As your Representatives, we will be alternating weeks in which we write the weekly update. The update below is penned by Rep. Carolyn Branagan.
Our work is forming into a pattern, but we are still very busy in Montpelier. For the most part, committees meet in the morning and through the lunch hours. Floor work starts at 3 pm, and constituent work in the late afternoon and evening. In addition, the Governor has been asking us to meet to discuss issues of special interest to him this session: public safety; child care; health care; etc. These meetings usually last an hour or so before dinner.
The Governor presented his plans for the Budget Adjustment bill early in the week. It is quite a substantive bill including requests for:
$3 million to provide Vermont’s rural communities with technical assistance for utilizing the available ARPA funds
$3.345 million for the 10% match required for the FEMA COVID assistance.
$30 million for the state match to the National Telecommunication Information Administration broadband grant.
$10 million to Vt. Dept of Mental Health for construction of South West Vermont Medical Center Youth Inpatient Facility
$3 million for housing for Children and Families
$5 million for Dept of Housing and Community for repairs to vacant rentals, new units to existing buildings or owner occupied buildings and other repairs.
Many other appropriations are in the bill, requiring approval from the Committees on Appropriations, Ways and Means and the various committees of jurisdiction.
This bill should be on the House floor by the end of January.
In conversations I’ve had with other legislators, I have learned quite a few people feel child care should be at least partially subsidized by the public and retired state employees should move away from their Medicare health insurance into a cheaper one. Each of these changes are controversial and bring their own reasons to oppose. I will let you know when/ if each appear on the House floor for vote.
Please let us know your opinions on issues being discussed. Rep. Bartley and I are in touch every day and want our votes to match your wishes. What you think matters to us.
Rep. Carolyn Branagan
Rep. Ashley Bartley