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Legislative Weekly, 2/19/19

Tuesday February 19th, 2019

This week at the Statehouse:

In the Education Committee:

  • H. 140 - Relating to the Advisory Council on Special Education - It looks like this bill will be voted out of our committee fairly soon, and that I will get my first opportunity to report a bill on the House floor. I’m looking forward to getting that experience! For an idea of what the purpose of this bill is, check out last Wednesday’s edition.

  • H. 209 - An act relating to ending the suspension of State aid for school construction projects. -  I am a co-sponsor of this legislation, which would end the suspension of State funding for school construction. This bill doesn’t provide any funding at this time, but opens the door to the idea of the State paying for 30% of new construction or renovation. Within this bill, there are also specific requirements for comprehensive, long-term facilities planning and auditing by local supervisory unions and districts. I’m not sure if this bill is destined to go far this session, but it’s interesting to re-open the conversation about State support, which was suspended in 2007.  

Beyond the Ed. Committee,

  • H. 57 - An Act relating to preserving the right to abortion - This bill will come to the House floor this Wednesday and possibly again on Thursday. Both of those sessions will start at 1PM. My expectation is that the bill as it was passed out of the Judiciary Committee will be subject to amendment votes, possibly several on them. This has been an emotional topic for many, myself included. Here are some points I would like to emphasize as we head into this week.


- H. 57 does not change by whom or when abortions will be performed in Vermont, nor change the standard of care.


- No abortion providers in Vermont perform elective abortions in the third trimester.


- "Late term” abortion is a social construct introduced to create an image of an elective abortion that happens closer to 8-9 months, which does not happen and is not a term that is used medically.


- This bill does not allow for the possibility of future partial birth or full birth terminations because they are specifically prohibited by the 2003 “Partial Birth Abortion Act” which is federal law. All clinics and providers must comply with all state and federal laws. H. 57 will not change those current federal laws.


Upcoming Local Event:

  • Mari Cordes and I will have our monthly constituent meeting on Monday February 25th at Robinson Elementary School in Starksboro from 6:30PM to 8:30PM. We’ll be in the gym/multi-purpose room. Our meeting last month at the Bristol Firehouse was well attended, and we’d love to see another strong turnout for a discussion of current events in Montpelier. Thank you for your engagement!