Editorial, Legislative Report

Entering the Make-or-Break Session

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Entering the Make-or-Break Session

WORCESTER – The Legislature is back in session after the Town Meeting. Around the state and in some towns in our district, there have been changes in how voters make their decisions. Some towns do not have a live town meeting anymore and make their decisions by paper ballot. Others have moved the day of their meeting from the first Tuesday of the month to Saturday.

We are entering the “make or break” part of the session, where bills in committee in both the House and Senate must get to the floor for a vote if they are going to get to the other body in time to be considered and acted on.

During the break I heard a great deal about the school property tax issue. The Legislature will be considering some additional measures this year, which may help but will not solve the whole problem at once. One underlying issue is simply that costs of all kinds for our schools have risen significantly in the past few years, as they have for businesses of all kinds and for us as individuals. In the longer run, I do hope we will work to further lessen our reliance on property taxes for education, but every other type of revenue source, whether it is income-based, sales taxes or other kinds, has its own pros and cons. We must address this, but there is no one easy fix.

During the break, as well as before and after, I have been hearing from constituents, as well as people from elsewhere in Vermont. about Senate bill S.18, which the full House will be taking up shortly. The bill would end the sale of e-cigarettes, e-liquids and other flavored products. While the majority of the emails and calls I’ve gotten are in favor because of these products’ harmful effects, some also oppose it, either because it restricts their freedom to choose to use these products, or because they are business owners who sell tobacco products. I am generally supportive but will listen carefully to the reports from the committees that have taken testimony from all sides on this.

In the Environment and Energy Committee, we are continuing to work on H.687, “an act relating to community resilience and biodiversity protection through land use.” This is a large bill with many pieces, intended to help Vermont adapt and lessen the impact of climate change. I expect the committee will finish soon and send it out for consideration by the full House in order to make “crossover” in time for the Senate to consider it. We will also be considering bills pertaining to our subject areas that the Senate has sent our way.

Contact: [email protected] or leave a message at the Sergeant at Arms office at (802) 828-2228. To track any bills, 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 legislature.vermont.gov/

Rep. Avram Patt represents the Lamoille-Washington District that includes the towns of Morristown, Elmore, Woodbury, Worcester and northern Stowe.

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