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Legislative Update - 18 March 2022

Dear Constituents –
This week in the House marked the end of crossover for all policy bills being reviewed by their respective money committees and brought to the House Floor. Bills passed by the House include: H.729, miscellaneous judiciary procedures; H.730, alcoholic beverages and Department of Liquor and Lottery; H.279, miscellaneous changes to Department of Vermont Health Access; H.244, Natural Organic Reduction; H.500, prohibiting sale of certain mercury lamps; H.523, reducing hydrofluorocarbon emissions; H.606, community resilience and biodiversity; H.655, telehealth licensure; H.255 incremental hearing aid converage; H.722, re-apportionment of the House of Representatives; H.287, medical debt protection; H.399, incarceration terms for primary caregivers of dependent children; H.475, classification of criminal offenses; H.548, miscellaneous cannabis establishment procedures; H.551 prohibiting racially and religiously restrictive covenants and deeds; H.482, Petroleum Cleanup Fund; H.715, Clean Heat Standard; H.629, access to adoption records; H.727, exploration, formation, and organization of school districts; H.731, technical corrections to Vermont State Statutes Annotated; H.465, boards and commissions; H.518 municipal fuel switching; S.4, procedures involving firearms; H.533, civil forfeiture; H.711, Opioid Settlement Advisory Committee and Opioid Abatement Fund; H.716, miscellaneous education law changes; H.487, secure facility for justice-involved youth; H.534, sealing criminal history records; H.505, reclassification of drug offenses; H.626, sale, use, or application of neonicotinoid pesticides; H.546, bureau of racial justice statistics; H.720, system of care for individuals with developmental disabilities. Despite voting with a block of my colleagues in opposition to some of these bills (including H.606, H.548, H.715, H.727, S.4, H.534, H.505, H.546), all of these bills are on their way to the Senate for further review. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for further information on any of the bills that remain alive.
The General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee continues to work on H.329, a bill I consider to be an egregious expansion of discrimination and harassment statutes, and I will continue to insist that it be seen by both House Judiciary and House Education. We took testimony on H.638, direct to consumer spirits shipping licenses, H.640, tenant rights to purchase apartment buildings, and H.625, protection against eviction, foreclosure, and tax sales. We also started the long process of marking up the Senate affordable housing and rental safety bills, S. 226 and S.210, so you will be hearing more about those in the coming weeks.
On March 16, we had the pleasure of welcoming a contingent from the USS VT naval submarine to the Statehouse on their first-ever namesake State visit. I had the honor of escorting them to meet the Governor, the Lt Governor, the Senate Pro-Tem, and the Speaker of the House, as well as hearing a Resolution read in recognition of their visit and introducing them on the House Floor. Included in this visit were the Commanding Officer, the Chief of the Boat, ten Sailors, the Ship’s Sponsor, the President of the Support Group, and two midshipmen and a naval officer from the Norwich University submarine program. The group left Vermont after a three-day visit with several treasures (maple syrup for the entire crew of the submarine, part of a historic silver tea service from the original USS VT, and paintings of Vermont covered bridges, as well as other works by local artisans that will be installed on the boat). Heartfelt appreciation goes out to former Representative, the Honorable Albert Perry, who played an instrumental and tireless role in arranging this visit, long-delayed by the pandemic.
At the end of the week, Franklin County Reps played host to a local Boy Scout troop with members and leaders from St. Albans, Swanton, Sheldon, Highgate, and Franklin. A highlight of the visit was seeing these young people seated around a conference table in the Governor’s ceremonial office, taking in the awe-inspiring architecture and artwork, and listening in on a floor debate. It has been rewarding to welcome constituents back to the Statehouse after two years of silence in the chambers and corridors.
It is truly an honor to serve as your Representative. Please reach out to me with concerns and comments at [email protected]

Stay well,

Rep Lisa A Hango, Berkshire

Franklin-5

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Legislative Update - 11 March 2022

 

Dear Constituents –

This was crossover week in the House, which means that all bills had to be passed out of policy committees to stay alive. Needless to say, there are many bills (out of 700+ introduced this biennium) that won’t make it into law, but I’ll provide a sampling of those that passed this week in my Committee and on the House Floor. Any bills that affect the revenue of the State or carry an appropriation will go on to a money committee and have their own crossover deadline of next Friday.

