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2022 Legislative Session Voting Record

As reported by the Ethan Allen Institute:


Override Clean Heat Carbon Tax Veto (H.715). Failed 99-51 (100 to override) on May 10, 2022. The Clean Heat Standard (CHS) is a complicated, de facto carbon tax intended to hide the price increases on fossil fuels. If heating fuel sellers do not generate enough “clean heat credits” themselves through weatherization and green appliance installations, they must purchase credits generated by others to stay in business. Those voting YES believe the CHS will help Vermont achieve its GWSA 2025 & 2030 greenhouse gas reduction mandates. House members voting YES trust the PUC to implement the Clean Heat Standard without needing further legislative approval. Those voting NO believe the CHS would lead to extreme hardship for the 200,000+ fossil fuel heating Vermont households and numerous small businesses supplying and relying on fossil fuels. The technology to replace fossil fuel heating systems is not currently scalable to satisfy the GWSA, due to labor and supply restraints.

HANGO - NO

Impose Rental Registration with Housing Programs (S.210). Passed 88-54 on April 22, 2022. The flagship provision of S.210 is a statewide registry of rental properties. Landlords can only rent housing if they pay $35 to register it and may not rent units that fail inspection (complaint basis). 7 full-time bureaucrats would administer the program, with salaries initially paid by federal ARPA money. Units rented out for fewer than 90 days are exempt. S.210 also creates two housing programs, designed to expand Vermont’s rental market and increase the homeownership rate. Those voting YES believe S.210 will increase the quantity, affordability and safety of Vermont’s rental housing market. Those voting NO were against the rental registry portion of S.210. They believe increasing housing regulations will reduce Vermont’s housing supply, raise rent on properties, shrink Vermont’s tourism industry, and reduce tax intake from short-term rentals. This could represent the first step toward state control of rental property.

HANGO - NO

Restrict Aggressive Political Speech and Firearm Rights (S.265). Passed 89-32 on April 12, 2022. The underlying language of S.265 would allow for the legal punishment of citizens who are aggressive toward public officials. Citizens could be given a misdemeanor (a year or less in prison) or even a felony (up to two years in prison). A felony charge could result in temporary or permanent seizure of firearms. S.265 also makes it more difficult for a defendant’s legal defense to claim that the defendant was unable to carry out their threat. Those voting YES believe that conflicts between citizens and school board members and other public official across the country warrants increased protections for elected officials from threats of violence, above those of ordinary citizens. Those voting NO believe S.265 infringes on the Constitutional rights to free speech, to petition government and Second Amendment firearm rights. S.265 could potentially result in citizens being punished for criticism (not threats) of certain groups, which is clearly protected First Amendment speech.

HANGO - NO

Add 27 days for “Default Proceed” Firearm Background Checks (Notte Amendment of S.30). Passed on January 27, 2022 by a vote of 97-49. This would lengthen the time some Vermont firearm applications take from 3 to 30 days. Those voting YES believe this amended bill could “potentially save lives,” by preventing dangerous police retrievals of guns for those who ultimately fail federal background checks. Those voting NO point to the rights to firearms protected in the Vermont and US Constitutions. They note that failed background checks have a shelf life of 30 days, meaning the applicant could be caught in an endless cycle.

HANGO - NO

Protect Doctor-Patient Privacy during Firearm Disputes (Donahue Motion of S.30). Failed on January 27, 2022 by a vote of 55-90. S.30 would add various gun restrictions, as voted upon above. The Donahue Motion would send S.30 and the Notte amendment to the House Healthcare Committee for further review. Those voting YES believe that greater deliberation was needed for discovering how S.30 could impact Vermonter’s doctor/patient relationships, if healthcare workers become legally obligated to report patients, limiting their firearm rights. Those voting NO believe that no such analysis was necessary.

HANGO - YES

Stricter Act 250 Development Process (S.234). Passed 99-43 on May 3, 2022. S.234 reorganizes the Act 250 approval process, which restricts economic development. The new permitting process adds “undue adverse impact on forest blocks (or) connecting habitat” to the list of reasons an Act 250 permit could be rejected. S.234 also offers favorable tax treatment to areas that already have economic development. The permit fees would fund the salaries of a new “Environmental Review Board,” overseeing Act 250 permits. Those voting YES believe updating Act 250 will reduce Vermont’s carbon emissions, preserve natural habitat for wildlife and funnel development into downtown areas. Those voting NO believe S.234 will make getting Act 250 permit approval more difficult, costly and uncertain. Housing and business development will fall further behind.

