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 on: February 07, 2020, 03:16:16 PM 
Started by Barbara - Last post by Barbara
A House Concurrent Resolution, HCR 247 honoring James Pelkey for his public and community service in Franklin County, sponsored by all eleven of the County’s Representatives was on the Consent Calendar this week. This instance of unity was welcome in a week that also held issues which carried strongly divided support.
Wednesday’s vote on whether H107, an act relating to paid family and medical leave would pass “the failure of the Governor to approve notwithstanding?”, generated tension in the State House. Medical and family emergencies were set aside by several members and all 150 Representatives were present for the vote which was decided in the negative 99 to 51. The Governor’s veto was sustained. Thursday’s Floor session provided a chance for any member who had voted no, to request reconsideration but the moment passed without anyone making that motion.
The vote on H619, An act relating to permitting candidate expenditures for child care costs was also decided by a Roll Call vote. It passed with 124 yes and 21 no votes and after passage the title of the bill will be An act related to permitted expenditures. One dissenting vote was explained by the Member to be based on the changes that the bill underwent from its original form which was clear in what was being permitted to one less specific.
The Transportation committee took testimony from several witnesses on a Personal Electric Vehicle pilot program design for contributions to the Transportation Fund from this sector. The Agency of Transportation is working across agencies with Departments of Conservation and Public Service as well as the State’s electric utilities to design a pilot program to collect a per-kilowatt fee determined at the Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment from the operators of electric vehicles.
Witnesses also presented to the Committee testimony on the Elderly and Disabled program which provides transit for eligible individuals to appointments and errands. Transportation Demand Management was introduced to the committee by the director of the UVM Center for Research on Vermont. The committee was interested to hear the impact being made on public transit users number’s by employers incentives.
The House Action calendar was blank Friday which provided many members the opportunity to get safely home and have a remote worker experience. The Speaker called the House to order at 9:30 and with less than a quorum present offered a poem titled “Snow Day”as the Devotional, called for announcements and a motion to adjourn. The State House closed for all business at 1:45 PM, after several legislative service departments were closed at noon.

 on: February 03, 2020, 02:24:31 PM 
Started by Fairfax Librarian - Last post by Fairfax Librarian
Join us for the following programs at the library!:
Tues. Feb 4 - Preschool Story Hour (ages 0-6) - 9:30 - 10:30 am
Thurs. Feb 6 - Chess Club (ages 7+) - 3:15 - 4:00 pm (please register)
                      Book Club - discussion of the book, "Faithful Place," by Tana French - 6:30 pm
Sat. Feb. 8 - Cabin Fever Cafe with O'Hanleigh. All are welcome - 10:00 am - 12 noon
Note: This week's "Failed it! Cooking Challenge" teen program has been postponed. New date to be announced soon!

 on: February 02, 2020, 08:42:40 AM 
Started by ssweet - Last post by ssweet
The Senior Citizen Lunch on Tues the 4th of Feb will be a boiled ham dinner at the Fairfax Fire station. Music starts at 11 - so come on down and enjoy the music and lunch. Lunch is served at noon.  For info call 849-6820.

 on: January 31, 2020, 03:22:13 PM 
Started by Barbara - Last post by Barbara

House Floor action this week included numerous Concurrent Resolutions, H 606, an act relating to regulating storage units which moved to the Senate and H103, an act relating to appointing town agents which moved to the Governor with the Senate’s amendment that updates the effective date. Some of the resolutions are read in their entirety, usually if an agent of or the person being honored is present. Every Thursday an Addendum to the calendar provides the text of all the resolutions that are automatically accepted for adoption unless a Member requests floor consideration before the end of Friday’s legislative session.

Many of the Franklin County delegation had lunch with Dr Von Lepel and Pamela Parsons, Executive Director of northern Tier Center for Health (NOTCH) who came to the State House Tuesday. The cafeteria has been a busy place much of the week with large groups in the State House to testify before committees or to staff displays in the public areas. A few spaces that are made available for this purpose and coordinated by the Sargent at Arms include the hallway outside the cafeteria and the “Card Room”.

The Transportation committee continued to hear overviews of programs that are contained in the proposed FY2021 budget request. Testimony was given by representatives from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns who presented funding concerns for transportation needs faced by municipalities. Many committee members have as a priority maximizing financial support to the local municipalities as well as funding shared resources through the Regional Planning Commissions and the Highway Maintenance Districts.

