Daily Chronicle: Legislature’s bill mill resumes fast pace

By Guy Page

On the Legislature’s first day back Tuesday, the “bill mill” resumed at a rapid pace as House Democratic Caucus leaders gave members two minutes each to pitch new ideas to would-be co-sponsors.

Six hundred and twelve House bills have been introduced this biennium, 242 by the Senate. The pitches made this morning may never become bills, much less laws. Still, they give a taste for what matters to some members of the majority party. Here are several:

  • Allow treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, without required parental consent, for children as young as 12 years old. (Rep. George Till, D-Underhill.)
  • Make contraception available from a pharmacist, without a doctor’s prescription.  (Rep. Till.)
  • Add 2 cents to the heating fuel tax, raising it to 4 cents, to fund home weatherization. Add 4 cents to transportation fuel tax. (Rep. Mike Yantachka, Charlotte.) Taxes are needed because Transportation & Climate Initiative, even if passed, will not take effect until 2023, he said.
  • Ban flavored cigarettes and tobacco. (Rep. Jessica Brumstead, Shelburne.)
  • Eliminate insulin copays and out-of-pocket charges. (Mari Cordes, Lincoln.) Financing details have not been worked out yet, she said.
  • Fund pre-K special education at same level as special ed in all other grades. (Rep. Carolyn Partridge, Windham.) Early intervention is important, she said.
  • Expand public school choice to grades seven and eight. (Rep. Patridge.)
  • Create stringent civil protections for reverse mortgage sales. (Rep. Tommy Walz, Barre.)

Backlog or no backlog, after banging the gavel to begin the second year of the biennium, Speaker Mitzi Johnson left no doubt that carbon reduction legislation would proceed vigorously: “We cannot turn a blind eye to the dangers of climate change.”

Johnson said that even though Vermont has a small carbon footprint, “we must do our part to curb the pace of global warming … we do not have time to waste. We will be taking a strong look at TCI … we have a lot to gain from the investments we will get back, and a lot to lose if we opt out.”

The House’s morning devotional was given by a trio of Abenaki women. Singing accompanied by drum was followed by a prayer acknowledging “that we stand here in this stone house, built on Abenaki land” and gave thanks to Mother Earth and asked “the power of the four winds to keep this House in balance.”

Read more of Guy Page’s reports at the Vermont Daily Chronicle.

Image courtesy of TNR
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4 thoughts on “Daily Chronicle: Legislature’s bill mill resumes fast pace

  1. WOW!!! “Six hundred and twelve House bills have been introduced this biennium, 242 by the Senate”. This on top of the 660 bills last year. I’ll have to take a Common Core class in a VT run Government school to figure out the summation. They used their “off” time to figure new bills over a hot dog and a beer. So many new Gun Control bills and how to fleece more taxes from residents before they move out. Make the taxation bills retroactive to 1 year ago so they can be nailed. Its cleverly conceived.

    They’ll increase taxes on fuel oil and tax you on a “carbon footprint” when you burn to heat.

    But, I’m hopeful with the upcoming election and the “new stronger” candidates running. There is this alternative.
    A dozen 2020 ‘agripublican’ candidates announce campaigns for Vermont seats
    http://www.truenorthreports.com/a-dozen-2020-agripublican-candidates-announce-campaigns-for-vermont-seats

  2. So the Pennsylvania reject Yantachka, want’s people with fuel oil furnaces to fund weatherization for the poor who mostly have oil furnaces…. Typical short sighted ideas that end up making life here more miserable… but don’ worry it won’t take effect untill 3 years so you still have time to move out…Taxes the leftist fascist
    answer to all our problems..

  3. Suggestion – before these guys go chasing down the legislative road poell mell passing new laws, how about sitting down, taking a deep breath, to figure out how they can repair the damage they have done over these past several years??? Sadly, it will never happen.

  4. There’s not another house in the entire State more ‘out of balance’ than this one, although the three owned by Sanders are a close second.

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