 

The House General Committee worked to pass a number of bills this week: H.244, natural organic reduction; H.517, an expansion of the VT National Guard Tuition Benefit Program; H.96 a bill establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission that I voted against because of the potential $3.5M estimated appropriation it will require; and an omnibus alcoholic beverages bill adding Ready to Drink (RTD) spirits beverages that is as yet un-numbered.  A problematic bill that didn’t make it through my Committee was H.329, a broadly defined anti-discrimination bill that would have far-reaching implications on all aspects of employment, education, housing, and public accommodations.

 

On the House Floor, we voted out: H.C.R.108 declaring March 8-11 Early Childhood Week; H.679 the Committee of Conference Budget Adjustment Act report; H.717 Humanitarian aid to the Ukraine ($1 for every Vermonter plus certain liquor receipts), H.517 expansion of the VT National Guard Tuition Benefit Program that I reported favorably on the House Floor; H.680 obtaining a marriage license in any town in Vermont; as well as two bills that I voted against: H.697 allowing reserve forest land to be included in the current use program and H.115 an expansion of household hazardous waste disposal requirements.  Both of these bills would put onerous regulations on landowners and households.

 

This week, I co-chaired the VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus where we received a Global Threats briefing from the National Guard and re-iterated our support for military pension and survivors benefits tax exemptions; the Senate currently has legislation (S.53) on their Floor including provisions that are not entirely satisfactory to the Administration or the Caucus. I also attended the Rural Economic Development Working Group and the first post-COVID meeting of the Legislative Sportsman’s Caucus.

 

It is an honor to serve as your Representative in the Vermont House.  Please feel welcome to reach out to me at [email protected]

 

Stay well,

Rep Lisa A Hango, Berkshire

Franklin-5

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Town Meeting 2022 Legislative Update

                                               2022 Town Meeting Legislative Update

 

Dear Constituents –

 

I regret that I was unable to be in each of my four towns for your Annual Meetings due to scheduling conflicts. This is the second year of a biennium, and the pace has been even faster than usual, as the Legislature works to continue its response to COVID challenges while prioritizing social and environmental equity legislation. While most of the House has returned to work in person, the Senate and legislative staff remains largely remote, which presents a number of challenges to effecting change. By March 8, we anticipate all members and staff will return in person, and our work will (hopefully) be back to « normal » for the first time in two full years.

 

The budget process has taken an unusual turn in that the typically uneventful Budget Adjustment Act has been committed to a Committee of Conference.  There remain enough differences between the House, Senate, and Administration’s priorities and uses of ARPA vs General Fund monies that it was determined that the best way forward was to send this important legislation for a more in-depth conversation.

 

One of the hottest topics in the Legislature that affects all voters is re-districting. The map recommended by the Legislative Apportionment Board (LAB) was presented to the Committee of Jurisdiction, House Government Operations, in November, after BCA input was given ; the Committee declined to take up that map and put forth their own map, which went out to BCAs in late January. All towns should have had the opportunity to weigh in with their preferences in the first two weeks of February.  The Government Ops Committee is currently working their way through the statewide maps, and I am pleased to report that, thanks to your input, our Franklin-5 District is slated to remain as we’ve known it into the next decade.  With respect to our District, please note that Paul Martin (Franklin) tendered his resignation from the House on February 10, and by February 15, the Governor appointed and seated Rep Wayne Laroche of Franklin. I would like to take this opportunity to wish Paul all the best and to congratulate and thank Wayne for taking on this obligation to serve Vermonters. It is crucial that we are appropriately represented in Montpelier, and I am grateful that we are fully represented and that our District will remain untouched by re-districting.

