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Legislative Weekly 3/13/19

Wednesday March 13th, 2019

Update, first week back from Town Meeting Break:

In the Education Committee:

  • Town Meeting Break - The Legislature was not in session last week, and I appreciated the opportunity to attend each of the Town Meetings in Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton and Starksboro. I had never been to the Monkton or Lincoln meetings, and of course each of our communities has its own vibe and style at this annual event. Thanks for all those who were able attend their Town Meeting, your participation fuels our local Democracy!

  • S. 40 - An act relating to testing and remediation of lead in the drinking water of schools and child care facilities. The House Education Committee has heard testimony from the Department of Health, the Agency of Education, the Vermont Superintendents Association, the Conservation Law Foundation, VPIRG and others on this bill. The Senate bill calls for state funding for all testing, with a 50% State contribution for remediation. The Senate would also establish 3 parts per billion as the new “action level” for lead in drinking water at public schools and child care facilities.

  • Committee Bill 19-1195 - A bill relating to the loss of accreditation, and the potential closure of an institution of higher learning - This bill is at least somewhat in response to the recent announcements that Green Mountain College and Southern Vermont College have lost their accreditations and will be closing. Additionally, this bill seeks to clarify the role of the State in securing students records in the case that they are abandoned. The prime example of this second problem is when Burlington College closed. The paper transcripts from Burlington College are still stored and maintained by the Agency of Education, but this bill considers shifting that responsibility to the Secretary of State’s office.

Beyond the Ed. CommitteeHere are two bills up for Third and Final Reading as of today.

  • H. 26 An act relating to Internet sales of electronic cigarettes - This bill would prohibit the purchase of any e-cigarette or vaping supplies online, other than by licensed wholesalers. This mirrors the existing law for all tobacco products, so it would result in regulating all nicotine delivery devices and chemicals in the same way. We continue to hear about the “epidemic” of teen vaping in Vermont, and this is the second bill of the year (see H. 47) addressing the problem.

  • H. 511 An Act relating to Criminal statutes of limitations - This bill removes any statute of limitation for prosecuting the following crimes: aggravated sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault of a child, sexual assault, first degree aggravated domestic assault, human trafficking, aggravated human trafficking, murder, manslaughter, maiming, arson causing death, and kidnapping. Previously these crimes had a statute of limitations for prosecution after 40 years. With the emergence of new DNA forensic science, and due to the acknowledgement that some crimes are not reported until long after they are committed, the House Judiciary Committee passed this bill unanimously.

Local and Upcoming:

  • Mari and I will host our monthly constituent meeting on March 25th at 6:30PM. We are hoping to be in Monkton, but have not confirmed the location yet. This will be announced on FPF to all four towns early next week.