This legislative session began on Jan. 7, and got off to a fast start.
Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife (my assigned committee) picked up right where we left off.
The major focus is still on the rewrite and update of Act 250, with hopes of having it leave our committee this session. We have also been looking at the cannabis bill and making recommendations on the parts that relate to natural resources.
At this point in the session we are spending most of our time in committee meetings, with work in the House Chamber being minimal. When we do meet, the focus is on the introduction of the many new bills and their assignment to the various committees. There are hundreds of bills that have been and still are being introduced, most of which will go nowhere.
The topics to keep an eye on are, paid family leave, transportation climate initiative(TCI), cannabis, minimum wage, Act 250, and several firearms bills.
During the first week of the session the Governor gave his state of the State Address. Shortly after the start of the address climate change protesters interrupted the proceedings. The Governor gave them more than ample time to make their point. But when they wouldn’t stop, the police assisted them in leaving the House Chamber, and the proceedings went on.
This is a election year, and in the State House there is already a lot of discussion about who is going to run for what office. There are lots of rumors, conjecture, and speculation floating around the State House.
Some people have made decisions, but a number are still pondering and weighing their options. It will be interesting to see how it all works out.
Thank you for contacting me about your concerns and ideas. I can not immediately solve problems, but I can have conversations with people about things that you feel are important. I have to vote on bills that impact our voting district as well as the whole State so the more you can help me the better. Some of bills I vote on are quite complex and have far reaching ramifications. I am well aware that I don’t and can’t please everyone, but keep me informed and I’ll do the best I can. Thanks again.
Please reach out to us with your questions or concerns: Rep. Lee Morgan at 802-318-0227 or firstname.lastname@example.org or
Speaker Mitzi Johnson at 802-363-4448 or email@example.com
As is tradition for the Speaker of the House, I kicked off the session with the opening day remarks to the House of Representatives. I’d like to share with you the requests I made to my colleagues:
“The first ask is for civility and respect- for each other, for the many people that work throughout this building, and for the many Vermonters that come to us to weigh in on the issues affecting their lives.
The rhetoric at the national level is unprecedented. It is dangerous. It threatens our ability to engage in the productive discussion and debate that is foundational to our work. And I see signs of it creeping into our beloved human-scaled, community-based democracy here in Vermont.
That disregard of civility and respect will NOT happen here on my watch. I expect you to hold me accountable to that standard as well.
This leads to my second ask. It’s one that each of us- myself included- will probably find challenging at some point over the next few months.
I’d like you to trust that every person you interact with here in this building is honoring Vermont’s past and caring about its future, honoring Vermont’s past and caring about its future.
In my time here, I cannot think of a single person whose entire purpose was to be angry and obstinate or to ruin Vermont through whatever your version of disaster looks like.
Every person you meet here is working to protect something to which they feel loyal or is trying change a situation to reduce harm or improve hope.
You may not agree with their goals or their methods, but if you start with the premise that they are attempting- as you are- to create an even better future for Vermont, it may lead to a more productive discussion of what is important to each of you, and a better understanding of how to get there together.
My last ask is hopefully a little more fun. Get to know a few more colleagues. Break bread with someone outside your committee or party, or age group, or county.
One of my favorite evenings of the session is an annual dinner at the home of colleagues- my friends- who are across both the aisle and the state.
Building relationships is critical to having difficult and productive conversations. Ask someone who thinks differently than you do, ‘Which worries for our future keep you up at night?’, and ‘What inspires you?’
This is a team sport, and it’s up to us to make our teams as inclusive as our state. We’ll do this work better if we understand each other.
Our different experiences, cultures, ideas, and backgrounds, weave stable communities and a healthier future for Vermont.
I look forward to continuing that work with each of you. “
Please reach out to us with your questions or concerns: Speaker Mitzi Johnson at 802-363-4448 or firstname.lastname@example.org
and Rep. Lee Morgan at 802-318-0227 or email@example.com