Dear Constituents –
This was a hectic week in the virtual Statehouse, as bills came to the House floor after crossover, other bills came over from the Senate to be referred to House Committees, and bills carrying appropriations or fees came out of the money committees at a fast pace.
My week began on Monday at a virtual Legislative Day with the Vermont Retail Grocers Association and a panel discussion with adult higher education students sponsored by VSAC, both very informative and worthwhile presentations. Later in the week, I attended the virtual Disability Awareness Day Legislative Panel, which was a rewarding event to witness.
On the House floor, we passed quite a few bills this week dealing with the judiciary, mental health legislation, updating and clarifying statutes of the National Guard, State publications, alcoholic beverage, agriculture and energy subjects, and we extended deadlines on healthcare provisions passed during the COVID crisis. All of these bills will go on to the Senate for their consideration. I am very disappointed that legislation to exempt military pension benefits from Vermont personal income taxes did not advance out of the Ways and Means Committee, despite a position letter in support for the concept being drafted by the National Guard Caucus and distributed to House and Committee leadership.
The General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee spent the week hearing new bill introductions and focusing primarily on JRH.2, which is an apology for State-sanctioned eugenics practices, legislation that we have been working on for several years.
Thursday evening brought some of the Franklin County legislative delegation to the Highgate Selectboard to discuss the expansion project moving forward at the Franklin County State Airport.This is an important economic development program for the entire region, and in our opinion, this is one of the most important projects to come before voters in Franklin County in recent history. The potential for increased economic activity would be an invaluable resource for our region, especially as we seek to re-open our economy and trade with our international and bordering state neighbors.
At Friday morning’s meeting of the Tourism Caucus, the topic was an introductory discussion about registration of short-term rental properties. There are a few bills in the pipeline that seek to register all rental housing, short-term rental housing, and/or add regulation and inspection of those types of units. There is much testimony to be taken on these issues, and language will be amended, merged, and discarded over the next couple of months.
As the good news of more age bands for vaccination opening up comes to us, I ask you to continue to exercise vigilance as you are out in the community. Please reach out to me at LHango@leg.state.vt.us or www.hangoforhouse.com with your concerns or comments.
Rep Lisa A Hango