HANGO - NO

Mandate Conserving Half of Vermont Land from Development (H.606).Passed 98-42 on March 15, 2022. H.606 mandates conserving 30% of Vermont land by 2030, and 50% by 2050. Vermont would need to conserve another 6-8% of its private and public lands by 2030, and more than double its land conservation by 2050. Conserved land would gain "permanent protection" of a "natural state" of land, or could by subject to "long-term forest management." It is unclear what would happen if Vermont failed to meet these mandates, though conservation groups could conceivably sue Vermont for failing to address climate change quickly enough under the 2020 GWSA. Those voting YES believe greater conservation of land under H.606 will reduce the damage that climate change will have on Vermont ecosystems. Those voting NO believe creating new mandates will only increase the cost of living and intensify Vermont’s housing crisis, if less land is available for residential and commercial development. A land grab against private landowners is possible.

HANGO - NO

Enact Contractor Registration & 3 Housing Programs (S.226). Passed 103-42 on May 6, 2022. S.226 would enact a Residential Contractors Registry, requiring contractors to pay $75-250 annually to work legally in state, with an option of becoming certified in specific areas of contracting. S.226 also seeks to increase Vermont’s housing stock and make existing homes more affordable, by spending $20 million in federal ARPA funding on three housing programs. Those voting YES believe S.226 will protect Vermonters from contractor fraud, while the programs will alleviate Vermont’s housing crisis. Those voting NO opposed the contractor registry portion of the bill, believing home improvement fraud is rare enough that government intrusion is unnecessary. When fraud does happen, Vermont government has been reluctant to use the tools available to address it. Contractors are likely to raise their rates to cover the registry charge and added paperwork needed to do their jobs.

HANGO - NO

Create ‘Environmental Rights’ to Defend (S.148). Passed 109-31 on May 3, 2022. S.148 would acknowledge the environmental disparities minorities face in Vermont and to give those minorities more chances to live and work in the safest and least polluted areas of Vermont. A new 17-member Environmental Justice Advisory Council and an 11-member Interagency Environmental Justice Committee would make recommendations to the Legislature and Vermont government agencies for integrating environmental justice principles into State policy. Those voting YES argued that minorities live and work in environmentally undesirable locations relative to white Vermonters. Those voting NO are wary of adding 28 individuals to Vermont’s bureaucracy (insulated from Vermont citizen objections), who will likely make costly recommendations, with no shortage of ‘injustices’ to alleviate.

HANGO - NO

Expand Police Reporting, Study Misconduct & Interrogation (S.250).Passed 99-48 on May 11, 2022. First, S.250 expands obligated police collection of demographic data from roadside stops to any police encounter with citizens. Second, it creates a database of pending police infractions against individual officers. Finally, a study of appropriate police interrogation is authorized. Those voting YES believe more substantial data collection on police encounters and oversight of police interrogation techniques are needed. Those voting NO believe that expanding police encounter data will overburden exhausted police with more paperwork, exhibiting a distrust in the police that makes recruitment and retention difficult. The interrogation study begins with a bias against police already, having reached a predetermined conclusion that future legislation is needed to correct police misconduct.

HANGO - NO

Make Town Withdrawal from School Districts More Difficult (H.727).Passed 98-39 on March 17, 2022. H.727 encourages multi-town school district foundation and discourages town school withdrawal from school districts. Current Vermont statute allows town citizens to bring school withdrawal from a district to a vote. H.727 would require more paperwork to be completed before the proposed withdrawal goes to vote, and gives the State Board of Education a final say in that withdrawal process. Those voting YES believe school withdrawal requires more serious deliberation than is currently the case, and want to give Vermont veto authority in such decisions. Those voting NO objected to the added paperwork that is especially onerous for smaller towns hoping to separate from their district. H.727 takes away local decision-making power and centralizes it in the State Board of Education.

