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Putney’s State Rep Shares Report on 2019 Legislature

Women’s Reproductive Freedom. Ethnic Studies.Fair and Impartial Policing. Indigenous People’s Day. Waiting Periods for Handgun Sales. Checks and Balances of Government.
These are just a few of the headlines from the wide array of work from 2019, the first year of this Biennium of the Vermont Legislature.

While each House Member serves on one committee ( 2 for Senate ) our work also entails staying on top of what all 26 House and Senate Committees are up to. And that, is both the best, and the hardest parts of work in the Legislature.

Serving on the Government Operations Committee, the breadth of the work can entail any part of state government, though much of it is basic nuts and bolts work, of town government.

Elections, however, are also a big part of what we look at. Getting closer to 2020 and the Decennial Census that informs the next Legislative Redistricting, we’re starting looking down the road at this.
An aspect of restricting, that there seems to be consensus on, is changing how Chittenden County elects it’s 6 Senators. The proposal is to create two Senatorial districts and spread the Senators over a wider geographic area.

Another bill we started looking at, is to allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in local elections. There was not consensus, though, even from students. Some were totally ready to start voting, and others said, we’re not ready. So, we’ll add that to the list of complex bills that need more time and we’ll finish in the second year of this Biennium.

This session has also, unfortunately had us spending a lot of energy trying to buffer us from the chaos coming from the White House.
We’ve pushed back from the Trump chaos in many areas, and nowhere is the contrast more sharp than what we’ve done in Vermont, and what’s happening in other states (like Alabama, Missouris, Georgia, etc.)
regarding Women’s Reproductive Freedom.

Those efforts are not really about stopping abortion, because wealthy women will always have access to abortion. This is another attack on the poor and allowing women to make choices about themselves, by themselves. And it’s important that ,as a man, I stand up as an ally to women who want to continue having this right. That’s why I was proud to vote for both bills in our two track plan, to put Roe v. Wade both in state statute and the Vermont Constitution.

Lastly, while Weather is not Climate, it creates the headlines and trends we see as evidence of Global Warming, and the legislature has been taking this seriously for years.

Since Gov. Shumlin made Climate Action a priority, in his administration, starting with bringing Bill McKibben to address the whole Legislature, we have been acting. On our own and with other states, even as the federal government, now led by the climate denier-in-chief, has curtailed or reversed actions previously undertaken.

Here’s a brief sketch of some of the domains we have — and will — continue to work within, to reduce our carbon.
-RGGI — The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
-Carbon Sequestration in Agriculture and Forestry
-Thermal Efficiency and Conservation
-Alternative/Renewable Energy
-Transportation

We’re producing actions. $120 Million in this budget year alone (the list is available on my website )Compared to most other states, these are indeed bold actions, even in little old Vermont.

Please know, we are pedaling as hard as we can on this and all the issues we undertake. We look forward to working together, with all Vermonters and doing even more in January ,the second year of this Biennium of your part time citizen Legislature.

Rest assured, we’re working hard to help create a strong healthy Vermont that works for all, not just a select few.

Below is a short list of some of the other bills we’ve worked on.
For amore complete report, visit: www.windham4.net

GENDER EQUITY/WOMEN
H.57: Codifying Access to Abortion – PASSED
PR.5 – Awaits action by 2021-2022 Legislature
H.330: Repeal of the Statute of Limitations on Childhood Sexual Abuse – PASSED
H.132: Housing Discrimination for Victims of Domestic Violence – in conference committee
H.19: Sexual Exploitation of People in Law Enforcement Custody – SIGNED

RACIAL JUSTICE
H.3: Ethnic Studies – SIGNED
S.68: Indigenous People’s Day – SIGNED
H.207: Montpelier Charter/Non-Citizen Voting – Passed House, no action in Senate
H.518: Fair & Impartial Policing – PASSED
All House members participated in implicit bias training

LABOR
H.523: Misc Retirement – SIGNED
H.321: Firefighter/EMT aggravated murder – SIGNED
H.16: Binding arbitration for public employees and municipal first responders – PASSED

CLIMATE CHANGE
H.63: Weatherization Bill ($2.25m) – PASSED – (Creates “all-fuels efficiency” to target thermal and transportation efficiency opportunities as well as what we’ve done with electric efficiency)
Budget – Weatherization $, EV Incentives ($2m), EV $ for State Fleet ($500k), Park & Ride expansion ($2.6m) – PASSED
S.96: Clean Water – PASSED (additional $7.5m this year for $50m total; $12m next year for $55m total)
S.113: Plastic Bag Ban – PASSED
BGS Weatherization (State Buildings – $300k in Budget)

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT/INCOME INEQUALITY
H.533: Workforce Bill – PASSED
H.513: Broadband ($1.5m in budget; $1.3m new money in the USF) – PASSED
Child Care (wrapped into budget with $7.4m additional money appropriated)
S.108: Employee Misclassification – in conference committee
$2m increase for Reach Up participants in budget

VETERANS
S.111: Burn Pits – PASSED
H.394: Veteran Remains – SIGNED

HEALTHY COMMUNITIES
Taxation of E-Cigs (H.47 – SIGNED) / Tobacco 21 (S.86 – SIGNED) / Internet Sales (H.26 – SIGNED)
S.49: PFAS – SIGNED
S.55: Toxics – PASSED
S.40: Lead Remediation in Schools/Childcare facilities – PASSED
S.37: Medical Monitoring – PASSED
S.169: Waiting Periods – PASSED
S.146: Substance Abuse Prevention Bill – PASSED – (coordinates substance abuse prevention across state government)
H.524: Association Health Plans, Health Insurance Marketplace stabilization & ACA codification – PASSED – (Codifies key provisions of the ACA into Vermont law)