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Political Issues/Comments / News from Montpelier Special Session 2021
« on: November 23, 2021, 01:35:13 PM »
The Senate and House members convened in Special Session on Monday November 23, 2021 in response to the Governor’s proclamation. The text of the proclamation is included in the House Journal for the Session.  https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2021.1/Docs/JOURNAL/hj211122.pdf   Both chambers introduced a trio of resolutions that set the rules to govern and inform the other body and Governor that they had organized. The House was recessed until the Senate’s completion of action on S.1. https://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2021.1/S.1 Upon receipt of the bill from the Senate the House referred it to the Committee on Government Operations. The Committee took testimony and came back to present it to the Members with the recommendation that it be passed.  An amendment was offered removing the authority for a criminal penalty to be imposed for the infraction of a mask mandate rule which failed on a vote of 46 ayes and 85 nays. The bill was passed in concurrence on a roll call vote of 90 ayes and 41 nays.

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Political Issues/Comments / News from Montpelier 2021 veto session
« on: June 23, 2021, 02:52:46 PM »
The Speaker called the House to order Wednesday, June 23rd at 10:00 AM to respond to the Governor’s vetoes of H. 177 an act relating to approval of an amendment to the charter of the City of Montpelier and H.227 an act relating to approval of an amendment to the charter of the City of Winooski. The Calendar for the day has the text of the veto message from the Governor on each bill. https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/CALENDAR/hc210623.pdf . All one hundred fifty Representatives were in attendance for the votes and both bills passed notwithstanding the Governor’s refusal to approve them on a vote of 103 ayes to 47 nays. The Roll Call votes are recorded in the Journal of the day’s actions. https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/JOURNAL/hj210623.pdf
Other action included the announcement of the Speaker’s appointments to several committees, the adoption of J.R.H.10 Joint resolution relating to final adjournment of the General Assembly 2021 and subsequent adjournment on its provisions after directing the Clerk to inform the Senate that the House had completed its business.

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Rep. Christie sang ‘These Green Hills’ to open the Floor Friday in celebration of the anticipated adjournment. Two bills on the day’s calendar were S.79 an act relating to improving rental housing health and safety and S.78 an act relating to binding interest arbitration for employees of the Vermont Judiciary. Rules suspension was denied to complete actions on S.79 and it will remain on the House calendar as will S.78 upon a request that it be postponed one legislative day.
Throughout the week rules were suspended multiple times to shuttle legislation between the chambers and to message actions.  Those that were passed by the House included S.22 an act relating to health care practitioners administering stem cell products not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, S.48 an act relating to Vermont’s adoption of the interstate Nurse Licensure Compact, H.435 an act relating to miscellaneous Department of Corrections related amendments, S.13 an act relating to Pupil Weighting Factors Report, S.101 an act relating to promoting housing choice and opportunity in smart growth areas, H.225 an act relating to possession of a therapeutic dosage of buprenorphine, H.171 an act relating to the governance and financing of Vermont’s child care system , S.7 an act relating to expanding access to expungement and sealing of criminal history records, H.444 an act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the City of Barre, H.88 an act relating to the use value appraisal program, H.337 an act relating to the printing and distribution of State publications, H.122 an act relating to boards and commissions, S.97 an act relating to miscellaneous judiciary procedures, H.183 an act relating to sexual violence, S.25 an act relating to miscellaneous cannabis regulation procedures, H.135 an act relating to the State Ethics Commission, H.443 an act relating to approval of the merger of the Wilmington Water District with the Town of Wilmington, H.313 an act relating to miscellaneous amendments to alcoholic beverage laws, S.115 an act relating to making miscellaneous changes in education laws, H.454 an act relating to approval of an amendment to the charter of the City of Burlington, S.62 an act relating to employee incentives, technical education, an d unemployment insurance, H.106 an act relating to equitable access to a high-quality education through community schools, S.3 an act relating to competency to stand trial and insanity as a defense, S.97 an act relating to miscellaneous judiciary procedures, H.289 an act relating to professions and occupations regulated by the Office of Professional Regulation, H.436 an act relating to miscellaneous changes to Vermont’s tax laws, H.431 an act relating to miscellaneous energy subjects, S.62 an act relating to employee incentives, technical education, and unemployment insurance and J.R.S.24 Joint resolution relating to amending temporary Joint Rule 22A.
Committee of conference reports were adopted for H.433 an act relating to the Transportation Program and miscellaneous changes to laws related to transportation, H.449 an act relating to the membership and duties of the Vermont Pension Investment Commission and the creation of the Pension Benefits, Design, and Funding Task Force, H. 360 an act relating to accelerated community broadband deployment and finally H.439 an act relating to making appropriations for the support of government which passed on a roll call vote of 148 yays to 0 nays.
After farewell words from Leadership and the Governor the session adjourned at 4:52 PM pursuant to J.R.S. 29 Joint resolution relating to final adjournment of the General Assembly 2021. 

