Nitka’s notes from the State House on March 15

Dear Editor,

Some weeks ago, it felt like spring. The flowerbeds in front of the State House were exposed and the snow that covers the tunnel crossing the front lawn had melted. We all knew it was too early, and we have been rightly straightened out by all the snow that has fallen this week. Yesterday evening, all the little jitney plow tractors were zooming around the walkways, passageways, and small parking lots around the large Montpelier buildings, including the State House and around the many houses that also house state offices. You could see their flashing lights all the way from the State House to the river. They do a great job as many people abandon their cars in these lots, and they have to work around them.

There are other hazards as well. One year while plowing near the State House steps, a fellow caught a guywire to the State House Christmas tree, which pulled it over and right down the steps. He was horrified, and then tried to reinstall it, which was impossible. No such incidents this year.

There are many bills arriving in the Senate from the House and vice versa due to “crossover” having occurred. This is the date that tries to ensure that all bills that the committees want to pass have moved out of the committees of origin and are in the process of moving toward a vote by the full body. Should they pass they will go to the other body for consideration. There are exceptions such as the money bills, which are worked on simultaneously and a few others.

Some that came to the Senate Economic Development Committee are: H-96, an Act Relating to Paid Family Leave; H-294, an Act Relating to Inquiries about an Applicant’s Salary History; and H-593, an Act Relating to Miscellaneous Consumer Protection Provisions. All of the other committees are receiving bills as well.

Some bills that passed the Senate this week were: S-222, related to technical amendments to civil and criminal procedures statutes; S-272, related to changes in laws concerning motor vehicles and motorboats; S-206, related to point of sale equipment leases (credit and debit machines that businesses use); S-229, related to the State Board of Education and approval of Independent Schools; S-180, related to the VT Fair Repair Act (a task force to make recommendations concerning the right to repair consumer or business electronic products) and others.

A bill of interest to voluntary emergency responders, S-168 also passed and concerns these persons leaving their places of employment to provide their voluntary services to the communities. It speaks to protections against retaliation and discrimination as well as responsibilities. Work continues on bills addressing water quality, health care, gun safety, education, taxes, the budget, and much more.

Visit Montpelier, have lunch in our 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 emails and appreciate you sending them, however the volume received makes it impossible to respond to all of them.

Sincerely,

Senator Alice Nitka

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