HANGO - NO

Protect Doctor-Patient Privacy during Firearm Disputes (Donahue Motion of S.30). Failed on January 27, 2022 by a vote of 55-90. S.30 would add various gun restrictions, as voted upon above. The Donahue Motion would send S.30 and the Notte amendment to the House Healthcare Committee for further review. Those voting YES believe that greater deliberation was needed for discovering how S.30 could impact Vermonter’s doctor/patient relationships, if healthcare workers become legally obligated to report patients, limiting their firearm rights. Those voting NO believe that no such analysis was necessary.

HANGO - YES

Ensure Assisted Suicide is Voluntary (S.74). Failed 41-98 on April 13, 2022. S.74 would expand Vermont’s euthanasia law to allow terminally ill individuals to order the drugs they need to kill themselves exclusively with video telemedicine. The Donahue Amendment of S.74 would safeguard against the possibility of coercion by insisting that one of the patient’s appointments be in-person. Those voting YES believe eliminating the in-person requirement could make it much easier for those with authority over the individual to coerce the patient into ending their life before they would like to. Those voting NO believe many terminally ill Vermonters are not well enough to visit a healthcare provider, making video telemedicine the logical option.

HANGO - YES

Guarantee "Personal Reproductive Autonomy" (Proposal 5). Passed on February 8, 2022 by a vote of 107-41. Proposal 5 would amend Vermont’s Constitution, adding “that an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course and shall not be denied or infringed unless justified by a compelling State interest achieved by the least restrictive means.” Those voting YES argued that a constitutional amendment is necessary to protect abortion rights in case Roe v. Wade is overturned. Those voting NO may or may not be in favor of greater abortion protections, but argued that the vaguely worded language in Proposal 5 that does not mention ‘abortion’ is so ambiguous that any number of judicial interpretations could be reached.

HANGO - NO

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Workforce Development Announcement

June 21, 2022 –
Today I attended Governor Phil Scott’s press conference at Vermont Precision Tools in Swanton VT where he highlighted S.11 (Act 183), a substantial workforce development bill. A transcript of the Governor’s statements follows below. Among many other provisions, this bill contains language from H.332, a bipartisan bill that I co-sponsored to enable loan forgiveness to Physician Assistants if they commit to working in Vermont. With the current healthcare workforce shortage coupled with an aging population (Vermont is one of the oldest states in the nation), the lack of healthcare providers has reached crisis proportions, leaving Vermonters with long wait times across all specialties and regions of the state. As doctors (MDs and DOs) age out of their practices, there are fewer Vermonters being accepted to medical schools to replace them, so the need for NPs and PAs is expanding. The original intent of the language in Act 183 was to include only Nurse Practitioners (NPs) because Vermont does not have a school for Physician Assistant Studies, leaving behind those students who don’t follow a traditional nursing path to becoming a higher level healthcare provider. My co-sponsor and I saw a need to include PAs in this loan forgiveness/scholarship model as a way to bring diversity and numbers to Vermont’s healthcare system by incentivizing those students who have studied out of state to return home to Vermont or to move to Vermont for the first time. We successfully advocated for this language and are pleased that it was included in S.11’s final iteration.

The Governor also called out the passage of H.517, an expansion of the National Guard Tuition Benefits Program that I worked closely on with my Senate and House colleagues; this bill provides a necessary recruitment incentive for our Guard to attract members from across the country, who will be contributing to Vermont employers and community organizations for the length of their careers.

Programs like these will energize and stimulate workforce growth, as students take advantage of a multitude of educational opportunities and put them to use in Vermont’s economy made possible by bills like S.11 and H.517.

It is an honor to represent your interests in the Legislature and to work together with my colleagues to affect change that will benefit all Vermonters.
Stay well,
Lisa


TRANSCRIPT: GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT OUTLINES NEW WORKFORCE INITIATIVES TO FILL AVAILABLE JOBS AND CREATE MORE OPPORTUNITY VERMONTERS

Swanton, Vt. – At his weekly media briefing, Governor Phil Scott highlighted initiatives and investments passed this year to help train, retain and recruit more workers to address Vermont’s workforce shortage.

The Governor was joined by state leaders from the Department of Labor, Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Agency of Human Services and the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) to discuss newly passed legislation that will help grow and strengthen the workforce, including regional workforce expansion program, loan forgiveness and incentives to retain nurses, and investments in higher education and adult training programs.