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This is not the last week of session, but Committees of Conference have been convened for the critical bills. These conference committees held meetings to negotiate a consensus recommendation on H.433 an act relating to the Transportation Program and miscellaneous changes to laws related to transportation, H.439 an act relating to making appropriations to the support of government, and H.449 an act relating to the membership and duties of the Vermont Pension Investment Commission and the creation of the Pension Benefits, Design, and Funding Task Force. A Committee of Conference has also been convened for H.360 an act relating to accelerated community broadband deployment. H .R.11 House resolution further extending the House’s declaration of a state of emergency and authorizing alternative procedures as necessary thereafter was adopted. The target is still to adjourn session next weekend with dates set to return in June for a veto session if it is necessary.   
Action on the House Floor included multiple roll calls on amendments and phases of passage of S.15 an act relating to correcting defective ballots. https://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2022/S.15 The link is to where further information on these votes can be found.  J.R.H.6 joint resolution relating to racism as a public health emergency was adopted by a roll call of 135 yeas to 8 nays but a vote to suspend rules and expedite the House action to the Senate failed on a roll call of 99 yeas to 42 nays, as that vote requires a three-quarter majority of those present. S.3 an act relating to competency to stand trial and insanity as a defense was also passed on a roll call vote of 143 yeas to 0 nays to concur with further instance of amendment.
 Other bills which passed this week included H.420 an act relating to miscellaneous agricultural subjects, H.438 an act relating to capital construction and State bonding, H.171 an act relating to the governance and financing of Vermont’s child care system, H.177 an act relating to approval of an amendment to the charter of the City of Montpelier, H.428 an act relating to hate-motivated crimes and misconduct, H.430 an act relating to eligibility for Dr. Dynasaur-like coverage for all income-eligible children and pregnant individuals regardless of immigration status, H.426 an act relating to addressing the needs and conditions of public school facilities in the State, S.47 an act relating to motor vehicle manufacturers, dealers, and warranty or service facilities and S.22 an act relating to health care practitioners administering stem cell products not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  Of these bills some passed in concurrence and several with further amendment for the Senate to respond to. 
J.R.H.2 joint resolution sincerely apologizing and expressing sorrow and regret to all individual Vermonters and their families and descendants who were harmed as a result of State-sanctioned eugenics policies and practices passed with a further amendment to the Senate’s proposal of amendment.  The General, Housing, and Military Affairs committee recommended a small change to the changes made by the work of the Senate after reviewing the Senate actions with a representative of the Office of Legislative Council. Committees are on standby to respond to action on bills that are returning from the Senate for the most part but are also able to take testimony on bills that may remain ‘on the wall’ for action when the General Assembly reconvenes in January.
Representative Barbara S Murphy              bmurphy@leg.state.vt.us            802-849-6545

