Rep Sibilia: Week 4 & 5 of the Vermont Legislative Session

My son turned 18 this past weekend – I am now a parent to three adult children who I adore.

My regular Friday updates have been less regular the last two weeks! Two weeks ago I published a piece about a 20 year injustice to our students and property taxpayers and last week a snowstorm and my youngest child’s 18th birthday delayed my update. In addition to this update, I will return to my regular schedule this Friday.


Public Hearing regarding H.610, Firearms and Domestic Violence

Tuesday, February 18, 2020, 5:00–7:00 p.m., State House, Montpelier The Vermont Legislature will hold a public hearing on H.610, Firearms and Domestic Violence, on February 18, 2020. The hearing will be held at the State House in Montpelier from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.  The hearing is being held by the House Committee on Judiciary.

The hearing will be held in the House Chamber.  Witnesses may start signing up to speak at 4:00 p.m.  Witness testimonies are limited to two minutes.  The Committee will also accept written testimony. People who wish to testify must sign up. Those who wish to speak IN FAVOR of the bill must enter through the door at the WEST end of the State House (when facing the building from the front, the LEFT end). Those who wish to speak IN OPPOSITION to the bill must enter through the door at the EAST end of the State House (when facing the building from the front, the RIGHT end).

For information about the format of this event or to submit written testimony, contact the House Committee on Judiciary at 802-828-2257 or e-mail testimony@leg.state.vt.us.

If you plan to attend and need accommodations to participate, please contact the Sergeant at Arms at 802-828-2228 by February 14, so that any accommodations can be made in advance.


Last week there was a Dedication of the new Women in the State House exhibition

Your experience and expertise are needed

A week ago today the governor approved and signed H.143, a bill which allows selectboards to designate a town agent to act on their behalf. A town agent is able to act on the towns behalf in certain legal proceedings. Previously this position needed to be elected. This bill was first introduced in 2017 at the request of a Stamford selectboard member. Her rationale? No one from the small town ever ran and the town was able to hire an attorney for any of it’s legal needs.

Sharing your knowledge and expertise on issues before the legislature, or to build support to put issues before the legislature is your right and is often very helpful and always appreciated. This week I have gotten detailed feedback and questions on H.610 from a retired law enforcement official as well as assistance in tracking down some local factors on property taxes from a constituent digging into the pupil weights.


Paid Family Leave and Minimum Wage

This session House voted on both a compromise Paid Family Leave Plan (H.107) and a compromise accelerated additional Minimum Wage increase plan (S.23) that had been worked out between the House and Senate. Both proposals passed; Minimum Wage 93-54 and Paid Family Leave 89-58, but neither passed with enough votes to over ride their vetos by the Governor.

I voted no on both proposals, as did several other independents, Democrats and all Republicans.

-The paid family leave proposal puts in place a new mandatory employee benefit with a mandatory payroll tax on employees. I remain deeply concerned that we have not figured out how to pay for all of the Vermonters we signed up for healthcare as part of healthcare reform efforts several years ago.

-The minimum wage proposal is appropriate in the parts of Vermont where the economy is thriving, not the parts where business owners are not able to take paychecks and others are no longer open 7 days a week for lack of people to work.

Last week a vote to over ride the Governor’s veto of Paid Family Leave, which the Vermont Constitution requires to pass by 2/3 of legislators voting, failed by one vote 99-51. I voted not to over ride the governor which was consistent with my earlier no vote on the bill.

This week the Governor vetoed the minimum wage bill. Information on when the House may vote to try and overide the veto is not yet available.


FOURTH NATIONAL CLIMATE ASSESSMENT Volume II: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States

Tracking Vulnerability Indicators in Vermont

Understanding our community-level vulnerabilities can help us all prepare for emergencies like floods and heat waves.
Vulnerability indicators attempt to shed light on the underlying factors that influence why some communities are more affected by a particular hazard, such as a natural disaster. Vulnerability indicators can serve as planning tools to focus health impact prevention efforts in areas of Vermont at greatest risk. Vulnerability indicators can also be used when there is a disease outbreak or an emergency to identify populations who may need more help with response and recovery. Explore the Vermont Social Vulnerability Index

Many thanks to Speaker Mitzi Johnson who has allowed the Rural Caucus to meet in her office due to over scheduled meeting rooms in the statehouse! This tri-partisan group of legislators are following issues related to Working Lands, Broadband and Housing in Vermont’s rural regions. Follow the Vermont House of Representatives Rural Caucus on Facebook @VtRuralCaucus


Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions, or if you need assistance navigating government services at (802) 384-0233 or lsibilia@leg.state.vt.us 

Kind regards, 

Rep. Laura Sibilia 
Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, Whitingham

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