A quick update on this first shortened week of the 2023 Legislative Session.
On Wednesday morning all elected legislators were sworn in and assigned committees. Committees are where we do the work of diving deep in to policies in a specific area of jurisdiction. As I have previously noted, there were a significant number of committee leadership retirements last year. As a result, the Speaker of the House and the democratic super-majority reconfigured a number of different committees of jurisdiction.
For the 2023/2024 I have been named Vice Chair of the new Environment and Energy Committee alongside Chair Rep. Amy Sheldon of Middlebury who came into the legislature the same year I did, and ranking member Rep.Seth Bongartz of Manchester. This committee will continue to be where progress on transitioning to a smart (connected to the internet) electric grid connecting to all Vermonters and progress on universal community fiber build out will be fostered and monitored. In addition, this committee is the committee of jurisdiction for Act 250 and land use, water and air quality, fish, wildlife and climate change mitigation. That is a lot of really big subject areas. I am worried about our ability to do the amount of work necessary to provide proper oversight on all of those topics. I am working with Rep. Sheldon and the Speaker’s Office on strategies to ensure we give it our best effort.
On Thursday, Governor Scott was sworn in, along with new Treasurer Mike Pieciak, new Secretary of State Sara Copeland-Hanzas and new Attorney General Charity Clark. The governor’s inaugural address highlighted the need to ensure all of our communities have the human resources and capacity needed to realize the opportunity and challenges in front of our state and country. Unprecedented federal funds are available to be leveraged to address unprecedented shifts in our climate, demographics and economy – if communities can reach for them. This is a subject area that the Rural Caucus has been developing policy and intends to introduce legislation in the next weeks.
Housing, childcare and workforce are shared priorities between the legislature and the administration. The governor’s 2023 budget adjustment and 2024 budget proposals will be delivered in the coming weeks and then negotiations will formally begin on the policies noted above as well as other items of legislative priority.
Our two new Windham County senators have been sworn in and assigned their new committees. In the Senate, senators have two committee assignments. Senator Hashim has been named as Vice Chair of the Judiciary Committee and a member of the Education Committee. He also found me today to ask if he could join me at some of our virtual office hours this session – which I’m really pleased to have happen. I’ll be sure to let you know when he or Senator Harrison are able to attend. Senator Harrison has been named Vice Chair of the Senate Institutions Committee and a member of the Economic Development and Housing Committee. New Halifax, Whitingham, Wilmington Rep. Tristan Roberts has been assigned to the House Corrections and Institution Committee. Stamford, Readsboro and Searsburg’s new representative Rep. Nelson Brownell is now on the House Education Committee
“Coping with our changing climate is a marathon not a sprint – and it may be more like an unscheduled and unscripted Spartan race.”2023 VLCT Legislative Preview
Funding to Install or Replace Homeowners Water or Wastewater Systems
ARPA On-Site Funding Update
The per-qualification application period for second round funding is open from December 12, 2022 through January 31, 2023. Interested parties can find a link to the pre-qualification application below. Previous applicants do not need to submit a new application as the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) will automatically consider their first application in the second round.
The ANR Healthy Homes Program has notified all applicants of their application status for first round funding. Most applicants were notified via email. However, applicants without access to email were mailed physical letters. If you did not receive a notification from the ANR Healthy Homes Program but submitted an application, please email the ANR Healthy Homes Program at ANR.HealthyHomes@vermont.gov, or call us at 802-828-0141 or toll-free at 1-877-344-0354.
To learn more about second round funding, view Frequently Asked Questions. View the recent press release.
The legislature asks for study committees and updates on many different policy areas. Of particular notice to our district, the regional dispatch report has just been released as well as a report on the Agency of Education’s financial management software system.
The Vermont Emergency Rental Assistance Program (VERAP) is coming to an end.
- WTSA News For Your Friday, January 6th
- Live from the statehouse: Lawmakers share their priorities for the new session
- Rural Caucus setting priorities for 2023 to support rural communities
- In 2023 inaugural speech, Gov. Phil Scott turns his focus away from pandemic, back to rural communities
Monitor the bills I am sponsoring and recorded roll call votes. This week I sponsored a bill which would remove the legislature from directing the reapportionment process. This process is too open to partisan influence – even in Vermont. Having legislators draw the lines for the districts they will represent is a backwards process. Voters choose their elected representatives, representatives are not supposed to be choosing their voters.
|H.20||An act relating to exploring modification to Vermont’s reapportionment process|
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, Jamaica, Somerset, Stratton, Wardsboro