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Monday’s token session moved the bills on notice to the action calendar which meant a dozen bills and one joint resolution were queued up for action Tuesday.  Of those only seven remained after requests for postponement were agreed to.  J.R.S. 24 a resolution relating to amending temporary Joint Rule 22A was sent to the House Rules committee after being postponed twice last week. Joint Rule 22A authorizes the Joint Rules Committee to permit joint committees of the General Assembly to meet and vote electronically.  The authority is tied to the Governor’s declaration of a state of emergency and is being reviewed to consider a continuation beyond that end date. H.R.10 House resolution reaffirming the friendship between Vermont and the Republic of China (Taiwan) and supporting enhanced United States-Taiwan bilateral relations and Taiwan’s role in the international community was adopted as were House Concurrent Resolutions 58 through 63. https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/CALENDAR/hc210506a.pdf
During the week’s Floor sessions the  House passed S.39 an act relating to the Judicial Branch fee report and electronic filing fees, H.46 an act relating to miscellaneous provisions of mental health law, H.104 an act relating to considerations in facilitating the interstate practice of health care professional s using telehealth in concurrence with the Senate or their proposal of amendment, H.108 an act relating to Vermont standards for issuing a Clean Water Act section 401 certification, H.443 an act relating to approval of the merger of the Wilmington Water district with the Town of Wilmington, S.16 an act relating to the creation of the Task Force on School Exclusionary Discipline Reform, S.20 an act relating to restrictions on perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances and other chemicals of concern in consumer products, S.124 an act relating to miscellaneous utility subjects, S.115 an act relating to making miscellaneous changes in education laws. H.210 an act relating to addressing disparities and promoting equity in the health care system, H.421 an act relating to animal cruelty investigation response and training and H.434 an act relating to establishing the Agricultural Innovation Board. The only roll call vote of the week was requested on the second reading of S.20 and resulted in a vote of 145 ayes to 0 nays.
The General, Housing and Military Affairs committee voted S.79 an act relating to improving rental housing health and safety out of committee with proposed amendments Thursday on a vote of 8-3-0. The bill will be reviewed by both money committees before being placed on the calendar for action. Other agenda items for the committee included discussion of S.78 and H.313 and a presentation from Rights and Democracy Vermont (RADVT). The presentation focused on the barriers that prevent many, especially historically disenfranchised people from finding housing suitable and affordable for families. The Housing Recovery Working Group made budget recommendations during a session with the committee followed by a presentation on a variety of housing solutions in the State. The Executive Director or Grounded Solutions Network brought a national perspective to the discussion of Community Land Trusts.
Representative Barbara S Murphy              bmurphy@leg.state.vt.us            802-849-6545

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Political Issues/Comments / News from Montpelier 2021 session week 16
« on: April 30, 2021, 04:03:46 PM »
The final weeks are at hand and this is evidenced by Monday’s token session to move the Floor Calendar forward. The Speaker announced before adjournment Friday that a token session would be held again next Monday. Senate morning committees are moving toward closure, another sign the session is in its last weeks.
The House passed fifteen bills this week. Bills that were passed in concurrence with a Senate proposal of amendment included H.128 an act relating to limiting criminal defenses based on victim identity, H218 an act relating to the sale of unpasteurized raw milk, H.145 an act relating to amending the standards for law enforcement use of force, H.18 an act relating to sexual exploitation of children and limited immunity from liability for a person reporting a crime, and S.88 an act relating to insurance, banking, and securities. These bills are done and will head to the Governor.
Three bills passed by the House permitted Town charter changes requested by votes of the affected towns. H.445 an act relating to approval of an amendment to the charter of the Town of Underhill, H.140 an act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the Town of Williston and H.361 an act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the Town of Brattleboro were all approved with some amendments which generated extended debate. The House also passed S.66 an act relating to electric bicycles, S.42 an act relating to establishing the Emergency Service Provider Wellness Commission, S.1 an act relating to extending the baseload renewable power portfolio requirement, S.86 an act relating to miscellaneous changes to laws related to vehicles and vessels, S.102 an act relating to the regulation of agricultural inputs for farming, S.107 an act relating to confidential information concerning the initial arrest and charge of a juvenile, and S.99 an act relating to repealing the statute of limitations for civil actions based on childhood physical abuse.
Work on S.79 an act relating to improving rental housing health and safety was the main focus of the week for the General, Housing and Military Affairs committee but testimony was also heard on S.78 an act relating to binding interest arbitration for employees of the Vermont Judiciary and exemptions to the Eviction Moratorium.  The committee is looking at language to include in S.79 that would allow some relief in extreme cases from the Eviction Moratorium for property owners.
A Joint Public Hearing is being held on May 4, 2021 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. Follow the link for details about how to testify and observe the hearing https://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Press-Releases/Press-Release-2021-House-Econ-Dev-House-Gov-Ops-unemployment-insurance-issues.pdf
General Legislative information is accessible here https://legislature.vermont.gov/
Representative Barbara S Murphy              bmurphy@leg.state.vt.us            802-849-6545

