Don Turner

Don Turner

MINORITY LEADER DON TURNER

H.923, the capital construction and state bonding budget adjustment bill, passed this week with little debate. A few sessions ago, the legislature decided to implement a two-year capital bill. In the first year of each biennium, the legislature decides which state capital projects will be funded and how much bonding will be authorized. This is done to preserve the state’s bond rating. The bill also incorporates state corrections and forestry policies. Therefore this year, the second year of the biennium the bill is actually an adjustment bill. Some projects get delayed or run into unforeseen cost increases etc. so this bill modifies funding in accordance to what is actually occurring. One particular section I find very important pertains to school safety. The governor instructed the state police to audit all schools to determine what is needed to improve safety. These reports are due very soon and this bill includes five million dollars to address the items identified in the audits to improve overall for school safety. H.923 is a good bill and I think that this is a very important provision. I supported passage of this bill.

More emotional debate on S.55 an act relating to the disposition of unlawful and abandoned firearms on Tuesday. I supported a number of amendments in hopes of improving the overall bill. Unfortunately, I could not support the final bill as it still had a number of problematic provisions.

S.221, an act relating to establishing extreme risk protection orders, passed the house this week. This is a good bill which includes many of the “red flag” elements will likely improve public safety. A provision in this bill outlines a procedure for police to remove firearms in reported domestic violence situations. It stipulates how long firearms can be held by law enforcement in these cases and clarifies language pertaining to restraining orders. I feel that this bill is a step in the right direction and supported its passage.

Thank you for your continued support. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments or concerns. I can be reached at the Statehouse by calling 1-800-322-5616 or by cell at 373-5960. My email address is dturner@leg.state.vt.us. Thank you and have a great week.

 

Carl Rosenquist

REP. CARL ROSENQUIST

Yesterday, we took up S-55 (the gun control bill) again for final approval before sending it back to the Senate. Over the weekend multiple amendments surfaced, which were presented, debated and voted on before the ultimate vote on a roll call. It passed 85 for the bill and 54 against the bill. It will now move to the Senate, where they will review the House changes and either concur or send it back to us with further changes. I voted for several amendments to make this flawed bill better, but each amendment I voted for, other than the one to protect a major employer in our area, failed to gain approval. I vote no on the final bill due to its many flaws.

The bright spot in all the chaos was that almost concurrently we debated and voted on the annual capital bill, which contained $4,000,000 to survey our schools and give them available grants to buy equipment, i.e. metal detectors and security systems, etc., which will make our schools safer. I will be attending our local school board meeting soon to see if there is anything else we can do.

During all this high tension debate on gun issues, the annual appropriations bill was also presented, debated and passed overwhelmingly last Friday. I was one of a handful who voted against this bill (at this time) since it did not even come close to funding the request of our state’s attorneys to prosecute the overwhelming caseload coming before them. If we are a nation of laws, we must provide the resources to adequately prosecute and execute our laws.

There are many debates ahead. I will keep you informed, as we continue.