Let’s rename news channels, opinion channels

I write to support that the major news channels be renamed the opinion channels. I suggest that Bernie Sanders has made that the case. I don’t think that I have ever met Bernie but maybe. I have followed his political career as a lot of Vermonters have. It’s been quite interesting for the 50 percent of people who pay much attention to political issues such as Bernie. He makes good material for them/us. However he was never, repeat never, a person who would make a serious presidential candidate. That doesn’t mean that he would not make a good president. He just might make one. That possibilty is what scares the major political parties and people who are active in political activity. Haven’t we learned that from the current president?

Bernard J. Keefe, Jr.

Fairfax

My thoughts on paid family leave bill and its costs

Last week, in House Ag and Forestry we delved deeper into the Tree Warden Bill, H.673 and found potential conflicts of interest. We have asked those parties with a dog in the fight to work out a possible solution while we consider how the Emerald Ash Borer and Spotted Lanternfly require we be prepared to effectively and efficiently mitigate ecological and economic harm.

H.794, the Limited Liability for Agritourism Bill is moving forward in hopes that we can provide lower liability insurance opportunities for farmers who invite guests onto their land or operation. Other states have managed well with similar protections. It functions via prescribed signage, which has been used for decades on ski mountains, etc.

H.793 would direct AAFM and FPR to study the possible agricultural and forestry benefits of biochar, which is organic matter after it has been heated without oxygen in a process called pyrolysis. Like charcoal, it is black, porous and high in carbon. It is used worldwide to filter or bind many pollutants or nutrients like: phosphorus, nitrogen, methane, nitrous oxide, ammonia and more. Biochar can be used as a fertilizer, or supplement in animal feed.

The biggest news of the week is that H.107, Paid Family Leave, failed to override Governor Scott’s veto by one vote. I voted NO on earlier versions of H.107, feeling they were too ambitious and expensive. When it came back to the House from the Committee of Conference, I had not had time to dissect each line of the bill. In my commitment to not vote for any broad policy change that I do not fully understand and support, I voted NO again. Side note Abstaining, aka “walking” on a vote, is an act of cowardice. Then, I read and researched all 57 pages and noted H.107’s conservative shift in benefits and cost, while protecting businesses. I also studied Rhode Island’s success with Paid Medical Leave (1942) and Paid Family Leave (2013) as they have a similar population, household income and state budget to Vermont. I came to understand that well-crafted PFL could stabilize workers and help small, rural businesses compete against larger and urban-placed businesses for quality employees. It also provides incentive for wage earners to move into Vermont. If you would like to have a direct conversation with me, please email cfegard@leg.state.vt.us.

I expect upcoming fuel tax and minimum wage votes to be high profile and am a firm NO on both. While those measures may hold some benefit in urban areas, they will harm our rural communities.

Sincerely,

Rep Charen Fegard

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