This is the time of year when I usually feel time begin to slip away. Holidays on the horizon, big projects at my year round job and the start of a new legislative session rushing at us. This year the legislature will reconvene on January 5th 2022 – almost certainly in person.
The last time the Vermont House was convened in person was March 25th, 2020. 101 weeks between occurrences. Legislators have retired or not been reelected. A whole new crop of legislators was elected in the November 2020 election who have never participated in debate on the floor of the House, most of whom I have never met in person. When the legislature reconvenes, it is unclear where committees will meet and how occupancy restrictions and a statehouse mask mandate will be enforced. We have a new Speaker, Pro Tem and Lieutenant Governor in the statehouse. And there are big urgent issues to address and once in a lifetime infrastructure and other federal funding to deploy in such a way it creates stable growth so that our children and grandchildren can pay off the borrowing we are doing today.
There are a whole host of issues which will effect our district and state coming up in the Jan-May 2022 session. I am happy to be partnering with Rep. John Gannon and UVM legislative interns on a series of virtual Thursday morning briefings about big issues we will take up this coming session. This week we will talk about legislative redistricting, the first maps, when the process ends and how your town can weigh in. I hope you will join us.
Coming session will update on the current public status of work from the Pupil Weighting Task Force and what has been happening with the state pension Task Force. On December 8th the legislature will hear from the state economist and hear about the status of revenues and expense of the state. This legislative session will also include a second vote on a constitutional right to reproductive freedom and the release of the first Global Warming Solutions Act emissions reduction and climate adaptation plan. It is my hope to also schedule time on December 9 and 16 to preview all three of these issues as well.
With vaccines for children and FDA approved treatments for COVID on the horizon, it feels like we are approaching a new paradigm in how we can safely approach the pandemic. I certainly hope that is the case. Thanks to each of you for your patience, your perseverance and your kindness as we have weathered the most disruptive period of time most Americans have ever faced.
Legislative Preview with Rep. Sibilia and Rep. Gannon
Vermont’s 2022 legislative session will begin on January 5th. Deerfield Valley Representatives Laura Sibilia and John Gannon are hosting a series of online meetings to break down some of the issues the legislature is expected – or required – to take up. Join us Thursday mornings at 8:30 am:
- Thursday November 11th at 8:30 am Legislative Apportionment
- Thursday November 18th at 8:30 am Pupil Weighting
- Thursday December 2nd at 8:30 am Vermont’s Pension System
Join Zoom Meeting online: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/734376857?pwd=Z1BmNmlwcWxJMWxVZTFaZE96MmlQQT09or by phone +1 646 558 8656 US Meeting ID: 734 376 857 Passcode: 003089
Vermont Health Connect Open Enrollment
Important Message: Open Enrollment is here! Sign up by December 15 to have health insurance starting on January 1. Or check out the 2022 Plan Comparison Tool to see new lower costs! Who you pay your monthly health insurance payment to will change for 2022. Read more on our How to Pay
The Vermont Seasonal Fuel Assistance (LI-HEAP) is energy assistance program that helps eligible members meet their fuel and energy cost by providing them with benefits direct at subsidizing their fuel or heat bills. This pays a specified amount to the utility vendors aimed at settling the energy bills of eligible member. Since its inception the program has enabled thousands of Vermont households gain access to energy and heat especially in the cold winter months.» LIHEAP Program Information
Senator Sanders’ 12th Annual State of the Union Essay Contest
Senator Bernie Sanders’ annual State of the Union Essay Contest is designed to engage Vermont’s high school students on the major issues facing the country. Over the past eleven years, nearly 5,000 students throughout Vermont have written essays about critically important issues, including climate change, racial justice, access to mental health care, the state of our democracy, and much, much more.
VERMONT MINIMUM WAGE TO INCREASE IN 2022
Montpelier, Vt. – The Vermont Department of Labor has announced an increase to the State’s minimum wage. Beginning January 1, 2022, the State’s minimum wage will become $12.55 per hour. This is an increase of $0.80 from the current minimum wage of $11.75.
This annual adjustment also impacts the minimum wage for tipped employees. The Basic Tipped Wage Rate for service, or “tipped employees,” equals 50% of the full minimum wage. On January 1, 2022, the tipped minimum wage will increase from $5.88 to $6.28 per hour.
The minimum wage and tipped minimum wage are adjusted annually in accordance with Vermont law and take effect at the start of the new year. Any employee who believes they are not being compensated fairly, according to this law, is encouraged to contact the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Unit at 802-951-4083 or online at Labor.Vermont.gov/Rights-and-Wages.
Additional information on the Vermont Department of Labor and its resources may be found at Labor.Vermont.gov.
It seems the state of Vermont doesn’t track development and construction dollars, or maintain a database. This lack of information strongly reduces the possibility for progress. Untrue anecdotes become perception, and without data, strategy is just guesswork.Diane Snelling: A new Act 250 board is needed to offer a plan that works VTDigger October 20, 2021
Vermont pediatricians are hosting online conversations about COVID-19 vaccines for children! See how you can join in
5 year old and up now eligible. Families will be able to make appointments for state-run sites through the Vermont registration system. With support from EMS and other health care partners, the Health Department has also arranged for clinics in nearly 100 schools across the state over a six-week period, beginning on Monday, November 8. In addition to these, families can get vaccinated at pharmacies or some pediatrician’s offices and family practices.
Appointments for both the school-based and state-run clinics can be made at healthvermont.gov/KidsVaccineor by calling 855-722-7878. Families may need to add their child as a dependent in the registration system.
Get extra protection with a booster shot. You should get a booster if you are:
- 18 or older and you received your Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months
- 65 or older and you received your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago
For Pfizer and Moderna boosters, if you are 18-64 you should get a booster if you received your second dose at least six months ago and you feel at risk of getting COVID-19. The CDC defines risk as:
- having certain medical conditions, including mental health conditions
- working in a job that increases your risk of COVID-19 because you are indoors, exposed to the public and to other workers
- living in a long term care facility, group home, college dormitory or other congregate setting
- are Black, Indigenous or a person of color (BIPOC) or live with someone who is BIPOC.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow my regular posts online at http://www.laurasibiliavt.com
Rep. Laura Sibilia Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, Whitingham