Deerfield Valley Healthcare forum and discussion on Individual Mandate

Deerfield Valley employees, residents and employers invited to attend

Ambitious health care reform that changes how providers are paid is currently being implemented across the state. Come participate in a discussion to better understand how these changes will impact your premiums and access to care. We will also discuss passage this past year of an individual mandate requiring Vermonters to be covered by insurance as of January 1, 2020. This legislation was passed in reaction to the repeal of the individual mandate federally this past year. Deerfield Valley State Representatives Laura Sibilia and John Gannon want to ensure residents, employees and employers in the Deerfield Valley communities can weigh in on the current state of healthcare and what choices they face with an individual mandate.

A Health Care Forum for residents and employees who work in the towns of Dover, Halifax, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Readsboro, Wardsboro, Whitingham and Wilmington will be held on Tuesday October 16th from 6 pm to 7:30 pm at Twin Valley Middle High School 4299 Vermont Route 100 Whitingham, VT.   Gannon and Sibilia are hosting the forum.

The purpose of the forum is for those who live and work in the 9 towns to be able to hear about the complexities of the state health care financing and share information about how they would be impacted by possible legislative and non-legislative solutions. Michael Fisher, the state’s chief health care advocate, will highlight today’s big picture challenges in Vermont health care and share information on the recently released by the Individual Mandate Working Group which has come up with preliminary recommendations on how mandatory health insurance should work in Vermont.

Questions from residents or employees of the Deerfield Valley on the upcoming forum can be sent to Rep. John Gannon at jgannon@leg.state.vt.us or Rep. Laura Sibilia at lsibilia@leg.state.vt.us

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Update from Rep. Sibilia :: Public forum in Stamford, Healthcare forum next week

Tuesday October 9 Tue 6:30 PM at the Stamford Elementary School we are hosting another public forum.  Thus far these forums have been excellent opportunities for me to hear from and respond to small groups about specific constituent concerns. Act 46, workforce, healthcare, telephone and internet service, carbon taxes and climate change have been the most frequent topics brought up – please come and lets talk about how Vermont government can better respond to Vermonter everyday challenges.
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Next Tuesday October 16th Rep. John Gannon and I will be hosting a single issue forum on Healthcare with Vermont’s Healthcare Advocate Michael Fisher in Whitingham at the Twin Valley auditorium from 6-7:30
Ambitious health care reform that changes how providers are paid is currently being implemented across the state. Come participate in a discussion to better understand how these changes will impact your premiums and access to care. We will also discuss passage this past year of an individual mandate requiring Vermonters to be covered by insurance as of January 1, 2020. This legislation was passed in reaction to the repeal of the individual mandate federally this past year. Deerfield Valley State Representatives Laura Sibilia and John Gannon want to ensure residents, employees and employers in the Deerfield Valley communities can weigh in on the current state of healthcare and what choices they face with an individual mandate. complete release here
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Open enrollment period is November 1 through December 15th more info 
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I attended the Vermont State Board of Education hearing on September 19, 2018 at Green Mountain Union High School, Chester, VT.
This hearing was for the State Board to hear from districts prior to deciding what to do with those that didn’t opted to merge voluntarily.
The 95 districts that didn’t merge submitted alternative plans, or Section 9 proposals, to the Agency of Education for consideration. Stamford/Clarksburg Interstate group testified.
In June, Acting Education Secretary Heather Bouchey recommended 18 forced mergers. She recommended the remaining districts not consolidate – due to mergers being impractical or legally impossible – or that they continue with processes already underway. The state board has a final plan due on Nov. 30.  I provided testimony to the state board which can be read  here.
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16th Annual Gilfeather Turnip Festival & Contest

October 27, 2018  Wardsboro  Saturday 10 to 3
Rain or Shine
Main Street and Town Hall
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29 days till the election!  Got one of these? Want one?
 
This year there is not a contested election but a number of folks have asked me about putting signs out – thank you! If you have a campaign sign please put it out – if you’d like one, please let TJ or I know and we will get one to you.
If you are able to offset year round communications and travel obligations through a token financial contribution, it’s appreciated.

Please stay engaged and stay in touch via email lhsibilia@gmail.com or phone 802-384-0233. If you’d like to receive updates from my blog as they are posted please check out www.laurasibiliavt.com.

Rep. Laura Sibilia
State Representative
Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, Whitingham

#Vermont seeks proposals for an electric bus pilot program

The Agency of Natural Resources, Vermont’s lead agency beneficiary of the Volkswagen Trust, has announced a Request for Proposals to seek proposals for the administration and implementation of the electric school and transit bus pilot program for the pilot period, and to facilitate coordination between all parties involved.  Vermont hopes to implement the pilot program in FY 19. Proposals are due November 16, 2018.

For more information about the VW Environmental Mitigation Trust, the Request for Proposals, and Vermont’s plan, please visit http://dec.vermont.gov/air-quality/vw.

If you have any questions about the Request for Proposals, please contact Maria Davies (802.622.4022; maria.davies@vermont.gov).

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Gold Star Family monument dedicated in Northfield

I was fortunate enough to attend today’s dedication of a Gold Star Family monument and to meet 95 year old Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams. Woody survived the battle on Iwo Jima.

Woody spoke of his mission to draw attention to the sacrifice made by families and friends of fallen soldiers, and his wish to see a national monument for gold star mothers.

The Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Foundation is a charitable 501c(3) nonprofit organization that pursues specific endeavors and goals through the vision of Medal of Honor Recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams. The Foundation encourages, with the assistance of the American public and community leaders, establishing permanent Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments in communities throughout the country, providing Living Legacy scholarships to Gold Star Children, and sponsoring & hosting Gold Star Families Outreach across the country.

