Rep. Sibilia: Week 7 of the 2023 Legislative Session

Mark Your Calendar to VOTE for River Valleys Governance in Wardsboro and Dover

The River Valleys School District is voting by Australian Ballot on Monday, February 27th from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at town halls in Dover and Wardsboro on two items: whether or not to amend the district bylaws in order to ensure equal representation of all voters in the district and to decide whether or not to vote from the floor or by Australian Ballot for board member elections.Stop in at the Town Office and vote!

Town Meeting is coming up!

Town Meeting Day is Tuesday, March 7th and three of our district towns will be meeting on that day at 10 am. This year I will be starting in Jamaica with a special resolution and then head to Stratton and finally Dover. I will try to get to each of the towns, but depending on how quickly your town concludes it’s business, I may miss your town. I always create a written Town Meeting report sharing information about the budget and taxes and major legislation that is moving and will be sure to leave copies at your Town Clerk and will post online.

Wardsboro’s Town Meeting will take place on Saturday, May 13th on the Town Hall lawn.

I have been assigned by the Speaker of the House to the House Environment and Energy Committee this year – the bills above the committee is either working on or I am preparing for in case they are taken up.

Public Hearing on the Governor’s Recommended Fiscal Year 2024 Budget

The Vermont House Committee on Appropriations and Senate Committee on Appropriations will jointly hold two public hearings on Tuesday February 21, 2023 at 3:00 p.m. and Tuesday February 28, 2023 at 5:30 p.m. via in person at the State house in Room 11 or via videoconference (Zoom).

The Governor’s FY24 Executive Budget Recommendation may be found here.

The Committees will take testimony on the Governor’s recommended budget at the above date and time. Anyone interested in testifying should sign up in advance of the hearing through the following online form no later than 12:00 p.m. on Monday February 20, 2023, for the hearing date of February 21, 2023, and no later than 12:00 p.m. on Monday February 27, 2023, for the hearing date of February 28, 2023:

To submit written testimony, please email your testimony to

See the full press release here

Emergency Services

Across Vermont our ambulance services have been performing overtime to increased drug and mental health issues and during COVID were called on to increase their services to support the state in major ways. At the same time, reimbursement rates and workforce shortages are threatening to devastate this system that is so critical to Vermonters when they are at their most vulnerable. This week I cosponsored H.263, an act relating to emergency medical services which proposes to make an annual appropriation to the Emergency Medical Services Special Fund, expand commercial insurance and Medicaid coverage of certain emergency medical services, increase emergency medical services provider reimbursement rates, create an emergency medical services study committee, and establish a refundable income tax credit for qualified emergency responders. Please see notice of budget hearing for ways you can support our emergency services personnel.

Community forums on choice legislation

Several bills that will impact choice across Vermont and choice within the Windham Central Supervisory Union have been introduced and may be considered in this session.

I’ve watched and written about the shift in Vermont’s choice landscape. The U.S. Supreme Court decision and the Vermont Constitution are currently misaligned. Maintaining the status quo is not an option. The legislature and its committees are grappling with this reality. I do not concur with some assessments that the current alternative bills being created in the Senate and House education committees will protect taxpayers, students and teachers from the constitutional conflict resulting from the U.S. Supreme Court Decision. In fact I am worried that the opposite is true. That is the primary reason I have signed on as a sponsor to H.258, a House companion bill to Senate bill S.66 which I discussed last week and which would require districts without a school designate up to three schools that meet the definition of a Vermont public school.

Educational inequity that harmed our students, particularly rural and poor students, and overtaxed our communities for decades led me to run 8 years ago. I am aware how intensely parents, educators and taxpayers feel about education policy, their children and their resources. With the possible exception of gun legislation, policy that impacts our kids education has been the most emotional – and unpredictably divisive – legislation the Vermont Legislature has considered during my tenure. While it is impossible for me to vote the way that every voter I represent would like, I always endeavor to keep voters informed about legislation, how to weigh in and how I am thinking about the issues at hand.

In the coming weeks I will hold public forums in each of the towns in our district to explain the bills, answer questions and listen to constituent’s ideas and concerns.

  • Saturday, February 25th 10-11 at the Stratton Town Hall
  • Saturday, February 25th 11:30-12:30 at the Wardsboro Town Hall
  • Saturday, March 4th 9-10 am at the Jamaica Town Hall
  • Saturday, March 4th 11-noon at the Dover Town Hall

I hope you will consider joining me at one or more forums to hear about the bills, my sponsorship of them, and to ask questions or provide suggestions on how to better solve the constitutional problem created by Vermont’s existing choice policy and the U.S. and Vermont Constitutions.

In bid for state approval, religious schools seek to sidestep anti-discrimination laws

Military retiree and veteran’s benefits

Vermont is one of two states in the country that taxes military retirees benefits. Even worse, we tax disabled veterans pensions and the pensions of deceased retirees. As we learn more about the need to have out Iraq and Afghanistan veterans sign up for monitoring from burn pits, and as more of them get sick and pass away at unnaturally young ages, these taxes become increasingly more untenable. Governor Scott, the Vermont National Guard and Veterans Affairs Caucus I co-chair and many other Vermont organizations have been pushing for years to remove this tax and have reintroduced legislation to rectify this. If passed:

  • H.255 will exempt all military retirement and military survivor benefit income from Vermont state. income taxes.
  • H.246 will require that intake forms used by the Departments for Children and Families; of Vermont Health Access; and of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living seek information as to whether an applicant or family member has ever served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • H.264 will exempt disabled veteran’s disability and pension income from Vermont state income taxes.

Connecting Vermont: Broadband rollout making progress

Bill’s I have sponsored this week:

H.209An act relating to public elementary school choice within a supervisory union
H.228An act relating to financial literacy in Vermont’s public schools
H.231An act relating to requiring municipalities to provide notice of a cybersecurity breach
H.246An act relating to veteran status inquiries on program and service intake forms
H.253An act relating to eliminating prohibitions and penalties on the purchase, use, and possession of tobacco products
H.254An act relating to pregnancy center fraud
H.255An act relating to exempting all military retirement and military survivor benefit income
H.258An act relating to the provision of State-funded education in districts that do not maintain an elementary or high school
H.263An act relating to emergency medical services
H.264An act relating to excluding disabled veterans’ disability and pension income from household income
H.266An act relating to the postretirement adjustments to the retirement allowance for the State Teachers’ Retirement System of Vermont
H.269An act relating to the Rural Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Grant Program
H.277An act relating to creating a Rural Business Technical Assistance Exchange
H.289An act relating to the Renewable Energy Standard

Monitor the bills I am sponsoring and recorded roll call votes.

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 Follow my regular posts online at

Rep. Laura Sibilia – Dover, Jamaica, Somerset, Stratton, Wardsboro

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