March 19, 2021
The Legislature has been on pause this week, taking its traditional break to attend Town Meeting and check in with constituents. This year, of course, we've been home all along and Town Meeting was modified, but the break from all-day Zoom meetings has been welcome.
Late last month the Ways & Means Committee signed off on a major Covid relief package, providing help for small businesses, support for those struggling with mental health issues, funds targeted at improving indoor air quality at schools, expansion of the Farm to Families program, and direct assistance for the neediest Vermonters.
Earlier, the Committee approved an Education yield bill that will likely keep education property taxes close to flat across the state. We have also been considering legislation that would add more flexibility to the Property Tax Credit Claim process for home-owners; expand the tax credit program for building renovations in designated village centers; revamp the corporate income tax; and simplify tax exemptions for manufacturing equipment.
Once we reconvene next week, we will be looking at the tax implications of a major Broadband buildout bill, as well as proposed changes to the "Bottle Bill." And before the session ends, we'll be weighing in on pension reform and education financing.
House rules require that all new legislation be submitted by the last week in February. This session I've introduced bills to:
make it easier for farmers to recertify their agricultural land for current use
enable online requests for notification when utilities are planning to apply herbicides near our homes
allow annual open enrollment in Medicare supplemental insurance plans
enable out-of-state mental health practitioners to see Vermonters using telemedicine
expand loan reimbursement options for physician assistants in family practices
ban involuntary sterilization
permit school districts to add a recall provision for board members
As we reach the one-year anniversary of our first Covid cases in Vermont, the light at the end of the tunnel grows a bit brighter each day. I look forward to seeing you soon--and in the meantime, please don't hesitate to reach out at any time.