Testimony to SBE on Act 46 Section 9 proposals

Stamford testifies about progress on the Stamford/Clarksburg interstate school district

I attended the Vermont State Board of Education hearing on September 19, 2018 at Green Mountain Union High School, Chester, VT.  This hearing was for the State Board to hear from districts prior to deciding what to do with those that didn’t opted to merge voluntarily.

The 95 districts that didn’t merge submitted alternative plans, or Section 9 proposals, to the Agency of Education for consideration. Stamford/Clarksburg Interstate group testified.

In June, Acting Education Secretary Heather Bouchey recommended 18 forced mergers. She recommended the remaining unmerged districts not consolidate – due to mergers being impractical or legally impossible – or that they continue with processes already underway. The state board has a final plan due on Nov. 30.

Testimony took place all day with many districts that have been unable to secure a vote to merge from their electorate advocating those votes be respected. Local votes should be respected, particularly on matters limited to that community. Since he passage of Act 60 twenty years ago, education decisions in Vermont very seldom impact only one community.

I provided testimony to the state board which can be read below.

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Thank you for allowing me to testify today.

There are a number of points of view I am bringing to this testimony, but to be clear I am testifying today as the State Representative of the Windham-Bennington District.

I’m the oldest of 12 siblings whose lives were measurably improved by the staff of a small rural public school in Whitingham.  I would note that is a school district which has since been merged for over 10 years with Wilmington

I’m a mom of three and I invested my treasure, my children, in my community school and that Twin Valley merged district – my girls have graduated from college and my son will head to college in another 2 years

I’m a 17 year member of the Dover School Board which will meet for its final time at this year’s Town Meeting

I’m a one year member of the new River Valleys Unified Board for the merged districts of Dover and Wardsboro, a member of the Windham Central Supervisory Union Board and a four year member of the Vermont School Board Association Board for Windham County School Boards

An elected member of Vermont’s General Assembly who surprised many by voting for Act 46. I did so because I was convinced that our rural schools and students were in trouble. Every single one of my geographically isolated and rural towns has complied with Act 46 resulting in 3 completed mergers, one interstate merger in process and one standalone non operational district. They are all working many many hours to find improved educational benefits for their students.

I hold a private sector job which assesses demographic and economic data for the Windham And Bennington Region – who it should be noted are working together – and the two counties are in the midst of planning strategies to work together to repopulate and reinvigorate the economy in Southern Vermont

I’m also a resident of the Town of Dover. The fourth largest sending Town to the state education fund.

I want to remind you that Vermonters did not get a vote on whether or not they wanted to change how we pay for education after constitutional violations were found in Brigham. Our courts and the legislature – with their statewide view and constitutional imperative – decided for Vermonters because, in Vermont, all students are to be afforded substantially equitable education opportunities no matter where you live.

I want to remind you that Vermont business taxpayers are making huge investments in education for students all throughout the state – without being able to vote on the budgets.

And I want to remind you that students living in poverty, students living in fragile family circumstance, or in towns losing population, students attending schools in places where they can’t access internet, after-school programs, foreign language, or where they don’t have consistently competent boards, top notch administrators or low staff turnover – these students don’t get to vote.

The conditions that created the need for Act 46, chiefly declining population, still exist and in some places, like Southern Vermont, they are accelerating in younger age cohorts.  The activity that has taken place to date in the BRSU and along Route 100 and Route 30  have been and continue to be significant for those communities – but that activity alone is not going to fix the inequities or bring greater fiscal accountability to this state funded system.

Please remember – you have a responsibility to all of the kids and the kids don’t get to vote.

Public Forums on a Cost and Benefit Analysis of Policies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in #Vermont.

PRESS RELEASE: Public Forums on a Cost and Benefit Analysis of Policies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Vermont.

The Joint Fiscal Office (JFO) has finalized a contract for independent professional assistance to complete a study of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Vermont, per Act 11 of 2018.

That contract is with Resources for the Future (RFF), an independent, nonprofit research institution whose mission is to improve environmental, energy, and natural resource decision making through impartial economic research and policy engagement. RFF has decades of experience delivering solutions to cost-effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions and advance a reliable and clean energy system.

Two public forums are scheduled to gain an understanding of Vermonters’ interests and concerns regarding policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Vermont. RFF will use the information from these public forums to help inform their study. The general public is invited to participate in these two public forums. The Forums are scheduled from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. and details are as follows:

Wednesday September 26, Room 11,Vermont State House, 115 State Street, Montpelier, VT.

Thursday, September 27, Theater room, Billings Farm, 69 Old River Road, Woodstock, VT.

Please RSVP here https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XF98YTJ

RFF will examine 4 decarbonization policy approaches and will provide qualitative analysis for other options to reduce carbon.  Currently, the plan is to investigate the following policy scenarios:

1   Carbon fee-and-rebate, as in H.791 or S.284 (2018) – The ESSEX Plan;

2   Expanding cap-and-trade if Vermont joined the Western Climate Initiative (WCI);

3   Expanding cap-and-trade if the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) covered transportation fuels as considered in the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI); and

4   A carbon pricing policy based on further research and input from stakeholders.

People attending the forum are asked to address the following questions:

A What do you think are two or three things that a study of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Vermont ought to take into consideration, in order to be helpful in answering your questions and in advancing the climate and energy policy dialogue in Vermont?

B  Starting by considering the policy approaches listed above, which approaches do you think RFF ought to focus on?

RFF will be represented by Marc Hafstead and Wesley Look. They will attend both public forums and will be available to answer questions about the study, as appropriate, during the times outlined above.

For those unable to attend, please feel free to email comments by September 28, 2018 to CarbonComments@leg.state.vt.us.