 

The all-important Crossover Date is March 11 for policy bills and March 18 for money bills this session. We continue to work on bills that broaden anti-discriminatory practices in employment (H.320/329), update alcohol statutes (H.178/590), allow for new methods for disposition of human remains (H.244), and address demands for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (H.96), reparations for historical systemic discriminations (H.387), and promote racial and social equity to land access and property ownership (H.273). Bills of note that have already passed the House include : setting Cannabis licensing fees (H.701) ;  a child tax credit bill (H.510) that didn’t consider military retirees, childcare workers, expanded Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs), or student loan debt ; a gun control bill (S.30) ; and a residential contractor registration bill (H.157). The status of bills can be found by logging into the General Assembly website www.legislature.Vermont.gov and typing in a keyword or bill number, which will give you the bill status, as well as its progress through the committee and chambers, including any roll call votes.  You may also find Committee webpages on this homepage ; by clicking on the Committee, you will be able to see the agenda, committee members and email addresses, and any bills or testimony relating to those bills that are on their virtual wall.

 

Also passed this session were two Proposals of Constitutional Amendment : Prop 2, which eliminated slavery of all persons, regardless of age ; prior to this, the Vermont Constitution stated only that slavery was eliminated after age 21. The other amendment, Prop 5, the Reproductive Liberty Amendment, allows for persons of any age or gender to determine their own reproductive needs and to seek care from any provider in the State of Vermont at any time.  This proposed amendment goes over and beyond H.157 of 2019 that enshrined Vermonters’ right to abortion services in statute and broadens the reach to all reproductive procedures. The process of a Constitutional Amendment is threefold : In one biennium, the amendment originates in the Senate, and if it receives a 2/3 vote, goes on to the House for a simple majority vote. In the next biennium, the Senate and then the House must again vote with a simple majority after a public hearing is held.  The language of the amendment then goes to the voters in November, so please take the time to read these two Proposals and become informed. Thank you all for your petitions on these serious issues.

 

I am a regular attendee at the Rural Economic Development Working Group (REDWnG) and the Tourism Caucus, and I am the Co-Chair of the VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus.  Each of these special issues caucuses is a powerful voice within the Legislature and seeks to effect change.  Some of the issues we’ve worked on this session include the VT Creative Futures Act, the On-Farm Accessory Business Act, and a personal income tax exemption for military retirement pay and survivors’ benefits.  Although House and Senate leadership declined to take up the tax exemption, the House General, Housing, and  Military Affairs Committee unanimously passed H.517 that expands scholarship opportunities for National Guard service.

It is an honor and a pleasure to serve you in the Statehouse. Please feel welcome to reach out to me with your concerns at [email protected]

 

Stay well,

Rep Lisa A Hango, Berkshire

Franklin-5

House Committee on General, Housing, and Military Affairs

Co-Chair, VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus

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Legislative Update - 18 February 2022

Legislative Update – 18 February 2022

 

Dear Constituents –

Our week in Montpelier began with the seating of Rep Wayne Laroche of Franklin, replacing former Rep Paul Martin who resigned late last week.  I want to thank Rep Laroche for stepping up to go back into service to Vermonters after three years of retirement and nine years as Commissioner of VT Fish & Wildlife during the Douglas Administration.

The House General Committee started off the week with a presentation by the Commissioner of the Department of Liquor and Lottery on the new class of alcoholic beverages called low alcohol spirits, or « canned cocktails ». We are taking up several alcohol bills to update statutes according to changes in the field and new products. We also did a walk-through of several National Guard-related bills : updates to the National Guard tuition benefit program (H.517) ; minimum qualifications of the Adjutant General (H.207/691) ; and minimum qualifications and appointment of the Adjutant General (H.295). We continued work on an anti-discrimination bill (H.329) and establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (H.96), as well as taking testimony on the social equity in land access and home ownership bill (H.273) and hearing from the Rights and Democracy (RADVT) advocacy group on their legislative priorities.