Vermont Precision Tools hosted the event and the company’s president, Monica Greene, also shared details on the company’s efforts to train, retain and recruit employees.

More details can be found in the below transcript of Governor Scott’s remarks or by clicking here to view the press conference.

Governor Scott: Thank you all for being here and thanks to Vermont Precision Tools for hosting us.

We’re here today to talk about a familiar theme – one that I’ve focused on since my very first day in office, and that’s workforce.

At the start of each legislative session, I outline my Administration’s priorities for the year. I’m sure most of you have heard me talk about our strategic priorities before: growing the economy; making Vermont more affordable; and protecting the most vulnerable.

To accomplish each of these goals, we keep coming back to our Achilles’ heel: The lack of workers in our workforce.

Now, as you might remember, during my first term as governor I spoke a lot about three numbers: 6-3-1. Each of them representing concerning trends we were facing – and this was long before the pandemic. On average, we were seeing six fewer workers in our workforce, three fewer kids in our K-12 schools, and one child born to addiction, every single day.

We were beginning to make progress, but then along came a once-in-a-century pandemic that had ripple effects far beyond public health.

If you talk to any employer – and you’ll hear from a great one here at Vermont Precision Tools – finding people to fill the good jobs they have available is a challenge.

That’s why, with record state surpluses and all the federal funding, I thought it was so important to invest in areas I knew would make a difference.

All the proposals we put forward were tied together to address this issue: To have more workers, we need more housing. To have more housing, we need water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure. To support workers and give them reasons to come here, we need broadband, childcare, and safe, healthy and thriving communities. And to keep costs down and protect the environment, we need to invest in things like weatherization.

But we also need workforce training and development programs, which is why we’re here today.

My team worked closely with the Legislature, in particular the economic development and health care committees, to pass S.11, now Act 183, which includes major investments to expand and strengthen our workforce. There were also important workforce investments in the budget for higher education and VSAC to make getting the needed skills more affordable. And I want to mention H.518, now Act 172, which gives more financial assistance for Guard members to continue their education.

It was great to see support for so many initiatives that will help move the needle on our workforce shortage – though we all know we need to do more.

I want to acknowledge all the members of the House and Senate here today, and in particular, the Chair of House Economic Development Mike Marcotte for your close collaboration and commitment to getting these initiatives passed.

Members of my team will speak more about some of the specifics in a moment, but you’ll hear about ways employers and potential employees can better connect; support for refugees entering the workforce; and incentives to recruit workers to Vermont. And while we have shortages in every sector, we know healthcare is a big one, so S.11 included tools specifically for healthcare workers and nurses. We’ll also hear from Scott Giles of VSAC which received funding to help more students access post-secondary education and training, and a forgivable loan program to keep more of them here after they graduate.

This is just a handful if initiatives that were passed this session, and we’ll highlight more as these programs get up and running.

But no matter what government does, this work is not possible without strong leadership and partnership from the private sector. Employers finding new ways to attract, train and retain workers is essential to our success.

Vermont Precision Tools is not just our host today but a great example of an employer who is running their own training program. It’s now my pleasure to turn the podium over to Monica Greene, president of Vermont Precision Tools, to talk more about the work the company does, as well as some of the challenges they face because of our workforce shortage.

 

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Legislative Update - 13 May 2022

Dear Constituents –
The Legislature officially adjourned Thursday evening, having passed a record $8.3 billion budget containing historic investments in broadband, housing, infrastructure, workforce and economic development, healthcare, tourism, and the creative sector. We also passed bills containing modest tax relief, education funding, investments in childcare, food security, the trades, changes to Act 250 permitting in downtowns and village centers, provisions for the forest products industry, and many other initiatives that we can be proud of. For a complete listing, please see the General Assembly website www.legislature.vermont.gov and click on the Current House Journal and the Current Senate Journal to view individual bills. While I remained disappointed in provisions passed for military retirees and regulations for residential building contractors, I understand the importance of compromise and working to advance legislation that will help all Vermonters, and my votes reflect my sentiments.
A true highlight of the week was being present at the ceremony to recognize the newest National Guard State Partnership Program with Austria and introducing our honorees to the General Assembly.
It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve Franklin-5 in the Vermont House, and I am pleased to announce that I will be running for re-election in the Fall in our two-seat district with Rep Wayne Laroche of Franklin. For more information, please visit www.hangoforhouse.com. I look to forward seeing many of you over the Summer and Fall campaign season.
Thank you and stay well,
Rep Lisa A Hango, Berkshire
Franklin-5

