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: News from Montpelier 2021 session week 3  ( 872 )
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« : January 22, 2021, 04:44:05 PM »

The House Calendar has had little on the day’s agendas throughout the week. The few action items were J.R.S. 9 joint resolution to provide for a Joint Assembly to hear the budget message of the Governor next week, S.9 an act relating to extending certain workers’ compensation amendments related to COVID-19 and H.C.R. 7 designating January 27, 2021 as Homelessness Awareness Day in Vermont, all of which passed. The General Assembly held a joint training session with the Senate on implicit bias led by Vermont Human Rights Commission executive director Bor Yang and Vermont’s director of racial equity Xusana Davis. The training was compressed into less than two hours but packed full of thought provoking information.  The members for House Ethics, Discrimination Prevention and Sexual Harassment Panels were announced and can be found by opening the Panel link in the committees list.  https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/list/2022/House-Standing#House-Standing
The Rural Caucus hosted Paul Costello the executive director of the Vermont Council on Rural Development Thursday morning.  The Working Lands Collaborative was discussed with its goal of assisting in the diversification of land use and the development of value added enterprises. https://workinglands.vermont.gov/  The grants bring value to the producer by allowing the highest end value to be captured rather than just the raw material price. It was stated that for every $10,000 invested through the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative a job is created.
House Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs continues to have an array of topics under discussion.  H.63 https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/BILLS/H-0063/H-0063%20As%20Introduced.pdf and H.81 https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/BILLS/H-0081/H-0081%20As%20Introduced.pdf are being testified to in tandem as they both attempt to make changes to the recent statewide public school employee health care benefits. The committee will hear more testimony next week but is looking to move the bill(s) without delay. The committee heard from the CEO of the Vermont Veterans Home as well as the VSEA Executive Director who provided an update on its operations and COVID response from both the management as well as staff perspective. Commissioner Greshin from the Department of Finance and Management spoke to the committee on the anticipated property transfer tax which has been positively affected by the property sales that have occurred over the year. This tax is a source of funds for the Housing and Conservation Fund. The state has a low vacancy rate for available housing and can use this money to generate or make habitable new housing. The committee offered an opinion on areas of the Budget Adjustment Act that it has policy oversight of with a letter to the Appropriations committee, reviewed H. 93 an act relating to establishing a homeless bill of rights and prohibiting discrimination against people without homes, took testimony from a staff member of the Joint Fiscal Office on the Basic Needs Budget and on Vermont Unemployment Insurance from Commissioner Harrington and Director Wood of the Department of Labor.
Representative Barbara S Murphy              bmurphy@leg.state.vt.us            802-849-6545
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