Legislators face hot-button issues

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Legislators face hot-button issues

Vermont Capitol

Vermont Capitol

courtesy of stmed.net

Vermont Capitol

courtesy of stmed.net

courtesy of stmed.net

Vermont Capitol

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The Vermont legislative session is well underway, and senators and representatives across the state have wasted no time in forming committees and opening discussions on this session’s issues.

Locally, the Lamoille 2 Representatives have both joined committees they are passionate about.

Rep Danielle Noyes, D-Wolcott, was elected to the Human Services Committee. Noyes told Basement Medicine in an earlier interview that his priorities were taking care of older Vermonters and examining and improving the foster care system. Since the Human Services Committee is a policy committee that includes the Department for Children and Families and the Department of Disability, Aging and Independent Living, Noyes will be able to pursue these projects.

Rep. Matt Hill, D-Wolcott, returns to the Commerce and Economic Development Committee where he previously served last session. A past employee at the Vermont Department of Labor, Hill has expressed his desire to improve workplace development.
This election the Democrats picked up 12 House seats state wide, effectively creating a veto- proof supermajority with their 95 seats in the house. This supermajority comes with big expectations, and the house is expected to pursue a number of hot bed topics this session which include more gun control measures, a $15 minimum wage, paid family leave, and a carbon tax that would raise the cost of heating fuel and gasoline state wide. Lingering issues with Act 46 and marijuana legislation remain controversial as well.

The Carbon tax is expected to die in committee, but that did not prevent an anti-carbon tax coalition from forming and rallying on the opening day of the new session. The rally, which was made up of Vermonters from all over the political spectrum, highlighted Vermont as having the smallest carbon footprint in the United States, as well as the tremendous burden it would place on the working class.

“With over 70,000 hungry Vermonters on some form of assistance, and the large majority stressing about vehicle inspection, I doubt that raising the cost of living is a good solution,” said J.T. Dodge, the rally’s organizer.

Dave Yacovone, D-Morrisville, said he would have to read the bill in its entirety and familiarize himself with the issue before commenting. Noyes believes the bill will not make it to the floor, and stated that he would not support it.

Governor Phil Scott also expressed his disagreement with the idea. “I don’t think a (carbon) tax on Vermonters is necessary. This isn’t legislation I would support,” Scott said in the hallway on the session’s opening day.

Given the multiple issues facing the House and Senate, this year’s legislative session should be a memorable one.

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