Rep. Sibilia: 2022 Session Week 8 update

Good evening,

H.717 An act relating to providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine has passed both the House and Senate and will be signed by Governor Scott on Tuesday, March 15, 2022 – 6:30 p.m. on the State House Steps, Montpelier, Vermont. Members of the public are encouraged to join and bring candles or lights.

Daylight Savings Time begins tomorrow and goes through to November 6th, so though we are having a snow day today, Spring is right around the corner.

This week I heard from a few hunters in our district about bills that are moving in the Senate. Senate bill 201 requires the Commissioner of Fish and Wildlife to bring forward Best Management Practices for trapping by 2023 using a public process. Senate bill 281 requires a permit for hunting coyotes with dogs and permission to hunt on land not owned by the hunter. Both bill will be voted on – by the Senate – next week and will then go to the Natural Resources Committee in the House. If you are interested in testifying on these bills when they are in the House please let me know.

Yesterday the House voted to override the governor’s Veto of H.361 changes to the Town of Brattleboro Charter which would allow 16 and 17 year old Brattleboro residents the ability to vote in local elections. Brattleboro voters approved the requested change 905-405. Governor Scott vetoed the change (his veto message can be read on page 4 of Friday’s House calendar), citing repeated legislative initiatives to raise the age of criminal accountability. I agree with the governor and would not vote to move these initiatives forward at the state level. Nonetheless, as with the Burlington charter change seeking to regulate heating systems, I voted to support the local vote from Brattleboro.

H.572 An act relating to the retirement allowance for interim educators
This bill proposes to allow a beneficiary of the Vermont State Teachers’ Retirement System to resume service as an interim educator for a one-year period and continue to receive a retirement allowance for that period.

Next week a number of significant bills will be up for action in the House including: H.715 Clean Heat Standard – which I recently released an opinion piece onH.722 which is the final House Redistricting Plan and contains the language for the new Bennington-1 and Windham-2 legislative districts. I remain deeply opposed to the prioritization of the addresses of incumbent legislators in developing this final proposal as well as the deconstructing of legislative districts in the population stable Deerfield Valley in order to maintain districts along the Route 7 corridor that have lost population. I will vote no on this plan which the majority of the towns I currently represent oppose. Having said this, the current Representative for Pownal Nelson Brownel, if re-elected, would be the new representative for Bennington-1 and Stamford, Readsboro and Searsburg. Rep. Brownel shares concerns we have expressed about the lack of connection between Pownal and Stamford, Readsboro and Searsburg, but has also expressed interest in learning about town leaders priorities we have been working on.

The final 2022 Budget Adjustment bill has been passed and S.286 An act relating to amending various public pension and other postemployment benefits is on the move. This bill reflects the compromise work between the legislature and governor on pension reform.

I have also been contacted about S.254 An act relating to creating a private right of action against law enforcement officers for violating rights established under Vermont law This bill has has been amended and passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The so called “Qualified Immunity” bill would:

  • codify the principle established by the Vermont Supreme Court in Zullo v. State, 2019 VT 1 as a burden that a plaintiff must prove to obtain damages in an action brought against any Vermont law enforcement agency for a violation of Article 11 of the Constitution of the State of Vermont.
  • require law enforcement agencies to maintain a record of all final judgments and settlements paid by the law enforcement agency for civil rights violation claims
  • requite a report on the impact of the doctrine of qualified immunity on access to civil justice remedies for people wrongfully harmed by bad-faith policing and violations of civil rights in the State of Vermont.

EDUCATION: FINACE REFORM

Three cheers for the Senate! A bill has emerged in the Senate that rejects the summer task force suggestion to replace pupil weighting with a whole new approach and proposes passing a bill implementing the pupil weights. 

This article provides a good summary of and a link to the bill, which is also here.

The Coalition for Student Equity and the Town of Dover are both engaged in these discussions in the statehouse. There is a long way to go still, but having a bill that corrects the 20 year weighting flaws in Act 60/68 come out of the Senate is a very good step.


News of Interest to the Windham/Bennington District



Latest OpEds and Blog Posts


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 lsibilia@leg.state.vt.us. Follow my regular posts online at http://www.laurasibiliavt.com

Kind regards, 
Rep. Laura Sibilia Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, Whitingham

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