On the House Floor, several bills passed: Changes to the Charter of the Town of Springfield (H.447) ; amending birth certificates to reflect gender identity (H.628) ; retrieval and disposal of wild animals (H.411) ; exempting property owned by Vermont-recognized North American tribes from property tax (H.556) ; sent the Budget Adjustment Act to a Committee of Conference to further discuss the differences between the Administration, the House, and the Senate on the use of ARPA funds and General Fund monies ; and the residential contractor registration bill (H.157) was postponed until April 20.

The only special interest caucus I was able to attend this week was the REDWnG rural working group, where we heard from the Chair of House Natural Resources, Fish & Wildlife about the bills that they are prioritizing to meet the crossover deadline of March 11.

I look forward to attending or posting an additional update in the next week for your Annual Meetings, so please look for that at your in-person meeting or on your town website for virtual meetings. Please remember that voting this year is in person at your local town polling place on Tuesday, March 1, and you may also call your Town Clerk to request an absentee ballot.

It is an honor to serve as your State Representative. Please reach out to me at [email protected]

Stay well,

Rep Lisa Hango, Berkshire

Franklin-5

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Legislative Update - 11 February 2022

Dear Constituents –

My week’s work in the Statehouse was focused on supporting amendments to H.510, a tax credit bill that the House Ways & Means Committee sponsored by a 7-4-0 committee vote along party lines.  The majority party’s bill, which touted a tax break for individuals and families with children earning up to $200,000 annually  was narrowly focused on this population and excluded many others who need it the most, highlighted in a bill with language proposed by the Scott Administration. That bill, H.527, resides on the wall of House Ways and Means. H.510 ignored approximately 4000 military retirees, 21,000 nurses and childcare workers, and 80,000 Vermonters who struggle making ends meet who would have benefitted from a boost to Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC), social security tax exemptions, student loan interest deductions, and childcare and dependent care tax credits, as outlined in H.527. Both the LeClair and Sibilia amendments did not go forward, and H.527 remains on the wall.  H.510 passed the House and has moved on to the Senate. The VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus, of which I am a Co-Chair, sent a letter to the Senate leadership and Finance Committee calling for action on the military pension and survivors benefits tax exemption.

Other action on the House floor was dominated by the passage of Proposal 5, the Reproductive Liberty Amendment, with impassioned debate on both sides.  I again thank all of my constituents for your postcards, phone calls, and emails – I heard overwhelmingly to vote no, and I did so knowing that I represented your voices , as well as my own beliefs, unequivocally with my vote. Additionally, I voted in the affirmative to expand employee  leave for crime victims (H.477), and against S. 30, an expansion of gun control.

The House General Committee this week held an unprecedented 2-day training by the world-renowned International Center for Transistional Justice on Truth & Reconciliation Commissions and Reparations Task Forces. The leaders of the training are global experts who have worked with South African apartheid, Canadian Indian Schools Reconciliation Canada, Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation, and many other high-level crimes against humanity worldwide. Our Committee is taking continued testimony on H.96, a Truth and Reconciliation bill, as well as a number of other bills that can be found on the General, Housing, and Military Affairs webpage pertaining to reparations and reconciliations.

The VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus heard from Honorary Commanders, who are community leaders embedded in companies throughout Vermont and who provide a liaison between the National Guard and employers. The REDWnG and Tourism Caucuses continue to discuss the progress of bills such as the Creative Futures Act and the On-Farm Accessory Business Act.

