This week I joined with members of the Vermont National Guard and Veterans Affairs Caucus, veterans organizations, the Lt Governor and members of governors cabinet to press for action to stop taxing military retiree pay. Vermont is one of only three states that fully taxes retiree pay. We made progress on this issue last year, passing a partial exemption out of the House. This issue is now in front of the Senate – be in touch with your senators if this is an issue you would like to see acted on.
Thank you to all who have been in touch this week on Prop 5, bio fuels, legislative redistricting and qualified immunity. And thank you to the Boards of Civil Authority in each of our towns who are preparing detailed testimony about their town’s legislative district in the future and responding to my interns inquiries to ensure we get that information to the Government Operations Committee as soon as possible.
S.254 has been introduced in the Senate by Senators Sears and Balint and provides for police officers to be sued if they are found to have violated the constitutional rights of an individual. It is unclear to me if, or when, this bill will be taken up. The language in the bill is below as well as several perspectives on discussions around the country that I have been reading.
|S.254||An act relating to creating a private right of action against law enforcement officers for violating rights established under Vermont law|
- Frequently Asked Questions About Ending Qualified Immunity
- What Is Qualified Immunity, and What Does It Have to Do With Police Reform?
- What Would Eliminating Qualified Immunity Mean for States and Local Governments
- Majority of Public Favors Giving Civilians the Power to Sue Police Officers for Misconduct
- Dozens of states have tried to end qualified immunity. Police officers and unions helped beat nearly every bill.
The House Committee on Human Services held a public hearing on Proposal 5, a proposed amendment to the Constitution of the State of Vermont regarding the right to personal reproductive freedom, on Wednesday, January 26, 2022 in the House Chamber and on Zoom. The proposed amendment was voted out of House Human Services Committee on a 9-2 vote. If the proposed amendment is approved by the full House then the voters of Vermont will have to vote to approve the proposed amendment during the November 2022 General Election. Here is information on the procedure for changing the Vermont Constitution.
Prop 5 is about a very personal and very emotional issue. It’s important to understand the federal laws and Vermont practices that are involved in this proposed amendment.
I will vote in favor of this proposed amendment, the right for individuals to make decisions about their bodies and their reproductive healthcare and for Vermonters to be able to vote for themselves on whether or not enshrining our current laws in the Vermont Constitution should happen.
Pupil Weighting and Vermont’s Education Finance System
Testimony on aspects of the incomplete Task Force to implement the Pupil Weighting Factor recommendations in Senate Finance, Senate Education and House Ways and Means can be listened to via the links above. There are many House and Senate members from around the state working on education finance and many engaged on correcting this injustice.
The House Education Committee has started taking testimony on the effect that Act 173, a bill which changes how special education is funded, will have on districts if pupil weights are not corrected before the law goes into effect.
Many thanks to our administrators, local boards and citizens throughout the Valley and Southern Vermont and Vermonters from the Kingdom, Winooski, Rutland and Burlington that are working so hard to correct this 20+ year injustice to our students, communities and taxpayers. We have made a lot of progress, and the work continues.
EdRemote Worker Relocation Grant Program Now Open
The New Remote Worker Grant builds upon Vermont’s previous worker relocation incentive programs to attract new residents to the state. This grant offers up to $7,500 in reimbursements for eligible expenses to remote workers who become full-time residents on or after February 1 and continue to work for an out-of-state employer. The application portal is now live and accepting applications. Find answers to the most frequently asked questions and detailed eligibility criteria here.
VERMONT DECLARATION OF INCLUSION
Housing in the Valley
The Bi-Town Housing Committee is working on Shared Housing https://www.doververmont.com/community/page/multifamily-homebuyer-course and conducting an employee survey: https://www.doververmont.com/community/page/business-owners-please-complete-brief-employee-housing-survey They also have a Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Deerfield-Valley-Housing-102998104412587
Hunting and Fishing Public Hearing
Public Hearing to Hear From Vermonters on Various Hunting and Fishing Bills Currently in the Vermont Senate
The Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy is currently reviewing a number of bills relating to hunting and fishing in the State. We would like to hear from the Vermont public on these proposed bills. We will hold a remote (virtual) public hearing regarding three proposed new laws on Thursday, February 10, 2022, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. All the bills can be found on the Committee’s webpage or accessed here via the following links:
• S.129, An act relating to the management of fish and wildlife;
• S.201, An act relating to the use of leghold traps; and
• S.281, An act relating to hunting coyotes with dogs.
The Committee suggests that members of the public read the bills prior to this hearing. Persons wanting to read the broader law in this area can consult Vermont Statutes Annotated (V.S.A.), Title 10, chapters 101–124 and 10 V.S.A. Appendix, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Regulations.
Anyone interested in testifying must sign up in advance of the hearing through the following online form: https://legislature.vermont.gov/links/wildlife-bills-feb-10-public- hearing
Instructions on how to access and participate in the hearing will be sent once you have signed up for the hearing. Testimony time will be limited to two minutes per person.
To submit written testimony, please e-mail an MS Word file or PDF file to firstname.lastname@example.org and include the Bill number you’re referring to the subject line. The public hearing will be available to watch live on YouTube at the following link:
For more information about the format of these events, contact Mike Ferrant at email@example.com.
February VERAP Update
Attention Tenants and Landlords: The Vermont legislature made substantial changes to the Renter Rebate program in Act 160 of 2020. These changes will take effect in the 2021 tax year. Please see links below for more details
For Tenant tax information click here.
For Landlord tax information click here
- VERAP payments are not taxable income for TENANTS. Landlords should list VERAP payments as subsidized rent.
- To speed up processing all paper documentation needs to be sent to VERAP P.O. BOX 2348 Hartford, CT 06101-9951
OTHER EXPENSES RELATED TO HOUSING REPAIRS For more information please click here
Bills that have passed the House and Senate and are waiting for the governor’s signature
|H.693||2/3/2022||An act relating to the annual budget vote of the Northeast Kingdom Waste Management District|
|H.454||1/28/2022||An act relating to approval of an amendment to the charter of the City of Burlington|
|S.78||1/28/2022||An act relating to binding interest arbitration for employees of the Vermont Judiciary|
|H.157||1/27/2022||An act relating to registration of construction contractors|
|H.589||1/25/2022||An act relating to reapportioning the initial districts of the House of Representatives|
Noteworthy legislative items:
- News roundup: Vermont’s COVID death toll continues to rise
- Statement from Governor Phil Scott Following Bipartisan Military Retirement Income Tax Exemption Presser
Latest OpEds and Blog Posts
- Rep. Sibilia: 2022 Session Update Week 4
- Rep. Sibilia: 2022 Session Update Week 3
- Rep Sibilia: 2022 Session Update Weeks 1 & 2
Stay in touch and keep track of the legislative session
See what bills I have sponsored and voting record, or watch my committee hearings or Listen to VPR House Live Audio or Watch House Live Video .
Join me on the 3rd Thursday of the month at 6 pm when I will be zooming with the Wardsboro Library from the statehouse or the 3rd Saturdays at 11 am when I host virtual office hours and you can join 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 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