We have completed the first four weeks of the legislative session this year. I was very pleased to have been assigned to the House Committee on Government Operations. This committee considers matters relating to the organization, oversight and conduct of state officials and employees; pensions; law enforcement; public safety; reapportionment; municipal corporations; suffrage; nomination, elections and the election of members; local, county and regional governmental structure; relations between state and local governments; open meeting issues and public records issues. This specific committee assignment fits well with my past career in public safety and the past three years in local government serving on the Milton Selectboard.
This past month has been a big learning curve for me but also very rewarding. My committee has conducted numerous meetings with state officials including the secretary of state and the state treasurer and secretaries and commissioners for their respective agencies and departments. After lots of work, my committee had its first bill pertaining to the state’s boards and commissions, passed in house chamber this past week.
If you are interested in serving on a board or commission, please check out the website at governor.vermont.gov/boards-commissions for a list. You can apply online or if you need help or have questions contact me. Board and commission members receive $50 per diem plus mileage to and from Montpelier for each meeting.
There are some very important bills coming up soon for a full vote in the House chamber. I have heard from many of you regarding personal ideas, interests and concerns. Hearing from people helps us do a better job of representing you. I encourage you to communicate with your representatives. The best way to contact me is by email at email@example.com which is my legislative email address.
The time for submitting requests for new bills has ended and now the ones that have been introduced are flowing to the appropriate committees for consideration. It is my understanding that a record number of bills will be introduced this year. These bills will be discussed in committee, but for various reasons, a number of them will not get voted out of committee to be debated or voted on by the whole House.
The committee that I am assigned to (Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife), is currently considering a bill relating to Act 250, a bill relating to the prohibition of plastic carryout bags, expanded polystyrene, and single-use plastic straws; a bill relating to the use of polystyrene in
the waters of Vermont, a bill related to the use of gun noise suppressors while hunting, a bill related to the expansion of the types of containers that can be returned for redemption. I am sure there will be many more bills. We have a large number of interested parties that come to explain
or testify on various topics relating to the bills we have.
Please contact me at 318-0227 or firstname.lastname@example.org and Speaker Mitzi Johnson at 363-4448 or email@example.com.
The House Committee on Education continued to take testimony on delaying the final implementation of Act 46 mergers. These mergers were determined by the State Board of Education in November 2018 and are to be operational by July 1. There has been numerous bills introduced which in essence all provide a delay in different ways. We voted out H.39, which allows for a delay of one year for these districts and supervisory unions. It came out of committee with a negative recommendation and will go to the House floor next week for a vote.
The House passed a 92 percent tax on e-cigarettes. The tax will raise almost $1 million in the first year. This tax will be the same as traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products. The recent dramatic spike in teen use was a major concern mentioned by the main sponsor of the bill. I supported this bill to have these products in the same class as traditional tobacco products and in hopes of lowering the use of tobacco products for today’s youth.
There will be a public forum at the State House this week to hear on H.57, an act relating to preserving the right to abortion. I have received some feedback from community members and I appreciate it very much. Please continue to do so relating to this issue and any others!
If you have any concerns, questions or comments I would be happy to listen. Feel free to reach me by email at CMattos@leg.state.vt.us or by cell at 922-2059.