Legislative Update - Veto Session 2024

Dear Constituents –

Last Monday, the Vermont General Assembly re-convened for a veto session to address the eight vetoes that Governor Scott thoughtfully considered and wrote this past session, most of them at the very end.  As I’ve noted in previous columns, this Legislature has a bad habit of waiting until the 11th hour to produce lengthy, complex legislation for its members to consider and vote on. On reading the Governor’s veto messages, which can be found on his webpage http://governor.vermont.gov/content/home, a common theme is heard: this Legislature took on too many “first in the nation” issues, leadership did not come together with average legislators to pass legislation that would benefit all Vermonters, and we passed legislation that will have consequences for working Vermonters for years to come. Over the past several months, I’ve noted that a few individual legislators from all three parties and Independents have been willing to sit down to hammer out compromises, and I’m proud to have been a part of that effort.  We had a popular, Administration-backed housing bill that had tri-partisan sign-on in January that would have offered housing relief for our decades-long crisis. I am grateful to my colleagues from the Democrat and Progressive parties for being bold enough to sign onto it, and the Independents for supporting it.  As I’ve said, that bill went nowhere because House leadership wanted it their way, which was to combine housing development access with a sweeping land conservation bill that was written by powerful outside organizations. Senate leadership allowed some of the initiatives in the initial bill to go forward and be approved by the House, but it was too much, too restrictive, and too late for many to support the entire bill. This scenario continued through the veto session, as a total of seven vetoes were overridden in the House, and six were overridden and one was sustained in the Senate. In the space of seven hours, reasonable consideration to balance the needs of all Vermonters was crushed, leaving the minority of us who voted to sustain the vetoes exhausted and discouraged. We expected it and showed up but hoped for a better outcome. Sadly, the rhetoric doesn’t end there.  Every chance the supermajority has, in nonpartisan school and Selectboard meetings, in Op-Eds throughout the media, and in public forums, they are touting how they are the saviors of public safety in our communities, the answer to housing for everyone, the pinnacle of substance abuse prevention, and the champion of many other initiatives that are among the most liberal or restrictive in the nation, depending on the nature of the legislation that was passed into law. Nowhere do the supermajority talk about dialog and compromise; instead, they point to who did or didn’t show up to meetings and how their way is the only way. It pains me to see my colleagues across the aisle, whom I’ve had honest and heartfelt conversations with, being strong-armed into holding their noses and voting the way leadership wants them to, regardless of the outcome for their constituents.  [email protected]

Thank you for the honor to serve.

Stay well,

Rep Lisa Hango

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