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Legislative Update - 6 May 2022

Dear Constituents –
The end of the legislative session is in sight – next week looks to be our last, and then the campaign season will begin in earnest. Most of what we did this week was vote to concur with or amend bills being returned from the Senate. In Committee, we dealt with our two housing bills, S.210 and S.226, both of which I’ve repeatedly voted against due to the government overreach that is exemplified in the registries that the bills set up. Each bill had several amendments that we took up and voted on, none of which made the bills significantly more palatable. Housing is a basic need for all Vermonters, but more government regulations will not build more homes. We were also intoduced to a Resolution, J.R.H.22, that directs the President and Congress of the United States to spearhead a global effort to prevent nuclear war and opposing the basing of nuclear weapons in Vermont. It is unclear to me if this will make it out of my Committee, but I will not be voting to do so.
The General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee received H.517, expanding the National Guard Tuition Benefits Program, back with amendments from Senate Education. They concurred with the expansion of the program, which I’ve written about in past news blogs, and added several sections : Education of military families – providing in-State tuition benefits for the spouse and dependent child of any person who is a member of the US Armed Forces and stationed in this State pursuant to military orders ; Purple Star Campus Designation – enabling the Agency of Education to designate a school district as a Purple Star Campus if the school district applies and qualifies for the designation, which would recognize a school that is committed to providing a welcoming environment for military-connected children ; Eligibility for Election to Serve as Adjutant and Inspector General – provides qualifications to be eligible to be selected as the Adjutant General of the Vermont National Guard, where there were none in statute . This is a bill I am particularly proud of, as Co-Chair of the VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus, having worked closely with the Senate Education and Senate Government Operations Committees to include this language for the benefit of Vermont’s military families and our National Guard. The bill as amended passed through the Senate committee of jurisdiction, on the Senate floor, the House committee of jurisdiction, and on the House floor unanimously.
On the House floor this week, we took up numerous bills, predominantly amendments from the Senate, sending legislation back to them with concurrence or with further amendment, or to a Committee of Conference if there appears to be no easy path forward in Committee. These bills are too numerous to list, but if you wish to view them, please go to www.legislature.vermont.gov, and click on each day’s House Journal.
On Thursday evening, the House recessed so members were able to attend the Statehouse unveiling ceremony of the portrait of Rep Alexander Twilight of Brownington, who was the first person of African American descent to serve in the Vermont General Assembly and to graduate from a US college.
Please reach out to me at [email protected] with any questions or concerns.
Stay well,
Rep Lisa A Hango, Berkshire
Franklin-5

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Legislative Update - 29 April 2022

Dear Constituents –
As is the case with the end of the session, and particularly the end of the biennium, there is a lot of « hurry up and wait » : we rush to committee to vote on amendments, then wait for other committees to do their work and get back to us ; the House floor is taken up with voting on Senate proposed amendments to bills we passed over to them before crossover. Bills that didn’t meet crossover will see language inserted into other bills that did, in hopes that the subject matter is germane. An example of this that stretches this concept is S.226, an act expanding access to safe and affordable housing, which has passed through my committee and gone on to both Ways and Means and House Appropriations. We continued to hear amendments throughout the week, oftentimes convening several times to re-word the language. The resulting bill will come to the House floor next week, and it contains multiple, complex sections expanding access to home ownership for first-generation and middle-income families, relocating mobile homes, establishing tax credits for development in downtown areas, imposing regulations on residential construction contractors, expanding fair housing law, prohibiting tax sales in certain circumstances, and creating the Vermont Land Access and Opportunity Board to ensure that marginalized populations have equitable access to land and home ownership.
The House floor saw the most action, passing : S.287, pupil weighting ; S.162, collective bargaining rights of teachers ; S.210, rental housing health and safety and affordable housing ; S.280, miscellaneous changes to laws relating to vehicles (this included an amendment calling for a study on updating truck weights for the logging industry that I offered with others); H.743, changes to the Charter of the Town of Hardwick ; S.100, extending universal school breakfast for one year, with a study on universal school lunch ; S.286, amending various public pensions and other post-employment benefits ; S.127, procedures and review of community supervision furlough revocation or interruption appeals ; S.195, certification of mental health peer support specialists ; H.635, secondary traffic offenses ; H.534, sealing criminal history records ; S.285, health care reform initiatives, data collection, and access to home- and community-based services ; S.281, hunting coyotes with dogs ; S.266, health insurance coverage for hearing aids ; H.411, retrieval and use of covered wild animals ; H.505, reclassification of penalties for lawfully possessing, dispensing, and selling a regulated drug ; H.515, related to banking, insurance, and securities ; H.711, creation of Opioid Settlement Advisory Committee and the Opioid Abatement Special Fund ; H.736, Transportation Bill. If many of these titles sound familiar, they are bills that the Senate has sent back to us with further amendment. Those I voted against : S.210, S.100, H.534, S.281, and H.505.
On Thursday, the Chairs of the VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus were invited to attend the deployment ceremony for 200 members of the 158th Fighter Wing of the VT Air National Guard. It was an honor to be there to see our servicemembers off on their mission, and to hear their leaders’ remarks.
As the session goes into its final weeks, please know that you may reach me at [email protected]
Stay well,
Rep Lisa A Hango