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Political Issues/Comments / News from Montpelier 2021 session week 15
« on: April 23, 2021, 02:51:22 PM »
With the exception of testimony taken on H.178 an act relating to low-alcohol spirits beverages, the House Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs dedicated the week to considering many aspects of the housing crisis. The bills that framed the testimony and discussions were S.79, H.232, H.273 and H.401. A joint hearing was held with House Agriculture and Forestry for witnesses to provide testimony on agricultural housing.  Commissioner Josh Hanford from the Department of Housing and Community Development gave the committee a summary of Governor Scott’s housing proposal in regard to the allocation of nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in ARPA funds for addressing homelessness,  housing insecurity, and expanding Vermont’s low-and middle-income housing stock.
Challenges to find affordable homes for ownership as well as the availability and condition of rental units all combine to build the situation that exists; one that leaves too many unhoused. The pandemic placed the State in an emergency response scenario that has housed as many as 2700 in motels/hotels and saved lives over this past year but is not a sustainable solution. It doesn’t provide proper home amenities for those it serves, and the price will become unaffordable when FEMA no longer provides funding. The Chair proposed next Friday as a deadline for the committee to pass out S.79 with amendments that the committee wishes to propose that would help with the housing transition.
Bills that passed on the House Floor this week included H.265 an act relating to the Office of the Child Advocate, H.449 an act relating to the membership and duties of the Vermont Pension Investment Commission and the creation of the Pension Benefits, Design and Funding Task Force and H.446 an act relating to miscellaneous natural resource and development subjects. The only roll call of the week was on whether H.449 should be read a third time and was agreed to on a vote of 125 Yeas to 22 Nays. An amendment that was accepted to this bill eliminates the inclusion of siblings and in-laws to the list of relatives that would negatively affect the independent status of the two financial experts appointed by the Governor to the Commission. S.114 an act relating to improving prekindergarten through grade 12 literacy within the State and S.45 an act relating to earned discharge from probation both were passed in concurrence with proposal of amendment and a rule suspension was requested to allow S.114 to be moved through all stages of passage.
            Representative Barbara S Murphy              bmurphy@leg.state.vt.us            802-849-6545

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Political Issues/Comments / News from Montpelier 2021 session week 14
« on: April 16, 2021, 03:01:12 PM »
Brief Floor sessions early in the week were balanced by extended sessions at the end. With five roll calls, three division and several voice votes the House debated and took action on H.175 an act relating to the beverage container redemption system and S.53 an act relating to exempting feminine hygiene products from the Vermont Sales and Use Tax. An amendment to H.175 that garnered support from many members was to substitute the language “plant-based beverages” for “plant-based milk”, when identifying items that would be exempt. The first of two roll calls on this bill was on an amendment to remove language that requires a retailer to accept for redemption the containers of products they sell. Floor debate included the information that there is ability in current law for a retailer to opt out and the amendment failed on a vote of 64 ayes to 79 nays. After more Floor debate the vote to have the bill read a third time was decided on a roll call vote of 99 ayes to 46 nays. Friday morning the bill passed the House with further amendments that addressed concerns raised the prior evening.
S.53 was taken up after a brief recess for dinner. The House Committee on Ways and Means offered an amendment that is an example of how to move legislation that has not met the crossover deadline. The three-section bill that offered a purpose, action and effective date became a sixteen-section bill that includes not only the title exemption but also an income exemption for the first $10,000 of a military pension as well as changes to software taxation, investment and corporate tax structure. The first roll call to raise the exemption to be on $30,000 failed on a vote of 55 ayes to 79 nays. The bill was then divided so that members’ votes for separate sections could be recorded rather than a single vote on the whole. The sections that supported the pension exemption passed on division vote of 121 to 4. The next vote was requested as a roll call and the software tax changes sections were passed with 96 ayes and 44 nays. The change to the annual fee for Investment Companies’ sale of mutual funds was agreed to on division 94 to 37. The section that changes corporate tax structure passed on a roll call of 129 ayes to 6 nays and the final breakout of sections was agreed to on a voice vote. The question to have the bill read a third time passed on a roll call of 98 ayes to 38 nays and the House adjourned at 9:30 P.M.. The bill was passed Friday with an appropriate amendment to the title.
Other bills that passed on the House floor this week included H.20 an act relating to pretrial risk assessments and pretrial services, S60 an act relating to allowing municipal and cooperative utilities to offer innovative rates and services and S88 an act relating to insurance, banking and securities. Committee time was limited this week but did include testimony on a few bills and topics as well as the report on Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention and annual report on Sexual Assault in the Guard.
Representative Barbara S Murphy              bmurphy@leg.state.vt.us            802-849-6545