It is with regret that I note that my District-mate, Paul Martin of Franklin, has resigned his seat, and I wish him the best.  We are hopeful that his replacement will be appointed in an expedient manner so Franklin-5 has appropriate representation. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected]

Stay well,

Rep Lisa Hango, Berkshire

Franklin-5

 

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Legislative Update - 4 February 2022

Dear Constituents –

Aside from shoveling out from a  generous amount of snow in Montpelier today, which will certainly help our winter tourism industry, members of the General Assembly have been dealing with a copious number of bills that have been introduced .  Most notably, Proposal 2, a proposed constitutional amendment clarifying the prohibition on slavery and indentured servitude passed today in the House by a roll call vote of 139-3 in the second of a two-biennium process. Voters will see this amendment on the Statewide November ballot.  Most members have returned to the Statehouse this week, which really energizes the building, but there remains a Zoom option strictly for those who have COVID-related reasons to be at home ; after nearly two years at home on Zoom, I am happy to see the Peoples’ House being used again.

Among others, the following bills passed by voice vote this week : H.701 relating to setting cannabis license fees, H.367 perpetual care of cemeteries, and H. 489 miscellaneous health insurance provisions. H.320, a bill that I’ve spoken in opposition of, relating to allowing re-hiring of an employee with whom the employer has reached a settlement of discrimination, passed by a roll call vote of 91-37.  Several Joint Resolutions were also adopted.  For anyone who wishes to learn more about the bills that are being taken up, please visit the General Assembly website at www.legislature.Vermont.gov , type in the bill number or a keyword ; you may also go to individual committee webpages from there to view what each House or Senate committee is working on, and the daily Calendar and Journal of each Chamber is accessed from the General Assembly home page.

In the House General Committee, our work has been focused on H.477 a bill that would protect an alleged crime victim’s (or their close family member’s) right to take unpaid leave from their place of employment to attend a hearing regarding the alleged crime. We’ve also continued to take testimony on H.273 relating to land access and property ownership, H.329 prohibitions against discrimination, H.387 establishing a Reparations Task Force for the institution of Chattel Slavery, and H.96 establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Task Commission for the eugenics apology Resolution that was passed last year. These are all incredibly complex, time-consuming, and difficult subjects, and it is my hope that they will not be rushed through to meet the crossover date in March or the end of the biennium in May ; they deserve deep, thoughtful discourse and careful consideration, something this Legislature doesn’t seem to have the propensity for.

In special issues caucus news, I attended the Rural Economic Development Caucus and the Tourism Caucus this week.  The Vermont National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus held a successful press conference on Wednesday with bi-partisan Caucus and Administration speakers who called for the need to address the fact that Vermont is one of only three states that does not offer any type of military pension tax relief. We Co-Chairs were pleased to receive a press statement released by Governor Scott commending our Caucus for supporting this important issue.

As always, please reach out to me at [email protected]

Stay well,

Rep Lisa A Hango, Berkshire

Franklin-5

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Legislative Update - 28 January 2022

Dear Constituents –

This week at the Statehouse was packed  – the House General Committee heard multiple bill introductions each day ; ranging from cemetery ownership  to collective bargaining provisions, employment discrimination policies, tenant rights, a full slate of alcohol related bills, and Native American/Abenaki affairs. The Committee passed out H.320, an act that prohibits agreements that prevent an employee from working for the employer following the settlement of a discrimination claim (8-3-0, along party lines) ; I voted against this bill, along with two of my colleagues, on the basis of serious concerns that we hadn’t heard enough testimony from employers on this legislation.

On the House floor, we passed : H.654, extending flexibility for COVID-19 regulations in healthcare, including provisions for out of state professionals and telehealth services ; H.462, a miscellaneous Dept of Health bill ; H.466, a bill relating to surface water withdrawals and inter basin transfers, which I did not feel was in the best interests of our region, and S.30, a gun control bill that did not have the support of 49 tri-partisan members of the General Assembly, including myself.

I was only able to attend two special issues caucuses due to scheduling conflicts this week : Rural Economic Development, where we discussed the Working Lands Enterprise Program, and the Vermont Creative Network ; and the Tourism Caucus, which focused on workforce development in the hospitality industry. Many of these issues affect our rural economy, and I am pleased to be learning more about the programs that can help Vermonters recover from the pandemic and move forward in a positive way.