Testimony was heard on electric vehicle incentive programs implemented through last year’s T-Bill and on different funding sources as the gas tax becomes less able to support Vermont’s transportation infrastructure. Examples of funding ideas that have been offered are how to equitably tax the electricity that would equal a gallon of gas, taxing miles traveled and increased registration fees. The Senior Environmental Policy Manager with the Agency of Transportation testified to the committee on four components of the FY 2021 Electric Vehicle Adoption Investments. These include continued funding of the statewide EV incentive program that launched December 16, 2019, education and outreach of plug-in electric vehicles to the public, a new incentive for the auto dealers to prioritize the sales of electric vehicles and additional charging infrastructure to bring the State closer to the goal of a charging station within 30 miles of every Vermonter.

For more information or to contact me please email me at bmurphy@leg.state.vt.us or call 802-849-6545 or mail to 7 Lily Rd Fairfax VT 05454. The Sergeant at Arms at the State House will also relay messages.

 on: January 24, 2020, 03:11:15 PM 
Started by Barbara - Last post by Barbara
The week opened with the House vote to adopt Proposal 2, an amendment to the Vermont Constitution which has been adopted by the Senate. The amendment must also be passed by both chambers of the 2021-2022 General Assembly before coming before the voters for final approval. Its purpose is described to eliminate reference to slavery; “while Vermont was the first state to include a prohibition on slavery in its Constitution in 1777, it was only a partial prohibition, applicable to adults reaching a certain age”.
Tuesday afternoon a Joint Assembly in the House Chamber heard Governor Scott’s budget address. The highlights ran the gamut of State supported programs with a cautionary that Vermont has experienced bonding downgrades which encourage fiscal discipline. Transportation committee members found the detailed information for that portion of the Governor’s recommended budget on their desktops afterwards.
The Secretary of the AOT testified before the Transportation Committee Wednesday morning, providing a high-level overview. Throughout the week the Committee heard from Agency directors and mangers on their specific programs within the larger budget. These reports will continue to be on the agenda until the introductions are all complete. The committee members are making notes of areas of concern that need more testimony and will revisit these in detail.
Public Transit continues to be a high area of interest for the committee. Representatives of the transit companies that serve Vermont gave testimony that included the reliance on volunteers for wellness, recovery and job access programs. There has been growth in ridership for all seven companies over the last year, but these numbers include these rides as well as the traditional bus route riders. The AOT public transit coordinator spoke to the recommended budget and the initiatives it will support. One of the initiatives which affect a transit company and three school districts (with FWSU for BFA Fairfax being one) is the Volkswagen settlement program to replace two diesel school busses from their fleets with two electric busses and the training and equipment for them.
Action on the House Floor on Thursday and Friday was dedicated to H107 and S23 respectively. H107, an act relating to paid family leave was passed on a Roll Call vote of 89 yeas to 58 nays. S23, an act relating to raising the minimum wage also passed on a Roll Call vote of 93 yeas to 54 nays. Both bills have now been sent to the Governor for his action which can include his signing into law, letting become law without his signature or vetoing. If the Governor chooses to veto both or either bill the House will have to have several members decide to support the majority vote and not maintain their opposition to the bill(s) to override the veto.

For more information or to contact me please email me at bmurphy@leg.state.vt.us or call 802-849-6545 or mail to 7 Lily Rd Fairfax VT 05454. The Sergeant at Arms at the State House will also relay messages.

 on: January 24, 2020, 10:48:33 AM 
Started by Fairfax Librarian - Last post by Fairfax Librarian
Correction: PJ Story Hour with Kristie French will happen at the library on the second Thursday of the month. In February, PJ Story Hour will be on Thursday, February 13, from 6-7 pm. Hope you can join us for fun stories, songs and crafts!

 on: January 17, 2020, 01:53:19 PM 
Started by Barbara - Last post by Barbara
The House has seen the Floor introduction of a flurry of bills as the deadline for doing so closed. They have been assigned to relevant committees for further action. A few caught the attention of the media, but this is not an indication of a Committee focus.

A Resolution, HCR 191 was read designating January 2020 as School Board recognition month. The House was asked to recognize Don Collins a past Fairfax resident, superintendent, Senator, and Vermont School Board Association board member who was present in the Gallery for the reading.