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Political Issues/Comments / News from Montpelier 2021 session week 13
« on: April 09, 2021, 02:21:40 PM »
J.R.H.7 joint resolution strongly opposing the basing of any nuclear weapon delivery system in the State of Vermont was introduced and committed to the General Housing and Military Affairs committee as a bill. Committee members’ mailboxes are being flooded with requests to be informed when testimony is scheduled to be taken. The Legislative website is the best source of information. Agendas for the week are posted on each Committee’s page accessible through the Committee link and are amended to be kept current as witnesses’ availability and Floor time may change what has been planned. https://legislature.vermont.gov/
 For the first half of this week the committee focused on the Floor report and amendments to H.157 an act relating to registration of construction contractors. Tuesday the reporter of the bill presented the Committee’s strike-all amendment and it and three amendments were acted on by the House. A roll call vote was taken on the acceptance of the amended bill and the third reading was ordered on a vote of 97 yeas to 47 nays.  Two more amendments were agreed to on the third reading of the bill and it passed.  The General Housing and Military Affairs committee also took testimony on S.79 an act relating to improving rental housing health and safety and the eviction moratorium and had an introductory walk through of H.232 an act relating to land and home ownership and economic opportunity, H.273 an act relating to promoting racial and social equity in land access and property ownership, H.379 an act relating to a reciprocity requirement for out-of-state consumer shipping licenses. A bill that the committee spent time on in the early days of the session has been allowed to pass into law without the Governor’s signature. H.81 an act relating to statewide public school employee health benefits takes effect on passage with the exception of two sections that are time sensitive and already outdated for this year. 
H.315 an act relating to COVID-19 relief passed on the House floor Tuesday further amended from the Senate’s proposal of amendment on a roll call vote of 141 ayes to 5 nays. Rules were suspended to move it through all stages of passage and message the action to the Senate ‘forthwith’. The Senate concurred with the House and the bill has passed on to the Governor’s desk. S.18 an act relating to limiting earned good time sentence reductions for offenders convicted of certain crimes and H.225 an act relating to possession of a therapeutic dosage of buprenorphine also were acted on and passed by the House. Third reading for H.225 was ordered on a roll call with 126 ayes and 19 nays.
It was an honor to share the lunch hour with BFA’s Senior Social Studies class Wednesday. Introducing them on the House Floor was not the same with all of us meeting remotely but they were still welcomed by the members as they watched on YouTube.
Representative Barbara S Murphy              bmurphy@leg.state.vt.us            802-849-6545

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Political Issues/Comments / News from Montpelier 2021 session week 12
« on: April 02, 2021, 02:20:36 PM »
Thursday afternoon the Joint Assembly was convened for the results of the votes for retention of Superior Court Judges and Magistrates. Judge Brian Grearson, Judge Nancy Waples, Magistrate Christine Hoyt, Magistrate Joseph Lorman and Magistrate Brian Valentine were all retained to their offices. H.315 an act relating to COVID-19 relief, a bill that was on the fast track to assist Vermonters, seems to have slowed up since it passed out of the House on February 26. The Senate voted it out with amendments on March 24 returning it to the House.  It was posted to the Calendar each day this week but then postponed. The changes proposed in the Senate’s amendment were reviewed and Appropriation members will propose an amendment for consideration. Two bills that the House did act on this week were H.227 an act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the City of Winooski and J.R.H.2. Joint resolution sincerely apologizing and offering sorrow and regret to all individual Vermonters and their families and descendants who were harmed as a result of state sanctioned eugenics policies and practices. Both bills received a Roll Call vote to move them to second reading and passed on voice votes.
The General, Housing and Military Affairs Committee introduced J.R.H.2 on the House Floor Wednesday with the Chair giving a speech that encompassed some of the historical background and present day affects that this Resolution is making an apology for. House members made statements that spoke to their personal experience or connection to the policies and procedures sanctioned by Vermont’s involvement in the eugenics movement. The Roll Call vote was 146 ayes to 0 nays and on Thursday a unanimous voice vote passed it to the Senate. The rest of the time allotted to committee work this week was dedicated to the walk-through of several bills, discussion of housing stabilization programs and vote on amendments to H.157 an act relating to construction contractors.
The bills that the Committee gave an initial walk-through to were H.211 an act relating to recovery residences, H.339 an act relating to creating the Vermont Silver Rose Veterans’ Service Certificate, H.347 an act relating to creating uniform standards for tiny houses, S.79 an act relating to improving rental housing health and safety, H.308 an act relating to authorizing card check elections, H.329 an act relating to amending the prohibitions against discrimination, H.320 an act relating to prohibiting agreements that prevent an employee from working following the settlement of a discrimination claim, H.85 an act relating to requiring employment breaks, H.365 an act relating to exemptions from the minimum wage, H.416 an act relating to abandoned swimming pools and S.78 an act relating to binding interest arbitration for employees of the Vermont Judiciary. Testimony and discussion with representatives of the Vermont Housing Authority was the last piece of business for the committee Friday afternoon.
Use this link for information concerning the General Assembly:  https://legislature.vermont.gov/
Representative Barbara S. Murphy              bmurphy@leg.state.vt.us                     802-849-6545

