MINORITY LEADER DON TURNER
As we move closer to adjournment more and more of our time is spent on the floor. This week a number of bills passed. S.164 an act relating to establishing the unused prescription drug repository program, S.29 an act relating to decedents’ estates, and S.282 an act relating to health care providers participating in Vermont’s Medicaid program all passed on a voice vote. I supported all of them.
S.101 an act relating to the conduct of forestry operations clarifies laws pertaining to forestry operations. A few years ago several forestry laws were modified to protect citizens from rogue logging operations. However, abuse as a result of the changes established a new standard that negatively impacted all logging operations. The law attempts to restore a balance between protecting landowner rights and preserving the forestry industry as it is vital to Vermont’s forest and economy. I supported passage of this bill.
S.237 an act relating to providing representation to needy persons concerning immigration matters passed on a roll call vote as well. This bill provides the Vermont Defender General the authority to represent illegal immigrants in immigration matters in Federal Court. The presentation stated that there would be no additional cost to the taxpayers for these services. I don’t believe that this is accurate and did not support passage of this bill.
It was nice to see Lawrence Rowley and his two daughters Mary and Kate this week at the Statehouse. They were attending a reception for students that are enrolled in an agriculture program known as 2 plus 2. The students spend two years at Vermont Technical College and finish their degree with two years at UVM. Kate a senior at MHS is enrolled in this program.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and have a great week.
REP. CHRIS MATTOS
Last Wednesday Governor Scott signed into law S.221, H.422 and S.55. There was a decent sized crowd of proponents and opponents to the legislation standing on the steps of the State House with numerous Legislators standing behind the Governor during the public signing. I stood out in the crowd off to the side to witness the Governor Scott speak to the crowd. There was much applause from the proponents and a quite constant booing and comments made by the opponents. This was a very emotional issue for both sides, but from what I saw, everyone remained respectful to one another in the crowd regardless of how you felt.
Inside the State House last week, the Governor remained steadfast on no new taxes or fees. There is still a $30-40 million gap to close in order to mitigate a property tax increase. With the new education finance proposal, H.911, in the Senate, there is a new income tax surcharge created to reduce homestead property tax, but still keeps the overall spending the same. There are some longer term solutions, special education funding reform and state wide teacher healthcare contract, to help potentially reduce the costs of education. As of now, I have not seen immediate solutions to state spending that will close the budget gap to reduce property taxes.
With the closing weeks of the Legislature upon us, it is sure to be filled with numerous pieces of legislation to finish the biennium. Stay turned to read about the latest updates from inside the State House.
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 (802)-922-2059.