Floor action on Tuesday sent S23; an act relating to increasing the minimum wage and H107; an act relating to paid family and medical leave, each to a Committee of Conference to settle the disagreeing votes of the two Houses. H107 was on the Senate calendar Friday for action on the decision. The Senate voted to pass the Conference Committees decision on H107 and send the bill back to the House.

The Transportation Committee took testimony on many subjects of interest that will be studied during the session. The Governor’s budget address next Tuesday will draw the focus to priorities identified by the Administration as well as those of the Legislature. Sponsors of bills that have been assigned to the Committee have been invited to give a ten minute “pitch” of their bill. This may be the only attention the bill gets, or it may ignite interest that will direct the Committee to schedule further testimony.

Tom Kavet, a Legislative Economist gave a revenue briefing to the committee at the end of the afternoon Thursday. A quote from the January 2020 Economic Review and Revenue Forecast Update his team presented earlier in the day to the State of Vermont Emergency Board and the Legislative Joint Fiscal Office speaks to the economic costs of climate change. This is echoed in the discussion as the Transportation committee looks to opportunities to diminish the contribution of Green House Gas from this sector of the economy but also the needs presented by infrastructure maintenance and repair of damage such as the failure of the I89 Exit 18 culvert during the Halloween storm.   

For more information or to contact me please email me at bmurphy@leg.state.vt.us or call 802-849-6545 or mail to 7 Lily Rd Fairfax VT 05454. The Sergeant at Arms at the State House will also relay messages.

 on: January 17, 2020, 12:26:03 PM 
Started by Barbara - Last post by Barbara

Tuesday January 7th the Vermont Legislature was reconvened for the second year of the 2019-2020 biennium. Two new members were welcomed to the House to fill vacant seats and a few committee assignments were rearranged. The Speaker’s welcoming remarks contained a focus of three “asks”: a request to treat all with civility and respect, trust everyone is here honoring Vermont’s past and caring about its future and to get to know a colleague outside the day to day contacts.

The afternoon Committee work was dedicated to the Agency of Transportation updates presented by Secretary Joe Flynn. The presentation ended with a funding update and included information on areas that are being changed by the FY2020 Budget Adjustment bill. The adjustments are necessary to meet the projected reduced revenue and are in a few areas where the actual needs were less than what was budgeted. One item that provides a $400,000 savings is the Amtrak subsidy which is expected to be less than budgeted due to increased ridership.

The rest of the week the Transportation committee received reports from Agency personnel as well as other individuals who provided supporting information on various
topics. The public transportation program and policy plan, Transportation and Climate Initiative, Electric Vehicle Incentive and High Fuel Efficiency and Emissions Repair Programs were agenda items and initiatives the committee had prioritized last year.
Friday morning the committee heard from the Youth Climate Lobby. Thoughts and concerns were shared in areas where Transportation can be addressed to diminish Vermont’s contribution to the climate crisis.
Thursday afternoon the Legislature convened a Joint Assembly to hear Governor Scott’s State of the State. The Address was interrupted early on with a demonstration by members of the public who shouted that everyone “listen to the people” and attend the climate emergency. They were allowed to share their message for about 10 minutes until their statements became repetitive and they refused to end the disruption. After a brief pause to clear the demonstrators from the House chamber, the Governor resumed his speech. Woven through the address was the belief in a common cause that is bigger than politics. That if we care about the details rather than the talking points, we can find a purpose which allows us all to be part of something bigger than ourselves.

 on: January 13, 2020, 02:22:46 PM 
Started by ssweet - Last post by ssweet
The Fairfax Senior Lunch for Jan 21rst is canceled as the Fireman are having their Annual Dinner Meeting. Any questions call 849-6820.

 on: January 11, 2020, 06:54:38 PM 
Started by ssweet - Last post by ssweet
Hi Everyone, The United Church of Fairfax is cancelling Service for the 12th of January because of the expected ice storm and poor driving conditions.  Please be safe and stay home until conditions improve.  The Methodist Trustee meeting that was planned for after service on the 12th will be pushed back to the Sunday of the 19th.  Please check out the Church calendar for additional notices.  Call Steve Lynch with questions and concerns 802 849-6398.  May God keep you safe, Steven Lynch

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