I know that Covid-19 has had a major impact on our lives but I hope that everyone enjoyed their summer to the best of their ability. The legislature temporarily adjourned at the end of June and officially restarted on August 25th. My time away from the legislature was spent completing my duties as a lister, operating the store and renovating the house. The current plan laid out by leadership is to be adjourned by the beginning of October but with the caveat that completing the budget is what drives the schedule. My hope is that we complete this necessary work in a timely manner and that we stay focused on budget and Covid-19 issues.  

I serve on the House Human Services Committee where we are currently discussing childcare and youth rehabilitation issues both programmatically and budgetarily. We have discussed the governor’s proposal for hubs to be started around the state to provide our school aged youth with supervision, technology and other education support on their remote learning days. The program is designed to create 10,000 new childcare slots. This program would run through DCF rather than the Agency of Education. Federal money would be used to start up hubs then parents would pay tuition on a sliding scale.  

We have also spent significant time discussing the shut down of the Woodside youth rehabilitation center and state plans for providing much needed services for the justice involved youth population. The state’s interim plan is to contract out services while building a more permanent state-run program that serves this population in a better way than the current facility allows. The committee’s position is that we will continue to pursue policies that best serve our justice involved youth.  

As a body, the House debated and voted on a House Amendment of S.233 An Act Related to Uniform Licensing Requirements which allows for greater ease in service members transferring their military licenses to Vermont civilian licensure and a smoother transfer process for those currently licensed in other jurisdictions that are seeking licensure in Vermont. We also debated and voted on S.337 An act relating to energy efficiency entities and programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the thermal energy and transportation sectors. The most significant aspect of this bill is that it empowers the Public Utility Commission to authorize an approved entity to spend a portion of its electric resource acquisition budget, in an amount not to exceed $2,000,000.00 per year, on programs, measures, and services that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the thermal energy or transportation sectors.

I will continue to provide updates as the session progresses.  

As always it is truly and honor to serve as state representative for the people of Bakersfield, Fairfield, and Fletcher. Please contact me at jgregoire@leg.state.vt.us with questions or concerns.

James Gregoire

State Representative

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