Dear Constituents –
As of Friday May 21 at 5PM, the Legislative session has ended, as the House followed the Senate by adjourning after passing our Budget, H.439 and an Joint Adjournment Resolution, JRS029. It appears that we will have a short veto session on June 23/24, as the Governor has vetoed at least S.107, an act relating to confidential information concerning the initial arrest and charge of a juvenile.
Other bills passed this week with my comments are as follows:
S.48 the interstate nurses licensure compact - a good step in the right direction to bolster our healthcare workforce; S.101 promoting housing choice and opportunity in smart growth areas – this bill contained a surcharge on the property transfer tax that is unnecessary at this time when we have a budget surplus; H.433 the Transportation Bill Report of the Committee of Conference was accepted; S.25 miscellaneous changes to cannabis procedures – I do not support the underlying tax and regulate concept; H.449 changes to the Vermont pension investment plan and commission – I couldn’t support this because the responsibility to consider other types of benefit plans was removed from the language at the 11th hour; H.313 miscellaneous changes to alcohol law – I was pleased to be able to support the continuation of “to-go” alcoholic beverages with food orders, although the exclusion of direct-to-consumer shipping of spirits was disappointing; H.360 accelerated community broadband deployment – I will be interested to see how this is implemented; H.436 a miscellaneous tax bill; S.62 including employee incentives, technical eduction, and unemployment insurance – this was a difficult yes vote in that it contained not only a mechanism to reduce the burden on employers’ unemployment insurance ratings but also a burden on employers in the form of extra UI benefits to recipients. This was a hard bargain driven by the majority party, and we reluctantly agreed to the compromise to put future business protections ahead of other concerns; if we chose to vote this down, businesses would be hit with extraordinary taxes and their UI rate schedules would have suffered unsustainably.
Some bills of interest to constituents that didn’t make it through the process were H.157 regulation of residential construction contractors and S.79 improving rental housing health and safety. Both were fraught with concerns that were voiced during long committee and floor debates, as well as in letters, phone calls, and emails to your Representatives.
Throughout the session, 100 bills were passed! In my opinion, that is far too great a number when we were charged with focusing on COVID mitigation and relief and economic recovery. I spoke up many times to voice my frustration over taking up bills that had no nexus to COVID and that could wait until a real, in-person session in January.
I will continue to be available for any comments or concerns by phone, via my website at www.hangoforhouse.com or on my legislative email [email protected] , which I will monitor throughout the off-season.
Thank you for the honor of serving you.
Representative Lisa A Hango