Town Meeting Week Legislative Update

As we arrive to Town Meeting Week, the break allows me an opportunity to reflect on the first half of the legislative session, re-center myself for the work that will need to continue next week, and provide you an update with regard to the critical bills I feel we should be watching for the second half of the 2023 session.

I remain so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with and represent you as we collectively determine our next best steps that will allow us to improve our community with a commitment grounded in intersectional principles of social, racial, economic, and environmental justice. I will be attending NPA meetings this week and look to hear from as many of you as possible. Please take note of the meetings for your Ward:

Ward 1
Wednesday, March 8th | 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Friends Meeting House, 173 North Prospect Street

Wards 2 and 3
Thursday, March 9th | 6:30pm – 8:30pm
ONE Community Center, 20 Allen St.

As an update to my most recent blog entry, H.97 was reverted to it’s original draft and the Miscellaneous Changes to Elections Law became H.429 — ultimately passing out of the House after much debate. The bill is now headed to the Senate and I continue to have significant concerns. While the final version of the bill allows candidates who are endorsed by more than one party (fusion candidates) to continue to identify their candidacy according to personal affiliation, I remain very concerned with how the new bill would inject money into the campaign and election process. I also remain very concerned how the bill would give the power to any major party to prohibit individuals who lose a primary to then run as an independent. I don’t think any party should hold that type of gate-keeping power. My hope is that the bill will die in the Senate.

In addition to the bills listed below, I will be especially mindful of tracking the conversation on UVM’s willingness to engage with City Council with regard to the impact their enrollment strategy will have on our housing crisis. I’ll also soon have the opportunity to impact the conversations about whether or not to commit a bonding obligation to the construction of a new women’s prison. I will talk in more detail about my final committee vote and the philosophy I bring to that decision with my next blog update.

I do look forward to meeting with you this week if you are able to attend the NPA meetings. If not, you can track the following bills by going to the General Assembly home page and simply input the bill number into the search engine.


Bills to Watch:

H.66 – An act relating to paid family and medical leave insurance
H.92 – An act relating to expanding eligibility for unemployment insurance
H.116 – An act relating to miscellaneous employment protections and standards
H.217 – An act relating to miscellaneous workers’ compensation amendments (Passed to Senate)
H.218 – An act relating to requiring good cause for termination of employment
H.219 – An act relating to miscellaneous employee and collective bargaining rights
H.144 – An act relating to exempting unemployment compensation from income tax
H.415 – An act relating to increasing the minimum wage, eliminating exemptions from the minimum wage, and creating a grant program for certain employers

Human Rights/Safety
H.22 – An act relating to sexual exploitation of a person who is being investigated by law enforcement
H.28 – An act relating to diversion and expungement (Passed to Senate)|
H.40 – An act relating to nonconsensual removal of or tampering with a sexually protective device (Passed to Senate)
H.41 – An act relating to referral of domestic and sexual violence cases to community justice centers (Passed to Senate)
H.45 – An act relating to abusive litigation filed against survivors of domestic abuse, stalking, or sexual assault (Passed to Senate)
H.72 – An act relating to a harm-reduction criminal justice response to drug use
H.88 – An act relating to reducing the imposition of cash bail
H.93 – An act relating to Reach Up benefit levels
H.94 – An act relating to removing the Reach Up ratable reduction (Passed to Senate)
H.98 – An act relating to firearms crimes and procedures
H.148 – An act relating to raising the age of eligibility to marry (Passed to Senate)

H.190 – An act relating to removing the residency requirement from Vermont’s patient choice at end of life laws (Passed to Senate)

Health Care/Harm Reduction
H.89 – Shield Laws: An act relating to civil and criminal procedures concerning legally protected health care activity (Passed to Senate)
H.112 – An act relating to opioid use disorder response services

H.106 – An act relating to the academic freedom of educators.
H.311 – An act relating to University of Vermont and State Agricultural College residential living space

S.5/H.96 An act relating to affordably meeting the mandated greenhouse gas reductions for the thermal sector through electrification, decarbonization, efficiency, and weatherization measures (Passed from Senate to House)
S.59/H.328 – An act relating to the replacement of heating systems owned or controlled by the State

Passed to Senate that I Oppose:
H.429 – An act relating to miscellaneous changes to election laws (Passed to Senate)