Omnibus broadband bill H.513 came out of House Energy and Technology with a tri-partisan 9-0 vote this week. We have been working on this bill all of January and February. Small dollars (roughly 3.1 million) but potential for big impacts for underserved Vermonters and rural Vermont.
Many thanks to Windham County Senator Jeanette White who has been taking testimony on a bill she sponsored S.111 An act relating to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry. This bill seeks to increase outreach and education to veterans who may have been exposed to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. Please encourage your veterans to register if they were exposed.
I look forward to seeing you all at Town Meeting this week. You can view my Town Meeting Update March 2019 online and I will also bring paper copies to each meeting. I am planning to be at the following Town Meetings at the these times on Monday and Tuesday:
Searsburg: 6:30 pm
Readsboro: 7:15 pm
Stamford: 8 pm
Wardsboro: 9 am
I am hearing from a few Vermonters who are learning that this year legislators have broken the record for the most bill requests ever. Our legislative attorneys have been working overtime and there is a proposal under consideration to limit the number of bills an individual legislator can request during the legislative session.
There are two ways to sponsor a bill – one is to work with an attorney to draft legislation at your request. The other is to sign on to bills others have had drafted if you support their proposal being considered by the legislature.
Here are the 18 bills for which I am the primary sponsor and worked with an attorney who drafted legislation at my request. Four were constituent requests and three were on behalf of departments and agencies in the administration. Eight bills relate to telecommunications (four of those eight have been included in our committee telecommunications bill which was voted out this week) and three relate to government reform:
H.7 An act relating to second degree aggravated domestic assault
H.77 An act relating to authorizing repossession of commercial property (constituent request)
H.84 An act relating to the siting of telecommunications facilities
H.92 An act relating to telecommunications facility siting and net neutrality
H.94 An act relating to funding for State broadband initiatives
H.95 An act relating to electric companies and broadband Internet access service
H.96 An act relating to telecommunications facility siting and bringing Internet service to unserved areas
H.118 An act relating to expanding dual enrollment to students who attend schools outside of Vermont (constituent request)
H.133 An act relating to miscellaneous energy subjects (on behalf of the Department of Public Service)
H.135 An act relating to the authority of the Agency of Digital Services (on behalf of the Agency of Digital Services)
H.143 An act relating to appointing town agents (constituent request)
H.145 An act relating to the universal service charge and prepaid wireless telecommunications service
H.160 An act relating to support for enhanced broadband deployment in Vermont (on behalf of the Department of Public Service)
H.227 An act relating to a property tax exemption for veterans (constituent request)
H.228 An act relating to creating an exemption to Vermont’s purchase and use tax
H.94 An act relating to utility repairs and the Choices for Care program
H.236 An act relating to amending the membership of the Legislative Apportionment Board
H.444 An act relating to ranked choice voting
There are a number of important dates for upcoming River Valleys School District Meetings:
Schedule of upcoming meetings
– March 5 Town Meeting (vote on budget)
– March 11 at 7:00 PM in Wardsboro
– March 18 at 7:00 PM in Dover
Information on the budget and articles, links to previous meetings and videos can be found at http://www.rvusd.net/
A reminder: You’re landline telephone is supposed to be working and providing clear reliable communications, being repaired and new service installed in a timely fashion. What to do if your land line phone is not working in Vermont
In the news:
The Challenges Of Bringing Broadband To Vermont’s Hills And Hollows
- Podcast: April McCullum joins Dave for a review of the session to date as lawmakers prepare for the Town Meeting Day break. Rep. Laura Sibilia visits to talk about legislation to promote broadband development. Rep. Tom Stevens stops by to talk about possible changes to the way the Vermont National Guard’s adjutant general is selected. Rep. Bill Lippert and Sen. Ginny Lyons talk with Dave about the shortage of mental health beds in the state.
Click here to monitor the bills I introduce, my committees work and my votes on roll call votes on the legislative website. You can also see what the House and Senate will be taking up each day and listen to proceedings live on VPR.