Messages from Montpelier: March 21, 2019

After a week off for town meeting day break, we were back in Montpelier leading up to crossover. Crossover happens once a year in the Legislature when the deadline for bills, except for money bills, have to be passed out of committee and head to the floor for a House or Senate vote. These bills are then sent over from the House to the Senate and vice versa. Any bills that don’t make the crossover deadline will not be acted on this session. In the following weeks, I will mention some of the more notable bills that the House debates and votes on.  

In the House Education committee, we worked on a few different issues. Lead in drinking water and radon testing in schools consumed most of our week. In order for these two large scale testing projects to be conducted in a successful manner, there must be a solid plan in place for testing, remediation, and funding. We also looked at what to do with student records when independent colleges close. The State has been dealing with Burlington College records since the school closed. There was no plan and no money in place to deal with these records and now the Agency of Education is acting as a registrar. None of these bills ended up making the crossover deadline, but could make a comeback in the miscellaneous education bill coming from the Senate. 

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.

ByRep. John Palasik

We are half way through the 18-week legislative session.  Several bills this biennium didn’t make the crossover deadline date of this past Friday.  These may be considered further next year.  

My Government Operations Committee considered a bill that would replace some temporary state workers with full-time classified workers estimated to cost millions.  Working hard to prevent new taxes, for this and other reasons, I was one of three committee members who voted no on this.  Although, the committee did advance this bill to the House floor.

Act 250 reform didn’t make it out of Natural Resources Committee by crossover; hopefully it got an extension.  Act 250 is extremely important to economic development.  Some well needed changes are required and hopefully may occur this year.  

S.54 regarding Tax and Regulate for Marijuana will be considered by my committee starting this week.  It’s very important for your comments on this bill.   

We considered H.418 which would allow ages 16 & 17 to vote in municipal elections for town and school matters.  However, towns had no choice on this major voting law change.  I felt strongly this should be a voter decision.  It also required separate voter checklists causing increased election costs.  I was not comfortable supporting the bill in it’s present format.  My committee decided not to advance the bill at this time. 

Oher issues on their way include additional support for child care which is greatly needed.  Increased funding for broadband in some areas with very limited or no broadband at all is also greatly needed.  Broadband is something most Vermonter’s enjoy and is a basic necessity for economic development.  

Please continue to contact me with your personal ideas, interests and concerns.  The best way is by email at jpalasik@leg.state.vt.us which is my legislative email.  You can also leave messages during the legislative session at (802) 828-2228.