A few notes on some key opportunities to engage with legislative leaders and to hear more about the work on Vermont’s Climate Plan.
A tremendous amount of federal COVID relief funding has made it’s way to Vermont and all states. Speaker of the House Jill Krowinski and Senate Pro Tem Becca Balint are traveling the state to hear from Vermonters about the priorities they have for these once in a lifetime investments. Given the magnitude of the funds and the fact that they will need to be repaid, I believe they must be used to invest in once in a lifetime public investments to help our communities participate in the global economy, train our kids and existing workers for new jobs, and invest in critical infrastructure to support businesses. If you are unable to attend and want to share your thoughts and I will carry them forward to others.
Work on correcting the education finance formula is well underway. This should be a major focus of the 2022 session. At a recent Pupil Weighting Task Force hearing rural, ELL & poor districts testified unanimously about the injustice Vermont’s neediest students and districts have inexperienced under 25 years of an inequitable financing system. Watch here: https://youtu.be/qsR89X5CvU8
This is the time of year when I start to think about the work ahead when the legislature reconvenes in January. This fall I have two interns helping me prepare, a senior from UVM and a senior from Burr & Burton who are monitoring the work underway to reapportion legislative districts after the census and the ongoing work of the Pension Task Force. These two major issues will take up a lot of time in the 2022 session as will Proposition 5 which is a proposal to add language to the Vermont Constitution stating that “an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course.” The ballot measure would prohibit the constitutional right from being denied or infringed unless there is a compelling state interest, which would need to be achieved using the least restrictive means. If the legislature approves Prop 5, then Vermonters will vote on the proposal in November of 2022. In addition, we will see a lot of time and financial investments happening on climate change in Vermont. From hardening the electrical grid in the face of increasingly strong storms, installing more electric car chargers, weatherization efforts for homes and municipal heat conversions – climate adaptation will be a large focus.
Legislators from all party’s are continuing to head out to the forests, lumberyards and sawmills to learn more about the forest economy. We know this sector, like agriculture, has faced significant difficulty and we are trying to meet with Vermonters involved in all aspects of the forest economy to better understand what can be done to stabilize the sector. Members of the rural caucus in the House will likely bring forward a forestry bill in the 2022 Session.
All of this will be happening as we continue to try and break free of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have asked if I think the governor will issue another state of emergency. I will be surprised if we see another state of emergency – unless our healthcare system is in danger of being overloaded. If you haven’t yet gotten vaccinated, please do. What we are seeing happening to hospitals in other parts of the country, where unvaccinated individuals are filling up the ICU’s leaving no room for vaccinated individuals with emergency health needs, is unnecessary, preventable and really dangerous.
Vermont Climate Council Launches Series of Public Events to Gather Feedback and Ideas for Statewide Climate Action Plan
MONTPELIER, Vt. – From hotter days to more frequent and intense storms, Vermont’s climate patterns are clearly shifting and impacting our state. This fall, state officials, local leaders and members of the Vermont Climate Council invite the public to attend one of several events to learn about the development of the state’s Climate Action Plan and help prioritize approaches.
“Join us at an upcoming meeting to discuss how climate change is affecting you and your community and offer feedback on proposed strategies for the Climate Action Plan,” said Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore. “Your perspective matters. The Climate Action Plan will serve as the State’s roadmap for lessening the impacts of climate change, and the ideas and feedback you share with us will inform the Action Plan.”
In 2020, the Vermont Legislature passed the Global Warming Solutions Act. The Act requires Vermonters to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and helps communities prepare to face more extreme weather caused by climate change. The Act also directed the Vermont Climate Councilto develop a Climate Action Plan to guide this work. The Action Plan aims to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next several decades, prepare and protect Vermont communities and landscapes from the greatest risks of climate change and create new jobs to enable this transformation. The initial plan will be adopted on December 1, 2021.
While climate change affects everyone, some people face greater risks due to where they live, their race, ethnicity, income, disability, health, age and/or occupation. Advancing solutions that address the needs of Vermonters facing the greatest risk is a key aspect of the plan.
