Bill would remove tax exemption for politically active churches; also eliminate life without parole, and free health care for legislators

By Guy Page

A House bill introduced Jan. 27 by two southern Vermont legislators would ban tax exemptions for any church or charitable organization engaged in lobbying.

H.113 would amend current law to “clarify that churches and other public, pious, or charitable organizations are not eligible for the State property tax exemption if those organizations engage in any lobbying or other political activity on their property. Churches and nonprofits will also be required under this bill to certify annually to the Vermont Department of Taxes that the organization does not conduct any lobbying or political activity on the property that would disqualify the organization from the exemption.”

The bill was sponsored by Reps. Laura Sibilia (West Dover) and Kelly Pajala (Londonderry), both independents. It was referred to the Ways and Means Committee.

Eliminate life without parole?

S.41 would eliminate a life without parole as a sentencing option and prohibit consecutive sentencing for individuals who were 25 years of age or younger at the time they committed the offenses. Sponsored by Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale, it was sent to Senate Judiciary.

A Senate bill introduced Jan. 25 would permit arrest without a warrant for persons suspected of assaulting, or threatening assault, on a health care worker.

A Senate bill introduced last week would provide no-cost health care for all legislators, as well as other benefits.

S.39 would “make members of the General Assembly eligible for the State employees’ health benefit plan at no cost and to allow them to participate in any flexible spending account program offered to State employees for health care expenses or dependent care expenses, or both.”

The bill, sponsored by Sens. Ruth Hardy (D-Addison) and Alison Clarkson (D-Windsor) and others, would also

  • provide compensation to members of the General Assembly during adjournment
  • allow members of the General Assembly to choose whether to receive their payments for meals and lodging expenses as an allowance, which may be treated as income subject to tax for federal and State income tax purposes, or as reimbursement of actual expenses, which may be excluded from income for federal and State income tax purposes
  • allow a legislator to be reimbursed for child care, dependent care, and elder care expenses that are necessary to facilitate the member’s service in the General Assembly
  • expand the legislative leave of absence law to allow members to take a  leave of absence from any job, not only a full-time job, in order to serve in the General Assembly
  • create the Legislative Service Working Group to consider and make recommendations on issues involving legislative compensation and benefits, staffing, administrative support, and the length of the legislative session.

S.36 would “permit a law enforcement officer to arrest a person without a warrant if the officer has probable cause to believe the person assaulted or threatened a health care worker at a health care facility, or engaged in disorderly conduct that interfered with the provision of medically necessary health care services in a health care facility.”

The bill was sponsored by Sens. Richard Sears (D-Bennington, Chair of Judiciary) and Virginia Lyons (D-Chittenden, Chair of Health Care), and referred to the Judiciary Committee.

Last year, Vermont hospitals experienced a significant uptick in assaults on nurses and other staff, particularly in overcrowded emergency rooms with high numbers of mentally ill patients.

Judiciary is scheduled to review S.36 at 9 AM Wednesday morning. Jill Maynard, Director of Emergency Services, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, and Patricia  Johnson, MS, RN, Emergency Room Nurse, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center are among those scheduled to testify.

A Vermont law enforcement official associated with the Legislature said last week he is unaware why the bill would authorize an arrest “without a warrant” when warrants are not required to execute an arrest.

A House bill introduced Jan. 27 would ban surveillance devices from use on private property without consent from the property owner.

H.122 would “propose to make it a civil offense to place a surveillance device on private property without first obtaining consent from the property owner.”

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Allyssa Black (D-Westford) and referred to the Judiciary Committee.

Guy Page is publisher of the Vermont Daily Chronicle. Reprinted with permission.

Image courtesy of Public domain

7 thoughts on “Bill would remove tax exemption for politically active churches; also eliminate life without parole, and free health care for legislators

  1. Hey look, we found some conservatives still in the state, if they talk politics, let’s close their church….let’s tax them out of existence….

    don’t be fooled, these people know what they are doing, they are nothing if not clever and cunning.

    But, can we do the same for the political groups that claim to be churches???? 🙂 Now we are talking a good time.

    Politics shouldn’t be in any church, there is only one leader that holds true, if they are pushing something else, chance are it’s not a church, certainly not one following Christ…our churches are ins such disarray, and ineffective because they are political….and if you’ve been in church awhile you should know which side that is….

    • false gods don’t want any competition, they’d gladly take out all the churches and get the people to worship the state….

      Not like it hasn’t happened and isn’t happening today in 2023 across the world…N.korea anyone, it’s as old as time….

  2. representatives sibilia and pajala may not be students of history. Without some knowledge of 20th century history, one might never know of the actions of socialists in Germany in the 1930’s. Or of Chavez and his actions in Venezuela. Castro in Cuba ring any bells? Or of the plight of Eastern Bloc countries post WWII? Perhaps these two representatives see themselves as does trudeau in Canada, chipping away at the enshrined and codified rights of the US and Vermont Constitutions. Their H.113 is repugnant to the laws of Vermont and the US- and in the past there were others under Vermont’s golden dome that knew better and would never have allowed such legislation to be introduced. Apparently, the “adults in the room” have all retired or been silenced, either way all of the above listed bills are unworthy of presentation on the house floor- much less debate.

  3. ARE YOU KIDDING ME ????? Drive those sobs out of the State House. Effing thieves! MARXISTS eliminating religion. Incredible. January 6 should be a reminder to those scum. I bet they put barricades around the state house. They SHOULD need them, but Vermonters will be passive and get walked all over. THANK THE LIKES OF LEAHY, SANDERS and WELCH! They led the charge.

  4. They should receive no moneys that can’t be taxable when they are the ones creating taxes. They should fully pay for the mess they create. If they want free heath care move to Canada, fidel trudeau will welcome more commies like himself and we’ll be overwhelmed to be rid of you. Lastly why should someone who kills someone else be paroled from a life sentence when they TOOK A LIFE? Life without parole is a substitute for the Death penalty. Having that taken off the table is a invitation to more killings.

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