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Legislative Update - 22 April 2022

Dear Constituents –
Spring is in the air, and it’s apparent by the pace of the Legislature. Amendments to bills are flying through committees, and committees are playing the « hurry up and wait » game. On the House floor, we passed : H.447, amendments to the Charter for the City of Springfield ; H.731, technical corrections for the 2022 legislative session ; S.206, planning and support for individuals and families impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease and related disorders ; S.162, collective bargaining rights for teachers ; S.197, provisions for mental health supports ; and H.704, request to send the Budget to a Committee of Conference. Also on the floor is the problematic S.210, relating to rental housing health and safety and affordable housing, which contains the Rental Housing Registry, and once divided, only passed the second reading on an 88-54 vote across party lines. This sends a strong signal that many members have heard from constituents that this portion of the bill has concerning issues and should not be considered a mandate. Several bills were postponed for a number of days so committees could do more work on them.
In the House General Committee, we spent a good portion of our time discussing amendments to S.210 and S.226, another housing bill that I’ve referred to over in recent updates that has several grave concerns.
At the REDWnG caucus, members were updated on bills relevant to the rural economy ; several amendments were proposed and discussed.
Adjournment is projected to be May 6, but with the budget in a Committee of Conference, as well as leadership-identified priority bills like H.159 (economic development), H.703 (workforce development), S.287 (Pupil Weighting), S.210, and S.226 still in various stages of passage, the date seems optimistic to me.
It is an honor to serve as your Representative. Please reach out to me with your concerns at
[email protected]
Stay well,
Rep Lisa A Hango
Franklin-5

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Legislative Update - 15 April 2022

Dear Constituents –
In the Vermont Statehouse, we continue to take up bills sent from the other Chamber, adding and subtracting language in a manner that I’ve not seen previously. My opinion of this « sausage-making », as it’s called, is that it’s confusing to the lay person, haphazard, and a result of poor time-management. Committees have unlimited time to take testimony on bills that are on other Committee’s walls, yet when it comes time to vote out a bill with multiple, complex sections, we are told that there « hasn’t been time to fully vet this, but it’s OK to vote it out », because we will « work on it later ». I object to this process, and I’ve been vocal about it since the first day I sat in House General. This week, we put out two very complicated, convoluted housing bills (S.210 and S.226) that in the past few days had sections re-arranged and added on pertaining to fair housing practices, tax sales, racial and social equity in land access and property ownership, and changes to the previously vetoed Residential Construction Contractor Registry.
On the House Floor, the schedule was light, as most of the work was being done in Committee. Favorable bills passed include : H.741, changes to the Charter of the City of St Albans ; S.171, adoption of State Code of Ethics ; S.163, State court petitions for vulnerable noncitizen youth ; H.629, access to adoption records; and H.461, excluding income of asylum seekers and refugees from household income. Some of these may sound familiar, as they previously passed the House and came back to us with further amendment from the Senate. Bills that I voted against this week are : S.265, expanding criminal threats to include threats to third persons ; S.74, modifications to Vermont’s patient choice at end of life laws ; S.254, recovering damages for Article 11 violations ; and H.708, amendments to the Charter of the City of Burlington. If you would like further information on any of these bills, you may use the bill tracker feature on the Vermont General Assembly website, www.legislature.Vermont.gov
On Tuesday, I chaired the VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus meeting. We hosted members of the VT National Guard who briefed us on the State Partnership Program with Austria and the upcoming visit by the Austrian delegation for the signing of the Partnership on May 11. I also updated members on the progress of legislation that is pertinent to the military, including H.517 (National Guard Tuition Benefit Program and Qualifications for the Adjutant General) and S.53 (containing tax exemptions for military pensions and survivors benefits). There is talk of the Legislature adjourning early this year, around May 6, so there is an urgency to pass priority legislation ASAP, and I am following it very closely on behalf of the military caucus.
It is my honor to serve my constituents in the Vermont House. Please reach out to me with your concerns at [email protected]
Stay well,
Rep Lisa A Hango, Franklin-5

