broadband access, childcare programs, and Vermont’s workforce. Although there are things that I hoped would be included (like the ability for private internet providers to receive funding for buildout) and things I would rather not have seen (reliance on Federal American Rescue Plan Act funding that is yet to be disbursed instead of State revenue for on-going programs), there was much to be pleased with in all of these bills, as the committees worked hard to allocate money to the most important needs of the State, and I supported them all. One bill that did pass without my support was H.437, affecting revenue of the state. Among other provisions, this bill adds a surcharge to the property transfer tax on properties sold for over $1million, which includes commercial and agricultural properties as well as residential, adding a burden to anyone wishing to purchase a high-value property.
Committee time was limited by long afternoons and evenings on the House floor. The House General Committee concluded its work on an apology for the Vermont eugenics movement and passed JRH.2 on Friday afternoon. This work was begun in the Legislature as early as 2009, and as more information became available, it evolved into the inclusive, historically accurate document that was sent to the General Assembly today. We all agreed that the pause the pandemic provided us was an opportunity to take more testimony, particularly around the French-Canadian experience in the early 1900’s, and to reflect on what we learned in past testimony.
On Thursday, we attended a virtual Joint Assembly of both chambers to hear judicial retention reports on candidates for Superior Judges and Magistrates so we could mail in our ballots. I also attended a meeting of the Rural Economic Development Working Group, where we discussed the House bills that affect rural constituents; next week we will hear about the Senate bills that do the same.
Representative Lisa A Hango