Happy February! Our first month of the legislative session in the House of Representatives has completed and after meeting in a hybrid style we are back in person…kind of. We are still meeting in a hybrid model on the House Floor - meaning those who are affected by Covid-19 can still legislate remotely from the safety of their own home while others will be meeting live on the House Floor. Our committee work is done in the same manner, but it is important to remember that all our meetings and floor work will be live streamed on YouTube and available to watch at your leisure.
It is my personal belief that the best legislating is done in person. Open government is best when we’re in person allowing for real discussion and real debate. We’ve also set a tone in the State House that isn’t welcoming to our fellow Vermonters and lobbyists. Most of our testimony is being done online via Zoom. This doesn’t allow for good conversations that can typically happen when people are in person. We should be opening our doors and welcoming the people to their House to participate in our process openly.
This week the House Committee on Government Operations took testimony on the newest maps that were sent out to our local Boards of Civil Authority (BCA). The St. Albans City BCA Chair testified on the newest map provided by the legislature. In Franklin 3-1, the district I currently represent, will most likely look a little differently in the fall. After discussions with the City and Town’s BCA’s along my fellow seat mate Rep. Mike McCarthy, we might see our district split into two single member districts.
Currently Franklin 3-1 that is represented by both Rep. McCarthy and myself include the entire City of St. Albans and the southern portion of St. Albans Town. The boundary in the Town portion is I-89 to the east and Route 7 to the west. The proposed map for apportionment would follow the same lines, but split Wards 1-4 to the north into a single member district, and Wards 5-6 would be included in with the Town district. There is still a lot of work to be done with these proposals with the map and a lot more work on this process over the next month, so please stay tuned.
In House Education we are working on a few bills. One of the bills we are working on is a bill that I cosponsored that aligns with the Governor’s goal of improving workforce development. House Bill H.483 focuses on new models of funding for our career and technical centers. If you remember we have a surplus of over $90 million in the Education Fund and Governor Scott has proposed to give half that money back to the taxpayers and the other half would go to support our tech centers. It is important to note that career and technical centers were not eligible for Federal funds and have struggled over the last two years of the pandemic. These centers help develop our workforce and train our future workers. I look forward to moving this bill along.
Town Meeting Day
I also want to remind everyone that Town Meeting Day is coming up on Tuesday March 1, 2022. Both St. Albans City and St. Albans Town will allow in person voting, but you can still request an absentee ballot from the City by contacting the City Clerk’s office. The Town will be sending a ballot to every registered voter by mail, so look for that in your mailbox.
Contact & Stay In Touch
Thank you to everyone who has reached out over the last month. I appreciate when people follow along the legislative process and give their input on important issues. Please don’t ever hesitate to reach out any time at [email protected].