The House Appropriations Committee continues their important work taking testimony on the Governor’s FY’23 proposed Budget, and it is interesting to observe the process in a year where not only does the State have surplus funds, but the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) also is infusing the coffers .

I truly appreciate every one of the postcards I’ve received on Proposal 5 (the Reproductive Liberty Amendment – a vaguely worded proposal to amend the Vermont Constitution), and my vote will reflect the voice of my constituents and my beliefs - a resounding no.

Please continue to reach out to me with questions and concerns at [email protected]

Stay well,

Representative Lisa A Hango, Berkshire

Franklin-5

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Legislative Update - 21 January 2022

Legislative Update – 21 January 2022

Dear Constituents –

This week marked the first full week that Legislators were invited back to the Statehouse to work in 22 months. Members who had a COVID-related reason to stay at home were accommodated via Zoom, so a hybrid model similar to what the Senate is using was in effect. It was important to me to be back in person to be able to fully execute my responsibility to my constituents.  Meeting other members in person throughout the day is crucial to the dynamics of being a Legislator.  In just one week, I was able to mediate discussion between members who had opposing views, engage in spontaneous conversations with various parties who wanted to weigh in on the issue, and seek last-minute information on bills before us. On the flip side, having the hybrid option provided a recorded livestream for me to review in the evenings that I was made aware of – after all, we can only be in one committee meeting at a time !

On Tuesday, we heard the Governor’s Budget Address for the upcoming year, and we were able to pass the Budget Adjustment Act (updating funding provided by the previous year’s budget) by Friday. This was a much faster process than in previous years, but there were important recommendations included in the BAA that can be acted on immediately by the passage of the bill, H.679. Additionally on the House floor, we dealt with bills held over from last session; H.157 relating to registration of residential contractors and S.78 relating to binding arbitration for members of the Judiciary. Both of these bills were problematic to me in that they were not requested by the populations they affect, and both are adding more layers of bureaucracy.

In the House General Committee, we focused on Homelessness Awareness, holding a joint hearing with House Human Services and a vigil for our homeless population on Wednesday. Legislation related to this issue includes H.93 the Homelessness Bill of Rights.  We also took up several bills relating to discrimation (H.320, H.329), land access/ownership equity (H.273), and employment leave (H.477). We heard updates and testimony from affordable housing advocates and organizations, as well as the National Guard on employment rights and tuition benefits.

I attended special issues caucuses throughout the week with the Older Vermonters Caucus, the Rural Economic Development Working Group, the Tourism Caucus, and the Womens Caucus. A myriad of topics were covered in each of these meetings, but one I found particularly relevant to our area was testimony from the operators of Jay Peak and Smugglers Notch ski areas regarding their challenges with the lack of Canadian tourists and the pressures on the housing market and childcare facilities that are driving a shortage of employees. Both of these attractions are important economic drivers to the economy of northern Vermont, and we will do all that we can within the Legislature to support their needs.

Please reach out at me at [email protected]  It is an honor to serve you at the Statehouse.

Stay well,

Rep Lisa A Hango, Berkshire

Franklin-5

Co-Chair, VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus

 

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Legislative Update - 14 January 2022

Legislative Update – 14 January 2022

 

Dear Constituents –

Our second week back in the virtual Legislature featured a packed schedule – Committees worked on their responses to the Budget Adjustment memo, heard introductions of new bills, and took testimony on bills from last year. The House General Committee was thoughtful in our response to the ask for housing funding in the budget, and I hope that our comments will be helpful to the Appropriations Committee that has the task of approving those requests. New bills that were introduced are on human rights issues, and holdover bills include several on discrimination and employment practices.  We will continue to take testimony on the ones that are prioritized by House leadership. We also discussed two bills from last session that were on the House calendar and postponed one legislative day, S.78 a collective bargaining bill for the Judiciary, and H.157 the requirement for registration of residential contractors.  Both are scheduled for a vote by the full House next week.

