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Author Topic: News from Montpelier week 1 2020  (Read 118 times)
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« on: January 17, 2020, 12:26:03 PM »

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.
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