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Legislative Update - 8 April 2022

Dear Constituents –
This week, Committees got to work on the task of reading their counterpart’s bills, hearing testimony, and deciding which pieces to keep, concur with, scrap, or amend. My Committee, the General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee, did a deep dive into the affordable housing and rental safety bills sent to us by our colleagues in the Senate, S.210 and S.226. We also continued to hear testimony on H.329, amending prohibitions against discrimination, and H.625, protections against eviction, foreclosure, and tax sales, both of which are rumored to be contenders to add in to the already Christmas tree-like housing bills.
We began our week hearing from the National Guard on their annual Sexual Assault and Harassment Report to the Legislature, noting that much progress has been made in recent years on changing the culture of reporting within the Guard, highlighting our Vermont Guard as an example to the rest of the country for forward-thinking leadership and zero tolerance.
Several of the Franklin County delegation had the pleasure of meeting with MVU students and advisors representing the OVX and VKAT groups, who were on the Statehouse steps in the rain advocating for our awareness around smoking and vaping use in school-aged youth.
On the House Floor, several bills were re-committed to committees, and a handful of bills were passed to the Senate. Of interest to readers : S.113, establishing a cause of action for medical monitoring expense ; S.72, Interstate Compact on placement of children ; S.239, enrollment in Medicare supplemental insurance policies ; H.744, amendment to the Charter of the City of Burlington ; S.184, defense of others and justifiable homicide, and S.265, expanding criminal threatening to include threats to third parties.
This last portion of the biennium will be busy, with legislators wanting to wrap up their priorities before heading to the campaign trail ; we’ve been told to expect long days working into the evening as we attempt to keep legislation at a reasonable and practical standard.
It is an honor to serve as your Representative in the Statehouse. Please reach out to me with comments at [email protected]
Stay well,
Rep Lisa A Hango, Berkshire
Franklin-5

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Legislative Update - 1 April 2022

Dear Constituents –
This week in the Statehouse was the calm after the storm. After long hours for the past two weeks, action on the House floor and in Committee was relatively light. We began by acknowledging Vietnam Veterans Day on Tuesday, recognizing those who served in the conflict. Action on H.444, a Charter Change for the City of Barre, dealing with the number and type of flags that can be displayed, was postponed until next week to give the Committee of Jurisdiction more time to review amendments made by the Senate. A Committee of Conference was named for S.53, which is a tax bill dealing with a variety of issues, not the least of which are the military pension and survivors benefits tax exemptions. The VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus that I Co-Chair submitted a letter on Monday to House leadership and the Administration voicing that we do not support the tax relief package as written, and expressing our hope that the C of C understands the importance of full exemption as a way to honor those who have served. Bills that passed this week include H.R.23, a Resolution updating the House Sexual Harassment policy, and S.183, relating to midpoint probation review.
In Committee, we continue to take testimony on H.329, an act relating to amending the prohibitions against discrimination. This bill gets more convoluted every week, and I will lead my Caucus in voting against what I see as government overreach and restrictive dictates to the Judiciary. We also continued to hear from witnesses on the Senate’s flagship housing bills, S.210 and S.226, both of which contain unpalatable poison pills and ACT 250 « reforms » that may not be seen as real reforms. The House General Committee is taking up H.631, that defines hard cider, and H.638, pertaining to direct to consumer spirits shipping licenses, both of which have tax and revenue implications for the State.
At the Rural Economic Development Working Group, discussion centered around their omnibus bill, which contains language deemed favorable to rural businesses, including our logging industry ; language in this bill can be seen in several bills scattered throughout the legislature, all in varying stages. Other important legislation for REDWnG is S.287, the Pupil Weighting System bill, which is now in House Ways and Means. Stay tuned for possible changes on this legislation that would impact property taxes as this bill moves forward.
Please reach out to me at [email protected] with your concerns.
Stay well,
Rep Lisa A Hango, Berkshire
Franklin-5