There are multiple opportunities to join an upcoming event, either online or in person. All events are free and open to everyone interested in attending. Food will be provided at each in-person events. Please note that in-person events are being held in outdoor pavilions or shelters and will observe COVID-19 safety protocols; all attendees are asked to wear masks.
- Tuesday, September 21, 5:00-7:00pm: Elmore State Park Pavilion | 856 VT-12, Elmore, VT
- Wednesday, September 22, 5:00-7:00pm: Emerald Lake State Park Pavilion | 65 Emerald Lake Ln, East Dorset, VT
- Thursday, September 23, 5:00-7:00pm: Lakeside Park Pavilion | 32 Mill St, Island Pond, VT
- Sunday, September 26, 3:00-5:00pm: Airport Park Pavilion | 500 Colchester Point Rd, Colchester, VT
- Thursday, September 30, 6:00-7:30pm: Virtual event via Zoom
- Tuesday, October 5, 6:00-7:30pm: Virtual event via Zoom for BIPOC communities
- Wednesday, October 6, 6:00-7:30pm: Virtual event via Zoom
Sept. 20 at 5 p.m., pre-register at:
Sept. 21 at 10 a.m., pre-register at:
Opening on the Vermont Commission on Women
Open to people of all genders and backgrounds who are passionate about dismantling structural inequities; dedicated to improving economic, social, health, and legal conditions for women; and committed to a vision of Vermont that embraces all its citizens.
For more information, please email Cary Brown firstname.lastname@example.org, or apply directly through Governor Phil Scott’s online application at https://governor.vermont.gov/boards-and-commissions/appointment-application.
Find more information about the commission at https://women.vermont.gov.
Speaker Krowinski and Pro Tem Balint Announce Next Round of “Investing in Vermont’s Future Community Conversations”
Montpelier, VT – House Speaker Jill Krowinski and Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint announce the next round of community conversations on the once in a lifetime opportunity facing Vermont to make significant investments that will transform and shape the future of our state. These regional discussions will be held virtually. Future opportunities will be announced soon and posted on the Speaker and Pro Tem’s websites.
- Windham County Conversation, Tuesday, September 28, 5:30-6:30pm. Register here.
- Grand Isle County Conversation, Saturday, October 2, 2021, 1:00 – 2:00pm. Register here.
- Rutland County Conversation, Monday, October 4, 5:30-6:30pm. Register here.
- Bennington County Conversation, Wednesday, October 6, 5:30-6:30pm. Register here.
- Franklin County Conversation, Tuesday, October 12, 5:30-6:30pm. Register here.
- Caledonia County Conversation, Thursday, October 14, 5:30-6:30pm. Register here.
- Essex County Conversation, Saturday October 16, 2021, 1:00 – 2:00pm. Register here.
Efficiency Vermont, Regional Development Corps. team up to give struggling businesses a boost
Efficiency Vermont has earmarked $1 million, in addition to existing incentives, for projects that will lower energy costs for struggling businesses, and help the state meet its energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction goals.
The new, limited-time program will cover 90 percent of project costs, up to $40,000 per project, compared with 10-50 percent coverage for traditional incentives. Exceptions to the limit may be made on a case-by-case basis depending on the project need. The goal is to identify at least 1-2 projects in each of the state’s 12 development regions.
Projects could include upgrades to lighting, HVAC, compressed air, refrigeration, or other energy-intensive systems that businesses rely on. Engineering studies to assess potential savings opportunities are also eligible for funding. Projects must be completed this year to receive incentives, which will be available on a first-come, first-served basis through an application process.
Many thanks to the Wardsboro and Dover Public Libraries who have agreed to allow me to host monthly in person public office hours at the Wardsboro library on the 3rd Thursdays from 6-7 pm next on October 21st and at the Dover Free library on the 3rd Tuesdays from 6-7 pm and next on this September 21st. I also host monthly online office hours on the 3rd Saturday of the month from 11-noon next happening on October 16th– you can join this online meeting here or by calling +1 646 558 8656 Meeting ID: 734 376 857 Passcode: 003089.
As always, if you have suggestions, concerns or critiques please be in touch so we can schedule time to discuss.
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