Dear Editor, Nitka’s notes from the State House

 

I’m as surprised as anyone to find myself in the State House writing notes on the date of the Corporate Cup Race. Last year we finished our session before the race date occurred and I believed we would this year as well. The 5K race which had both runners and walkers, started in front of the building and consumed the area. The runners’ shirts matched the orange, red and purple colors of the tulips in the flowerbeds on the lawn. If your car was parked in a legitimate spot but where the race went, you couldn’t leave for several hours. The additional hours didn’t matter as there was still no resolution to the dilemma in the building around teachers’ health care, collective bargaining and where the money saved would be placed. Teachers were and are scheduled to have their health care plans changed by January 1, 2018 due to a provision in the Affordable Care Act and taxation of certain plans. All of this was in place before the Governor and the Legislature wound up getting involved. The possible saving could be up to twenty-six million but there are many variables that could reduce the amount.  People are working hard to settle differences in approaching this issue.

In these last waning days there has been time to settle differences between the House and the Senate on bills. Many Conference Committee reports are being accepted by both chambers and sent on to the Governor for his signature.  The Governor has the option of signing bills, vetoing them or allowing them to become law without his signature after a certain period of time has passed.

Some bills that have gone to the Governor are: H-238 that reorganizes the states’ liquor laws and allows the departments to start work merging with the Lottery; S-22 formerly a bill about Fentanyl, (H-170) and now the marijuana legalization bill that would be effective July 1, 2018; S-34 the rural economic development initiative; S-75 relating to aquatic nuisance species control; S-9 re the preparation of poultry products (not a recipe book); S-112 which was called “Alimony Reform” and is now a task force to address spousal support and maintenance : an Ethics Bill, S-8 as well as others.

Visit the State House, have lunch in the cafeteria and take a tour. Contact me at home at 802-228-8432 or anitka@leg.state.vt.us. I am able to read all of your e-mails and appreciate you sending them, however the volume received makes it impossible to respond to all of them.

 

Senator Alice Nitka

Montpelier, Vt.

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