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Legislative Update - 25 March 2022

Legislative Update – 25 March 2022

Dear Constituents –
This week was one of long Floor times in the House, as we worked through all of the bills passed last week that affected revenue of the State. Prior to starting our marathon sessions on the Floor that extended well into the evening, 34 new members of the House of Representatives who had never formally been seated participated in a Seating Ceremony ; these included members who have been recently appointed as well as those who had been elected during the pandemic. The first bill up for consideration was H.96, establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission that came out of the House General Committee on a party line 8-2-1 vote, with one member being absent. The objection to this bill is not only the breadth of the inquiry but also the cost to establish a professional office that will investigate claims of systemic injustices perpetuated by the State – the Joint Fiscal Office estimates that the total cost will start at $4.5M over the four year lifespan of the Commission. Other bills that were debated and passed include : H.492, changing the structure of the Natural Resources Board ; H.635, secondary enforcement of minor traffic offenses ; H.720, system of care for individuals with developmental disabilities; H.464, miscellaneous changes to the Reach Up program ; H.512, modernization of land records and notarial acts ; H.624 supporting creative sector businesses and cultural organizations ; H.728 opioid overdose response services ; H.410, Artificial Intelligence Commission ; H.553, eligibility of domestic partners for reimbursement from the victims compensation fund ; H.661, licensure of mental health professionals ; H.729, miscellaneous judiciary procedures ; H.730, alcoholic beverages and the Department of Liquor and Lottery ; H.738 miscellaneous changes to Vermont tax laws ; H.293 establishment of the State Youth Council ; H.718, dissolution of Colchester Fire District #1 ; H.353 Pharmacy Benefit Management. Of these bills, I opposed H.492 on the grounds that forming a new Board would take ACT 250 appeals hearings away from the Environmental Division of the Court System and hand them over to the new Board of appointed officials. In addition, the House passed four other bills necessary for the operation of the State : H.737, the « Yield Bill » an act relating to homestead property tax yields and non-homestead property tax rates ; H.736, the Transportation Bill ; H.740, the Budget « Big Bill » ; and H. 739, the Capital Budget Bill. H.737 contained problematic language reserving $36M for Universal School Meals, and many members expressed frustration that money was being set aside for potential policy that hasn’t yet passed from the Senate to the House, when that money could be used for tax relief or as investment in our CTEs (Career Technical Education Centers). H.740, although containing provisions for many worthy programs, did not meet the Governor’s economic development requests, nor did it fully take advantage of ARPA funding for housing needs, particularly in the « missing middle », or offer any tax relief to retirees or individuals working in high-demand, lower-paying, essential professions. Finally, the House passed a comprehensive workforce development bill, H.730, that House Commerce worked diligently on, taking testimony on where best to fund programs that would retain and attract working-age Vermonters. Changes to the CTEs and various scholarship, internship, work-based, and experiential learning opportunities for students of all ages in the trades and medical field are highlights of this bill.
Committee time was curtailed due to the long hours spent on the House Floor, with House General taking testimony on H.329, a pervasively problematic anti-discrimination bill, and H.638, an act relating to direct to consumer spirits shipping licenses.
Most special interest caucuses were also postponed this week as a result of time needed to attend to bills on the Floor. It is an honor to serve as your Representative, and when bills that I co-sponsored pieces of, such as the Workforce Development bill (H.703) and the Creative Futures Act (H.624), are overwhelmingly passed, I take pride in the work we do together to ensure the economic viability of Vermont.
Please feel welcome to reach out to me at [email protected]

Stay well,

Rep Lisa Hango, Berkshire

 

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