This week my family was lucky enough to celebrate two major life moments – my husband and number one supporter TJ turned 50 and my oldest daughter and her longtime beau who we love got engaged. It was so sweet to have these beautiful life moments in our lives – I hope you all are finding giant and tiny reasons for joy through these times.
This update includes information on an extension of the Vermont State of Emergency, continuing developments for students and teachers in the fast approaching school year, the results of our local primary elections and an invitation after a new symbol of ethnic and religious hatred painted on the roadway.
First, with more hate speech being spray painted on Windham County roads, this week in Dover, I am looking for ideas and partners to publicly welcome the many new residents and visitors we have to our towns. We are better then this and we are kinder more welcoming communities then these incidents infer. If you are interested in a working on a public welcome outreach campaign for our towns, or if you have a great idea on how to publicly welcome ALL new residents, second homeowners and visitors – send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am also looking into state policies on defacing public property.
This year is the 100th anniversary of women being granted the right to vote. I was asked to expand on what the next step was for women’s politics. While I would agree with many folks that the Equal Rights Amendment is the next step, an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would prevent discrimination based on gender, the way we are going about it’s passage highlights why there is a step that must happen before before the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) – democratic reforms that can help our government regularly function.
The ERA is supported by close to 75% of Americans, but time, technical and legal details have prevented its passage. If the process of passage by Congress and ratification by the states were restarted – and our government systems were functioning – the ERA could be passed in a few short years. The lack of function in our government means that it makes more sense to try and rewrite precedent and push for questionable legal precedent law in the courts to get passage on the effort from the 1970’s. This is what is happening today. And honestly it feels like a big waste of time and energy. How can we get our government to function with more support and get action on rights and reforms supported by most Americans?
The way our current system is set up, power belongs to the far left and far right fringes of our two party duopoly. The moderates on the right and left, though larger in number then the fringes of the parties, are squeezed out through democratic electoral systems that favor extremism in the two parties. Ranked Choice Voting, Independent Redistricting Commissions and Open “Jungle” Primaries are three electoral reforms we could enact that would require a majority vote for election and penalize personal attacks and reward discussion of issues and solutions.
These reforms could help get our government back functioning with regular order and help us tackle big and small problems that need our attention – like the ERA!
New guidance from the Vermont Agency of Education:
GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT EXTENDS STATE OF EMERGENCY TO SEPTEMBER 15
Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott today announced that the COVID-19 State of Emergency has been extended to September 15, 2020, as well as additional local discretion for gathering size limits and liquor sales.
“We’ve made tremendous progress since this pandemic started and have suppressed the virus even as we’ve reopened much of the economy,” said Governor Scott. “We should be proud of what we’ve done but given what the rest of the country is facing, every one of us must stay vigilant to protect the gains we’ve made. This means wearing a mask when around those you don’t live with, staying six feet apart, washing your hands a lot, staying home when you’re sick and following our travel guidance.”
The latest order enables cities and towns to enact stricter local limits for gathering sizes than those established by the State. Municipalities may also mandate shorter hours for the sale of alcohol by bars and clubs than those set forth by the Department of Liquor and Lottery.
“As college students begin to return to Vermont, I believe giving our towns – especially the college towns – some additional mitigation measures to work with is the right thing to do,” said Governor Scott.
Additionally, the Department of Motor Vehicles will develop processes for temporary electronic plates and permits that will be valid for up to 60 days.
“Our response has been one of the most comprehensive and effective in the U.S., and while we know we may see additional cases in the fall, we’ll continue to adapt our approach based on new facts, the data we track in real time, and the input of our world-class health experts,” added Governor Scott.
Click here to view the August 14 COVID press conference, covering this extension.
For more information on:
- COVID-19 health information, guidance and case data, visit www.healthvermont.gov/covid19.
- The Governor’s actions, visit https://governor.vermont.gov/covid19response.
- The state’s modeling, visit https://dfr.vermont.gov/about-us/covid-19/modeling.
School and Fall Sports Guidance Released
A Strong and Healthy Start: Safety and Health Guidance for Vermont Schools has been updated. In addition, guidance for Fall Sports Programs for the 2020-2021 School Year has been published.
LOCAL CONTACT FOR CLOTH FACE COVERINGS
The state of Vermont has made 300,000 donated cloth face masks available to all municipalities throughout the state. These masks are available to the public subject to the distribution strategy of each municipality.
The face masks will be distributed directly to municipalities that have requested them. The list of towns and points of contacts are listed here. The list will be updated as more towns request their allotment of masks. If your community is not listed, that indicates they did not request their allotment, or did not provide a contact. Vermonters looking to obtain cloth face masks may do so by getting in touch with the point of contact listed and requesting more info.
The State of Vermont Tax Department announced two grant programs for municipalities, supported by Act 137 using federal Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF):
- $2 million under the Coronavirus Municipal Records Digitization Grant Program
- $13 million under the Local Government Expense Reimbursement (LGER) Grant Program
The Child Development Division of the Department for Children and Families would like to meet with Vermont’s employers to learn more about any child care concerns that employers may anticipate going into the fall. This sort of listening session will be helpful to the Child Development Division as we continue to develop policies to support the needs of families. We would also like to take the opportunity to open lines of communication with employers about how families can make use of the state’s existing services to match with available child care, how to learn more about child care subsidies, and other ways that the state is working to support families during this challenging time. The RDCs of Vermont are encouraging businesses to attend these meetings.
Southern Region: Bennington County, Windham County, Windsor County Friday, August 21, 2:00-3:00 PM
Join Microsoft Teams Meeting or call +1 802-828-7667 United States, Montpelier (Toll), Conference ID: 482 483 442#
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Vermonters have reported receiving an email or text message claiming to be from the Vermont Department of Labor, promising to pay “COVID-19 Benefits and Compensation” to eligible workers. A large sum of money is promised to be paid pending ID Verification. This is a phishing scam that attempts to steal your personal information and your …
Good afternoon friends and neighbors, My heartfelt gratitude to all who are complying with the federal and state guidelines and limiting social interactions during this holiday. There is currently a mandatory quarantine period for all traveling to Vermont. I know folks are tired and missing their families and friends. I can hear the weariness in …
This commentary is submitted by Rep. Laura Sibilia of Dover, Rep. Terry Norris of Shoreham, Rep. Kelly Pajala of Londonderry and Rep. Barbara Murphy of Fairfax Vermont independents looking for consensus building Speaker of the House The national and Vermont election results provide legislators with important takeaways. It seems clear our nation wants more kindness, …
Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions, or if you need assistance navigating government services at (802) 384-0233 or email@example.com. Follow my regular posts online at http://www.laurasibiliavt.com
Rep. Laura Sibilia
Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, Whitingham