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Legislative Weekly 3/20/19

March 20th, 2019

News from the past week in Montpelier:

In the Education Committee:

  • S. 40 - An act relating to testing and remediation of lead in the drinking water of schools and child care facilities. Over the past week the House Education committee heard testimony from public water system operators as well as from school facilities coordinators regarding the implementation of potential remediation efforts. We heard that there may be a shortage of plumbers available to do remediation work. The required scope of remediation will be directly linked to any new “action level” that we set for lead. The current EPA level is 15 ppb for public drinking supplies. We are contemplating lowering that to 5 ppb, whereas the Senate recommended 3 ppb. We have heard a lot of testimony about the fact that total costs for remediation are difficult to estimate.

Our Chair let us know she intends for us to vote out a version of this bill by the end of the week.

  • Committee Bill 19-1250 - A bill containing some fixes to Act 173. Act 173 will move Special Ed. funding to a census based, block-grant model by 2024. This bill provided some technical fixes requested by the AOE.

 

Beyond the Ed. Committee:

  • H. 205 - This bill proposes to regulate the sale and application of neonicotinoid pesticides in order to protect pollinator populations - Also known as the “pollinator bill”, H. 205 would require that only trained professionals administer sprays containing neonicotinoids for outdoor use. This would have the effect of banning these products for unrestricted retail purchase. There are currently about 900 neonicotinoid products on the shelves of VT store, and this bill would ban about 140 of those for purchase and application by homeowners. Currently the bill is in the House Ways and Means Committee, and from what I am hearing from the bill’s sponsor, it is likely to move forward to the floor soon. Given the great importance of pollinator species to the health of our environment and our food systems, I support this bill.

  • H. 162 -  An act relating to removal of buprenorphine from the misdemeanor crime of possession of a narcotic - Buprenorphine is used in medically assisted treatment (MAT) for patients with an opioid addiction. The product Suboxone is a common brand name version of this drug. This bill would essentially decriminalize the possession of buprenorphine by an individual without a prescription. The rationale being that this drug is predominately used for harm reduction by addicts and medical providers.

  • H. 518- An act relating to fair and impartial policing. -  This bill essentially gives local law enforcement entities, such as sheriff’s departments or local police departments, more flexibility in adopting their own policies for interacting with federal immigration officials. Vermont current has guidelines for how law enforcement shares information with I.C.E or Border Patrol. This law allows for the adoption of less communicative policies if they choose.

  • Mari and I will host our monthly constituent meeting on March 25th at 6:30PM at the Methodist Church in Monkton. Please join us!