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Political Issues/Comments / News from Montpelier 2021 session week 11
« on: March 26, 2021, 02:30:07 PM »
The money bills including Transportation and Budget came to the House Floor this week along with a number of other bills that were debated at length.  There were six roll call votes on five bills over the course of the week. All of the bills passed third reading and were sent to the Senate. Third readings of H.360 an act relating to accelerated community broadband deployment and H.159 an act relating to community and economic development and workforce revitalization were ordered on roll call votes of 145 yea to 1 nay, and 148 yea to 0 nay respectively. Two roll call votes were ordered on H. 437 an act relating to changes that affect the revenue of the State. One was on an amendment which failed 53 yea to 94 nay and the second was on it being read a third time which passed on a vote of 95 yea to 51 nay. An amendment to H.436 an act relating to miscellaneous changes to Vermont’s tax laws failed on a vote of 21 yea to 125 nay. H.439 an act relating to making appropriations for the support of government also known as the Big Bill passed on third reading with a roll call vote of 147 yea to 0 nay.
Other bills that passed third reading and were sent to the Senate include H.313 an act relating to miscellaneous amendments to alcoholic beverage laws, H.431 an act relating to miscellaneous energy subjects, H.430 an act relating to expanding eligibility for Dr. Dynasaur to all income eligible children and pregnant individuals regardless of immigration status, H.433 an act relating to the Transportation Program and miscellaneous changes to laws related to transportation, H.152 an act relating to education property tax, H.153 an act relating to Medicaid reimbursement rates for home- and community-based service providers, H.171 an act relating to the governance and financing of Vermont’s child care system, H.183 an act relating to sexual violence, H.435 an act relating to miscellaneous Department of Corrections-related amendments, H.210 an act relating to addressing disparities and promoting equity in the health care system and H.438 an act relating to Capital construction and State bonding.
Time spent on committee work was again abbreviated this week due to extended Floor hours but the Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs did vote out J.R.H. 2 as well as hear a report on an amendment to H.157 an act relating to registration of construction contractors and review policy relating to the eviction moratorium.  There are five hundred and seventy bills and seventy two resolutions between the House and Senate so far this session, with fifty six of the total in General, Housing and Military Affairs.
Representative Barbara S. Murphy              bmurphy@leg.state.vt.us                                       802-849-6545

