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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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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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