Tonight I issued a statement regarding illegal graffiti on Route 100 over the weekend. I want to acknowledge and thank the four young women from towns across our district who brought this issue to my attention yesterday morning. But more importantly I want to reassure them, and all of us, that we can easily do better – just by listening to each other. I’m deeply interested in ways our communities can look past what divides us and reach back out to each other as neighbors and friends who love our communities and state. Times are tough and we need each other.
Information below on broadband, bike paths, and public input sessions on police reforms.
Don’t forget to mail your primary ballot – including all unused ballots – back to the Town Clerk tomorrow. The Primamry election is next Tuesday August 11th and you can vote in person – with your mask to protect the poll workers!
August 1st – Masks are mandatory in public
Masks or Cloth Facial Coverings is required in Public wherever close contact is unavoidable. As of Saturday, August 1, 2020, Vermonters shall wear masks or cloth facial coverings over their nose and mouth any time they are in public spaces, indoors or outdoors, where they come in contact with others from outside their households, especially in congregate settings, and where it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least six feet. Businesses may deny you service without a mask.
Proposals Requested for Everyone Eats Program
$5 million available for community projects that engage restaurants in emergency feeding
In response to COVID-19, restaurants, farmers and community organizations across Vermont have stepped forward to help feed neighbors experiencing food insecurity. These programs have helped stabilize communities by nourishing Vermonters, alleviating the surging demand on food shelves, and providing economic support to restaurants. The State of Vermont has allocated $5M from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) to a new program called Everyone Eats, which supports restaurants feeding Vermonters who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
Participating restaurants will be paid $10/meal and at least 10% of the ingredients for each meal must be sourced from local farms and value-added food producers. Projects will be awarded on a rolling basis starting the first week of August until the funds have been allocated. Program funds need to be expended by December 18, 2020.
The Request for Proposal can be accessed by visiting: https://www.sevca.org/vt-everyone-eats
An information session will be hosted to provide an overview of the program and application process. Prospective applicants can register to attend that webinar via the following Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/4603467960.
Broadband connection program
Governor Phil Scott announced that the Vermont Department of Public Service has launched a Line Extension Customer Assistance Program (LECAP). LECAP provides up to $3,000 in assistance to help consumers extend telecommunications lines to their homes, with $2 million in total funds available.
“We know how important access to reliable internet has been during this pandemic,” said Governor Scott. “While expanding access has been a longstanding challenge in Vermont, I appreciate the efforts of the Public Service Department team, the Legislature and many private partners to help get more Vermonters connected. This assistance program is another step forward in this challenging work, which is critical to increasing equity in education heading into our school reopening this fall.”
This program was passed through Act 137 and developed in response to the COVID-19 emergency to help Vermonters access broadband.
Under this program, up to $3,000 in financial assistance is available to offset the customer cost portion of a line extension. For details about how to qualify for the LECAP, Vermonters should call the department at 800-622-4496 or visit the department’s Line Extension Customer Assistance Program webpage. All line extensions funded through this program must be completed on or before December 30, 2020. Additional information can be accessed at https://publicservice.vermont.gov.
I’d like to hear from you! let’s talk about connectivity:
Time: Jul 30, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Meeting ID: 874 8233 4656
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Vermont legislative committees to hold community meetings regarding police reform
The House Committees on Government Operations and on Judiciary will be co-hosting virtual meetings on Thursday, August 6; Wednesday, August 12; and Sunday, August 16 to obtain input from community members on proposed changes to law enforcement in Vermont.
The national reaction to events over the past several months has brought systemic racism in the United States into dramatic focus. While Vermont’s legislature has pursued many efforts in recent years to begin to identify and address implicit bias, recognition of the urgency of this work has grown, particularly related to law enforcement. In response, the legislature is considering ideas on how police practices in the State should change, including policies on use of force, citizen oversight, use of body cameras, hiring and training of police officers, and other relevant issues.
Before the legislature returns from recess at the end of August, the two primary House committees working on these issues want to engage Vermonters who may be affected by these policies. The committees seek to hear about Vermonters’ experiences with law enforcement in Vermont. They also seek residents’ suggestions on how to improve interactions between the police and communities of color and other marginalized groups. The public will be able to provide input on specific bills that are already before the legislature, including Senate bills 119 and 124 and House bills 464 and 808, and weigh in on priorities for change that are not included in the existing bills.
The two-hour meetings will be held on Thursday, August 6 at 1:00 p.m.; Wednesday, August 12 at 6:00 p.m.; and Sunday, August 16 at 4:00 p.m. To register to give testimony at one of these hearings, please fill out the registration form at https://legislature.vermont.gov/Links/Public- Hearing-LE. Testimony should be limited to two minutes. Individuals will be able to access the meetings through their computers or phones. You can listen to the meeting via Live Stream here https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/streaming/house-judiciary.
If you would like to submit written testimony, please email it to email@example.com and indicate Police Reform in the subject line.
$3.6 million in bicycle and pedestrian improvements available
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Agency of Transportation (AOT) has issued a grant solicitation for new infrastructure projects that improve access and safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. In 2019, awards totaled $3.6 million for construction and planning projects throughout the state.
“These projects make it possible for more people to walk and bike safely in Vermont communities,” said Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn. “Municipalities across Vermont understand that providing good facilities for walking and bicycling are key factors for livability that can stimulate economic development in our downtowns and improve public health. In light of the current pandemic, providing safe ways for Vermonters to walk and bike is especially important. Supporting our downtowns is critical in helping jumpstart our economy.”
The AOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Program improves access and safety for bicyclists and pedestrians through the planning, design, and construction of infrastructure projects. The program improves transportation options for commuters, visitors to the state, and recreational use. Vermont ranks fourth in the nation for the percentage of commuters who bike or walk to work and fourth in per capita spending on bicycle/pedestrian projects, according to the League of American Bicyclists 2018 benchmarking report on bicycling and walking in the U.S.
To learn more about the AOT 2020 grant program and to access the Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Guide and Application, visit https://vtrans.vermont.gov/highway/local-projects/bike-ped. Applications must be received by 1:00 p.m., September 30, 2020. A pre-application training webinar will be offered on August 11 and August 12. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to participate.
Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions, or if you need assistance navigating government services at (802) 384-0233 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow my regular posts online at http://www.laurasibiliavt.com
Rep. Laura Sibilia
Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, Whitingham