Messages from Montpelier are recurring op-eds written by state representatives during the legislative session.
The Vermont House is right into the heart of the session with one week until the Town Meeting Day break.
A number of new bills were introduced which puts us close to the 300 mark of total House bills brought to the floor. Bill introduction should start slowing down rapidly as we are also approaching three weeks from “crossover,” where bills have to be passed and sent to the Senate for their “look” and consideration.
One bill of note that was passed in the House this week was a bill relating to Agritourism which I think is of great value to our district. We have a great amount of agriculture, in many forms, and this bill, if fully passed and signed by the Governor (which I fully expect will happen) will give great protection to all of our farmers.
The bill removes liability if a customer is on their property and gets injured in any way. Like many things, agriculture has certain levels of risk with machinery, animals, terrain etc. This would put customers on notice that they assume all the risk when participating in any activity on a farm.
As for my committee, the House Corrections and Institutions Committee, we had another very busy week of testimony as we continue to build on the Capital Bill. We heard from folks from Public Safety as we consider upgrades to the Vermont Police/Fire Academy in Pittsford. We also spent a bit of time on further review of stormwater issues with the Agency of Natural Resources.
Another big piece of testimony was given for the “ask” on requested monies dedicated to supporting capital projects at our State University system with UVM and the Vermont State Colleges. A very interesting testimonial was given on the property and buildings on the now closed, Southeast Correctional Facility in Windsor. It was originally slated to be populated by Fish and Wildlife, but they have declined to use it. So, we are faced with finding another tenant within the state or selling the property. This one ought to be interesting as we move forward.