Dear Constituents –
Today marks not only the lifting of the mask requirement by the CDC, but also by Governor Scott, a welcome sign that we are on the road to recovery from this pandemic.
As committee hearings wind down, House General concluded taking testimony on H.313, a miscellaneous alcohol bill that is coming back to us from the Senate, and we will be amending it with pieces of H.178, another alcohol bill, on Tuesday. Next week is the scheduled last week of the 2021 Legislative session, although we do have a scheduled veto session in late June, should that be necessary. There is talk of a short October session to implement funding mechanisms for the federal infrastructure bill, but that will hopefully be incorporated into the beginning of the 2022 session.
On the House floor, we passed a number of bills, including S.3 an act relating to competency to stand trial and insanity as a defense, H.438 Capital construction and State bonding, S.48 a nurse licensure compact bill, and several Resolutions: HR 11 allowing a return to in-person legislative work 30 days after the State of Emergency is lifted, JRS 6 racism as a public health emergency, and an amendment to JRH 2 an apology for the eugenics movement. We also sent two bills to Committees of Conference: H.433 the miscellaneous DMV bill and H.360 accelerated community broadband deployment. The House also passed S.15, an act relating to correcting defective ballots, which is so much more than the name implies. This is a bill that originated in the Senate and puts into statute universal mail-in balloting for all general elections going forward, beginning with the 2022 election. I took issue with this and voted against this bill on the premise that it does not satisfy my concerns for Town Clerks bearing the burden of “curing” ballots that are defective, and ballot harvesters continuing to use drop boxes or hand delivery of up to 25 ballots per person/organization under the guise of “helping out community members who need assistance”. The Strong amendment, of which I was a co-signer, sought to delay implementation of S.15 measures until 2024, which would allow the Secretary of State’s Office to deliver an important report to the committees of jurisdiction on safeguards to ensure the integrity of our elections. If you share my concerns, please continue to voice those concerns to the House and Senate committees on Government Operations and the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office.
Representative Lisa A Hango,