Feb. 23 - Feb. 26:
This past week was the last session prior to the Town Meeting week, Legislative break.
We reconvene on Tuesday, March 9.
On the Floor of the House this week, several bills were passed for movement over to the Senate and their consideration. H.135 was passed, which was a bill imposing a set of Ethics Standards for senior elected officials in the state. We were only one of three states without this provision, so movement is being made with respect to better transparency in our State Government.
We also passed a very important bill, H.315, which delivers $79 million in COVID relief funds for small businesses, farmers, school children, mental health programs, poor Vermonters and the homeless. $10 million will go to small businesses that have not qualified for CARES Act funds and are on the brink of closure/shutdown/bankruptcy.
The House “fast tracked” this bill to the Senate for approval and then on to the Governor for signature. I expect both of those actions to happen quickly.
The House also passed HR.8, which is a resolution extending the emergency order for the House to stay in the remote work mode through the 15th of May.
In my committee, House Corrections and Institutions, we had a lot more testimony on our Committee bill. This bill, by design, will primarily address concerns stemming from past issues in the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility (CRCF).
The bill doesn’t only direct attention only at CRCF but in other areas of Corrections that need some Legislative action/intervention.
Also, in that vein, we took further testimony on our “Good Time” bill which addresses giving credit to inmates for good behavior as long as they also meet metrics of their treatment and rehabilitation programs (not necessarily drug rehabilitation, but programs that help re-assimilate them into society).
We also worked with the House Education Committee on portions of a bill that addresses school construction funding.
There will be a one-week lag in our reporting due to no House sessions next week.
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