Last week the Vermont State Legislature returned to the Vermont State House on Tuesday, albeit was only for one day for a vote to work remotely the first two weeks of the session. Our slated return date will be Tuesday, January 18th. Although I find it important that we do our work within the People’s House in person we did pass legislation to allow us to work from home for the first two weeks.
I will be serving again on the House Committee on Education. Although we started remote, we began taking testimony on the student weighting factors study and we have received word from stakeholders in the field about the state of our education system amid the pandemic. We will see more bills as they are referred to our committee from the Floor. I do find it rather ironic that we are able to work remotely when we have asked businesses and especially our students, teachers and staff to be in person since September of 2020. I hope to return to the in person work that provides the true representation of the people of Vermont.
Town Meeting Day
On Friday, January 7th, the Vermont House passed a bill allowing municipalities the flexibility to move their Town Meeting Day dates due to Covid-19 concerns. I offered an amendment known as the Toof Amendment that would have mandated mail in votes for all municipalities that vote via the Australian ballot. St. Albans City and St. Albans Town both vote via the Australian ballot. We have seen success in our mail in voting system since being implemented in the November 2020 election. We saw the greatest voter turnout in Vermont’s history and I feel like the same should be done during our Town Meeting Day elections.
Town Meeting Days are important days for Vermonters dating back to the creation of our state. Today these meetings make very important decisions that have a tremendous effect on working families in Vermont. Our state budget spends over $6 billion a year, and over one-third of that budget, over $2 billion, is spent on our Education system. On Town Meeting Day we vote on local school budgets, but typically only see about 15% voter turnout making decisions that could change property taxes around the state and in our communities. Mail in voting has proven to boost voter turnout and engage more people in the decisions that matter most.
Contact & Stay In Touch
We have a full slate of bills for introduction and a vote on a redistricting map coming up this week. I encourage everyone to follow our process in the House as everything is now streamed on YouTube. If you need to reach me for any questions, comments or concerns you can reach me anytime at [email protected] or follow me on Facebook as I plan on informing everyone weekly with my Legislative Minutes. I really appreciate the people of Franklin 3-1 giving me the trust to represent them in the Vermont House of Representatives. I look forward to hearing from you all.