Dear Constituents –
This was the first week of the Legislative session for the second year of the biennium, and what a week it was! My committee, General, Housing, and Military Affairs, hit the ground at a sprint, passing off both Paid Family Leave (H.107) and Minimum Wage (S.23), two cornerstones of the majority party’s agenda, to Committees of Conference in the first two days of the session. I voted against this, wanting to hear more testimony about the affects to our small businesses and healthcare facilities and to take more time to craft thoughtful legislation that incorporates the Administration’s goals of affordability for all Vermonters.These pieces of legislation will return to the House floor when the Committees have completed their work of aligning the Senate and House versions, and I anticipate having to vote against both bills in order to not raise payroll taxes on all Vermonters and put small businesses out of business.
Aside from those two major bills, a number of other bills are being introduced and sent to committees of jurisdiction so we can hear testimony on their merits and pitfalls. Breakfast, Caucus, and lunchtime this week have been a flurry of activity as my colleagues explain the purpose of their bills and solicit co-signers and supporters. There are any number of good bills out there - legislators really do have their constituents’ needs foremost in their priorities - but the reality is that a bill will only see the light of day if the majority leadership deems it worthy to be taken up off the Committee wall, or if a legislator advocates for it – so please let us know if a particular bill is important to you so that we can advocate for it! I personally have signed on to a number of bills, including an important one having to do with texting/speeding and driving in work zones that arose from a plea for safety at a Transportation Advisory Council meeting I attended in the off-season. As always, time was too short, and the rest of my week was taken up with participating in after-hours School Board and RISE-VT meetings, digesting the Governor’s State of the State address, and discussing the Budget Adjustment with my committee. After such a long break, it was nice to be back in Montpelier, experiencing “city” life, and renewing connections with my fellow legislators, but it felt even better to drive home to Franklin County at the end of the week. I continue to be honored and grateful to represent you. Please feel free to contact me with your concerns and comments.
Representative Lisa A Hango