On the House floor, we voted out two additional bills relating to temporary elections measures S.222 and S.223. These bills give your municipalities additional options to hold their annual meetings and handle candidate petitions and school ballots in a safe manner during the continuing Omicron wave. Floor time on Friday was devoted to much discussion about a House Rules Resolution H.R.14 that will enable us to safely return in person to the Statehouse on the 18th and H.589, the first of two re-districting bills that we will take up. In regards to H.589, many Boards of Civil Authority have already weighed in on a map that was sent out and approved by the Legislative Apportionment Board in November; the House Government Operations Committee chose to not use that “majority” map for their bill and instead used the “alternate” map.  This bill appears to be moving forward, and the Committee has assured the Legislature that BOTH maps will be sent out to BCA’s for the second round, with comments due back by February 15, so please be on the lookout for those maps and be sure to send feedback if you serve on your community’s BCA if it is passed. This is a once in a decade process, and it directly affects how your district is represented in the Legislature for the next ten years.

Special issues Caucuses this week included:  the National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus, of which I am a Co-Chair, with VTNG Family Programs discussing support for deployed units returning home and the Secretary of State’s Office on the challenges of voting from remote locations overseas; the Older Vermonters Caucus on Medicaid reimbursement rates and the need for more Adult Day programs; the REDWnG Rural development working group on an omnibus bill that encompasses many of the needs we heard on a forest economy tour this Fall; and the Tourism Caucus on how marketing and pandemic relief dollars are being spent.  Due to the House floor session running overtime, the Women’s Caucus did not meet this week.

Please continue to reach out with concerns and questions. [email protected]

Stay well,

Rep Lisa A Hango, Berkshire

Franklin-5

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Legislative Update - 7 January 2022

                                     Legislative Update – 07 January 2022

Dear Constituents – Happy New Year!

A new Legislative session has begun, but the reality for many legislators is that we continue to work in the off-session; assisting constituents, collaborating with special issues caucuses, and seeking information. After adjourning on May 21, the General Assembly met via Zoom on June 23 for a veto session and December 8 for a fiscal briefing, and we held in-person voting at the Statehouse on November 21 and January 4. The House General (my committee) and House Human Services Committees also held an in-person joint hearing on October 18 to discuss housing and related supportive services. Aside from those official meetings, there were special issues caucus meetings, economic development tours (I participated in a forest economy tour of Franklin and Lamoille Counties), and local events relating to Lake Carmi, the Franklin County State Airport, workforce development at Kaytec (with the Cold Hollow Career Center), and Moving Richford Forward.

The Vermont National Guard Caucus, of which I am a Co-Chair, re-branded itself to the VT National Guard & Veterans Affairs Caucus, to better reflect our mission of being a liaison between the military and veterans, families, employers, and legislators. We welcomed partner organizations into our Caucus, including the Governors’ Veterans Advisory Council, the VT Veterans Administration, the National Guard Family Support Group, and the USS Vermont Submarine Support Group; they continue to provide us with information that assists us in understanding the legislature’s role with Vermont’s military organizations. We also held our first Public Hearing on Veterans Affairs on October 28, where we heard overwhelmingly that Vermont needs to be competitive with other states by exempting military retirement pay from taxation, something we have been advocating for as a Caucus throughout our first year. We also heard from individuals that there need to be more mental health supports for veterans, which is being echoed throughout our country in schools, hospitals, and community settings.

The General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee spent this week taking testimony on several employment anti-discrimination, collective bargaining, and alcohol bills, and we are working on our response to the Budget Adjustment Act letter, which is due on January 11 and contains important affordable housing language.

The General Assembly saw limited floor time, passing routine Resolutions and fast-tracking S.172 giving municipalities the option to hold their Annual Meetings remotely again in 2022.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected]

Stay well,

Rep Lisa A Hango

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