Another Opinion, Editorial

The 2023-2024 Biennium Begins

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by Avram Patt, State Representative, Lamoille-Washington

WORCESTER – The 2023-2024 session of the Vermont General Assembly officially began on January 4, with several days filled with necessary official procedural, legal and Constitutionally required actions, as well as introductory and organizing sessions designed to instruct new members and remind returning members about the rules, protocols and processes under which we all work that make it possible to get our jobs done in a relatively orderly as well as respectful manner.

In the House of Representatives, we elected Rep. Jill Krowinski as speaker, and received our committee assignments, which included some changes in the names and responsibilities of certain committees. In Joint Assemblies with the Senate, we witnessed the swearing in ceremony of Governor Scott, as well as the State Treasurer, Secretary of State, Auditor of Accounts and Attorney General.

In the House, some committees have new names and functions. In recognition of the fact that more than half our committee chairs did not seek reelection and the enormous number of new House members elected, there has been some restructuring of certain committees, with new names and with shifting of some issue areas and functions among the various committees. This is true in my case. Over the last four years I had been a member of the House Energy and Technology Committee, dealing with many energy and climate change issues, broadband, telecommunications and oversight of state government information systems. Starting this session, I am a member of the new Environment and Energy Committee. This committee will be dealing with some of the areas I’ve worked on, particularly energy, climate change and broadband, and may also have a role in some aspects of telecommunications (such as infrastructure siting). Areas of environmental oversight, water quality, land use and development, wildlife and others, while familiar to me as a legislator, will be new to me as areas of specific committee focus.

As I start my fourth two-year term and with all the new faces in the House this year as well as in the previous term, I am very aware that I am now seen as somewhat of a veteran House member, one who remembers the major issues and controversies of previous sessions, why some things passed and others didn’t. I haven’t actually been in the House that long but am adjusting to the fact and the need to call on my experience at times when that would be helpful (and to refrain when it wouldn’t be).

Contact me at [email protected] or by leaving a message at the Sergeant at Arms office (802) 828-2228. To track any bills, see agendas and written testimony for all House and Senate committees, or to view all House and Senate sessions or committee hearings either live or recorded, visit the Legislature’s website //legislature.vermont.gov/

[Avram Patt is a State Representative serving the towns of towns of Morristown, Elmore, Woodbury, Worcester and northern Stowe.]

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