As we Legislators settled into a new routine of phone briefings and remote committee meetings, the House of Representatives was unexpectedly and abruptly summoned back to Montpelier to vote on several Resolutions dealing with our future ability to vote remotely. This was rather shocking, given the Governor’s “stay at home, stay safe” order, but approximately 80 of us arrived and promptly social distanced ourselves from each other, spreading out throughout the Statehouse until voting commenced.
Committee meetings this week were spent taking testimony on an emergency economic bill dealing with housing, unemployment, and sick leave, and an alcohol bill that works to clarify regulations for the beverage industry. Please note that the public is welcome to view Committee proceedings on YouTube through a link provided on each Committee webpage on the Vermont Legislature’s website.
On that note, any House Floor action may also be live-streamed on vpr.net; currently, there are no sessions scheduled.
There have been many directives coming from the Governor’s Office this week, with grave implications that have changed the course of our everyday lives; it is vital that we follow them seriously. Vermont is striving to stem the tide of infection, and the best way to do that is by reducing contact with each other – social distancing and proper hygiene – hence, the closure of schools, public places, and non-essential businesses. It is truly a time of uncertainty and upheaval, and we understand the need for information, so please do not hesitate to reach out to your Representatives and Senators. You may also visit www.charenforhouse to find links that Rep Fegard and I have compiled to assist you with crisis-related issues.
We have heard from you that your greatest concerns are around unemployment and small business relief, and we remain hopeful that the Federal package being passed will include provisions for Vermonters who are self-employed or who own their own business; to that end, my House General Committee is keeping a close eye on this issue.
One more note of importance this week is that if you foresee any difficulty paying your mortgage, your financial institution wants to hear from you – sooner rather than later! The banking industry stands ready to work with homeowners who may lose their incomes or see them sharply reduced due to COVID-19 so they may retain ownership of their homes.
Representative Lisa A Hango