March 15-19, 2021
We are now well into the second half of our 2021 Legislative Session. The “Crossover” period is now complete as this past week was the last opportunity for Bill introduction that has a monetary component to it. Many Bills each day are now coming up for passage in the House. Three that I’d like to highlight are: A) H.218 titled: The Sale of Unpasteurized Milk. This Bill had a great amount of spirited debate. Of the two sides of the coin were those that felt we had come a long way with the pasteurization process and they did not want to see health issues develop by dropping this standard. The other camp was about freedom to choose on how one gets their dairy product of milk. The Bill handily passed and farmers, with regulation in place will now be able to expand selling milk in this manner. B) H.149 titled: Modernizing Statutes Related to the Vermont National Guard. Basically, passage of this bill deleted some antiquated language that is no longer applicable to the operation of the Guard. It also adds longer State Active Duty protections for members when called up for State emergencies. C) H.227 titled: City of Winooski Charter Amendments. I highlight this one as this Bill, since passed, allows non-citizens of the city to vote in local election issues. This had a huge amount of debate, as many are concerned about this expanding beyond local elections. Note: All Bills have to pass both chambers and signed by the Governor to be enacted.
In my committee, House Corrections and Institutions, we wrapped up final pieces of needed testimony for our Capital Bill that had to be wrapped up and submitted by Friday, March 19. We spent many long days this past week to get this completed on time to meet the “Crossover” deadline that I spoke of above. In this Bill we took the Governor’s recommended budget numbers and worked through final numbers with the testimony and lengthy discussions with our Committee members. Included in this Bill are things such as: Funding for Vermont State College infrastructure, University of Vermont infrastructure assistance, State Building modernization and maintenance, Historic preservation projects, Underwater diving park maintenance, Grant programs for Clean Water initiatives, State Park maintenance, numerous Fish and Wildlife projects, Vermont State Military (for the National Guard) Armory maintenance, Public Safety projects in regards to State Police barracks upgrades and construction, and Rural Fire Protection support. These are about half of the many things located in this 34 page, draft bill.
Vaccine roll-out for COVID-19 has been hugely stepped up. See the various websites and notices throughout multiple media sites for information regarding the dates of availability for each age group.
Stay Safe – Stay Well.
representing you in montpelier