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Political Issues/Comments / News from Montpelier 2021 session week 10
« on: March 19, 2021, 02:28:13 PM »
The General, Housing and Military Affairs committee work this week was limited due to hours on the House Floor but focused on discussion and redrafting of JRH2 which is a joint resolution apologizing for State sanctioned eugenics policies and practices as well as hearing bill introductions. Bill introductions accommodate the flexibility needed in the committee schedule driven by the unpredictable demand of the Floor. The sponsors are fellow House members so are also affected by what is known as “legislative time”.  H.244 an act relating to authorizing the natural organic reduction of human remains, H.290 an act relating to ski area operators and skiing accident reports, H.270 an act relating to modernizing Vermont’s wage and hour laws, H.210 an act relating to addressing disparities and promoting equity in the health care system, H.234 an act relating to prohibiting employment discrimination based on caste and H.228 an act relating to prohibiting discrimination based on an individual’s criminal history were introduced to the committee this week.
The House Floor acted on numerous bills with prolonged debate at times. A few recesses occurred to allow amendments to be reviewed or for procedural questions to be answered.  The growing tally of bills introduced is now at four hundred and thirty-five. Bills that passed the House this week included: H.10 an act relating to permitted candidate expenditures, H.46 an act relating to miscellaneous provisions of mental health law, H.104 an act relating to considerations in facilitating the interstate practice of health care professionals using telehealth, H.149 an act relating to modernizing statutes related to the Vermont National Guard, H.337 an act relating to the printing and distribution of State publications, H.366 an act relating to 2021 technical corrections,  S.117 an act relating to extending health care regulatory flexibility during and after the COVID-19 pandemic and to coverage of health care services delivered by audio-only telephone, H.87 an act relating to establishing a classification system for criminal offenses, H.145 an act relating to amending the standards for law enforcement use of force, H.154 an act relating to the failure of municipal officers to accept office,  H.428 an act relating to hate motivated crimes and misconduct, H.218 an act relating to the sale of unpasteurized raw milk, H.101 an act relating to the implementation of 2018 Acts and Resolves No. 173 by providing grant funding to build systems-driven, sustainable literacy support for all students with measurable outcomes, H.106 an act relating to equitable access to a high-quality education through community schools, H.426 an act relating to the needs and conditions of public school facilities in the state and H.434 an act relating to establishing the Agricultural Innovation Board.
On Wednesday, March 24th the Franklin County delegation will host an electronic Legislative “breakfast”, being renamed “dinner” as the time is 4:30 to 6:00 P.M. This meeting is an opportunity for county residents to address questions to the delegation on legislation that is being considered this session. The link is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86500441396?pwd+aWtQR1RjZ3ZMQjAyZjl1WVl4c0xvdz09
Representative Barbara S. Murphy              bmurphy@leg.state.vt.us                                       802-849-6545

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Political Issues/Comments / News from Montpelier 2021 session week 9
« on: March 12, 2021, 03:53:41 PM »
The Legislature returned from Town Meeting break to a flood of bill introductions. Tuesday saw nearly fifty House bills to be referred to committees. At the end of the week the tally of bills introduced in the House had risen to four hundred and twenty nine. The UVM trustee election results were announced in the reconvened Joint Assembly. Of the four nominees the three receiving the most votes and winning election were Stephanie Zak Jerome of Brandon, Lucy Rogers of Waterville and Catherine “Kitty” Toll of Danville. They will serve for a term of six years. Friday the House concurred on J.R.S. 18, a joint resolution providing for a Joint Assembly to vote on the retention of two Superior Judges and three Magistrates which will take place at 10:30 A.M. on Thursday, March 25th.
Floor action this week included Roll Call votes on H.128 an act relating to limiting criminal defenses based on victim identity, H.177 an act relating to approval of an amendment to the charter of the City of Montpelier and H.133 an act relating to emergency relief from abuse orders and relinquishment of firearms.  The first of two roll call votes on H.133 was on the committee’s amendment from the “as introduced” and the second was on its passage. Concern was raised that this bill requires an accused to relinquish firearms without their presence at the request for the temporary order. As one member stated in their bill explanation this is a temporary inconvenience to protect the constitutional right to life. S.110 an act relating to extending eligibility for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and H.88 an act relating to certification of agricultural use for purposes of the use value appraisal program were both fast tracked on votes to suspend rules. The House also passed H.108, H.127, H.195, H.289, H.420 and H.421. The title of these bills are found by entering their number into the search box on https://legislature.vermont.gov/
Throughout the week the General, Housing and Military Affairs Committee continued to work on H.149 an act relating to modernizing statutes related to the Vermont National Guard, H.313 an act relating to miscellaneous amendments to alcoholic beverage laws and H. 157 an act relating to registration of construction contractors and met the goal of voting all three out by the crossover deadline. The committee heard testimony on H.96 an act relating to creating the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Development Task Force and received a briefing on the DoD, Military Community and Family Policy from the Northeast Regional Liaison.
A Resolution honoring former Fairfax resident and Representative Ed Paquin on his retirement from service as executive director of Disability Rights Vermont was offered by all Members of the House and included in the Concurrent Resolution Addendum to the House Calendar for adoption. Found here: https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/CALENDAR/hc210311a.p   
Representative Barbara S. Murphy              bmurphy@leg.state.vt.us                                       802-849-6545

14
Political Issues/Comments / News from Montpelier 2021 session week 8
« on: February 26, 2021, 04:28:19 PM »
This week marks the beginning of committees push to get bills out for crossover. The deadline to get bills out of committee for this year’s action by the General Assembly is March 12 for policy committees and March 19 for the money committees. Exceptions can be made through application to the Rules Committee to present extenuating circumstances which have created an inability to meet the deadline. The completion of the election of three UVM trustees by the General Assembly was moved to Tuesday, March 9.
Floor action included passage of H.89 an act relating to limiting liability for agritourism, H.135 an act relating to the State Ethics Commission and H.199 an act relating to validating legal instruments used in connection with the conveyance of real estate. S.14 an act relating to deed restrictions and housing density passed in concurrence sending it directly to the Governor. The House also adopted H.R.8 House resolution extending the House’s declaration of a state of emergency to May 15th and H.R.9 House resolution amending House Rules regarding records in the journal. H.338 an act relating to reapportionment proposal deadlines and H.315 an act relating to COVID-19 relief both came to the Floor Friday but were expedited through all stages of passage on a vote to suspend House Rules which sent them directly to the Senate upon their passage. The total bills introduced to date have reached three hundred and sixty nine with rules suspended each day this week to introduce by number only due to the quantity.  The tally on the wall in General Housing and Military Affairs has grown to forty nine.             
Committee work continued on H.R.2 with moving testimony from many witnesses who spoke on the personal and community trauma resulting from the eugenics survey. As a resolution this legislation does not have to meet crossover and when adopted by the General Assembly does not have to pass to the Governor.  The Committee’s focus this week and the week the Legislature returns is on bills the Chair has selected as priorities for meeting the crossover deadline. These include H.313 an act relating to miscellaneous amendments to alcoholic beverage laws, H.149 an act relating to modernizing statutes related to the Vermont National Guard and H.157 an act relating to registration of construction contractors. More may be brought forward when the Legislature returns after the Town Meeting recess.
Representative Barbara S Murphy              bmurphy@leg.state.vt.us            802-849-6545
                                                                   https://legislature.vermont.gov/

15
Political Issues/Comments / News from Montpelier 2021 session week 7
« on: February 19, 2021, 04:12:17 PM »
The House revisited the election of members to the Judicial Nominating Board from two weeks ago.  Upon the resignation of Rep. Burditt the Speaker nominated Rep. Goslant and the House voted to accept the nomination. Other elections that occurred this week included the General Assembly’s unanimous votes on the elections of the unopposed candidates for Sergeant at Arms and Adjutant and Inspector General. Four candidates were nominated to the three positions for U.V.M. Trustee which required a ballot to be mailed to the members of the General Assembly. The results will be announced at the reconvening of the Body on February 25th at 2 P.M..  Action was taken on H.81 an act relating to statewide public school employee health benefits which included extended Floor debate and three roll call votes. One roll call was on an amendment from Rep. Beck, one was to accept the bill as amended by the committee and to allow it to be read a third time and the third was to commit the bill to the Education Committee for review. The commitment of the bill to the Education Committee failed as did Rep. Beck’s amendment and the vote to accept the bill as amended by the Committee passed in the affirmative allowing H.81 to return the next day for third read and receive a vote to pass it to the Senate. The House also passed both H.122 an act relating to boards and commissions and H.138 an act relating to fiscal year 2021 budget adjustments to the Senate. The number of bills introduced in the House reached 299 this week with 35 of these in the Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs as well as J.R.H.2 which is being treated as a bill.
The committee received testimony on J.R.H.2 https://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2022/J.R.H.2  by three authors who have written on the topic of the Vermont eugenics survey. The committee also began the discussion of H.96 an act relating to creating the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Development Task Force. The final task of the Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs to be accomplished Friday was the completion of a memo for House Appropriations on the areas of the Governor’s FY22 budget that relate to the committee’s subject area. Drafting this memo provided a framework for the many varied discussions and testimony throughout the week. Much of the discussion included the need to distinguish between ongoing expenditures and those targeted with onetime funds. A history of the Department of Liquor and Lottery, testimony on Pathways Vermont and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Coalition were a few of the subject areas covered. Other agenda items included a few more bill introductions and the committee’s unanimous vote on S.14 an act relating to deed restrictions and housing density.
 Representative Barbara S Murphy              bmurphy@leg.state.vt.us            802-849-6545

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