Week 12 Voting Record

Tuesday, March 28 — View full Journal

  • H.130 – An act relating to the charter of the Town of Hartford
    •  I voted to support this bill through the third stage of passage (final approval) for the reasons outlined above (see March 24). The bill received unanimous support.
  • H.308 – An act relating to reorganizing and reclassify Vermont’s criminal statutes
    • I voted to support this bill through the third stage of passage (final approval) for the reasons outlined above (see March 24). The bill received unanimous support.
  • H.326 – An act relating to eligibility and calculation of grant or subsidy amount for Reach Up, Reach Ahead, and the Child Care Services Program
    • I voted to support this bill through the third stage of passage (final approval) for the reasons outlined above (see March 24). The bill received unanimous support.
  • H.514 – An act relating to elections corrections
    • I voted to support this bill through the second stage of passage (preliminary approval) to update Vermont’s state election laws. This bill proposes a number of changes to municipal and state election law. The bill received unanimous support.
  • H.216 – An act relating to establishment of the Vermont Lifeline Program
    • I voted to support this bill through the second stage of passage (preliminary approval) to make changes to state law to ensure the Vermont Lifeline Program is in compliance with federal law. The bill received unanimous support.
  • H.386 – An act relating to home health agency provider taxes
    • I voted to support this revenue neutral bill through the second stage of passage (preliminary approval) to ensure more fairness in how home health agencies are assessed for taxes. The bill expands on changes that were passed last biennium to create a more equitable system. The bill received unanimous support.
  • H.508 – An act relating to building resilience for individuals experiencing adverse childhood experiences
    • I voted to support this bill through the second stage of passage (preliminary approval) so we can continue our work to understand how childhood trauma impacts Vermonters throughout their lives. The bill received mixed support on a voice vote.
  • H.510 – An act relating to the cost share for State agricultural water quality financial assistance
    • I voted to support this bill through the second stage of passage (preliminary approval). The bill received unanimous support.
  • H.511 – An act relating to highway safety
    • I voted to support this bill through the second stage of passage (preliminary approval) to update certain penalties for transportation violations. A number of questions, spanning many areas, were put to the presenter of the bill. The presenter explained that he would provide additional clarifying explanation prior to final passage. The bill received mixed support on a voice vote.
  • H.512 – An act relating to the procedure for conducting recounts
    • **I was off of the floor for a meeting during this vote.
  •  H.515 – An act relating to executive branch and judiciary fees
    • I voted to support this modest fee bill through the second stage of passage (preliminary approval). Unlike previous years, this year’s House budget/revenue/fee mix did not feature large fee increases. The bill passed by a unanimous voice vote.
  • H.85 – An act relating to captive insurance companies
    • I voted to support this bill through the second stage of passage (preliminary approval). Prior to passage, the body adopted an amendment by the Ways and Means Committee to retain a tax credit without any financial impact to the state. The bill passed by a unanimous voice vote.
  • H.424 – An act relating to the Commission on Act 250: the Next 50 Years
    • I voted to support this bill through the second stage of passage (preliminary approval). This proposal creates a commission process to review the effectiveness of Act 250, and whether modifications ought to be performed to modernize Vermont’s land use and development law. The bill passed by a unanimous voice vote.
  • H.509 – An act relating to calculating statewide education tax rates
    • I voted to support this bill through the second stage of passage (preliminary approval). We worked extensively on this bill in the Education Committee. My committee seatmate, Rep. Scott Beck, developed a proposal to adjust the funding mechanism that supports our state education system. His intent was to design a tweak to the education funding slope, so high spending districts that spend more per pupil would pay more for their local education decisions. While the Education Committee preliminarily support the concept, it became clear after additional review that the proposal’s reliance on changing The excess spending penalty for FY18 would be problematic. As such, I voted to accept an amendment put forth by the Ways and Means Committee to remove Beck’s proposal. The amendment was accepted with unanimous support. The bill passed on a unanimous voice vote.
  • H.513 – An act relating to making miscellaneous changes to education law
    • I voted to support this bill through the second stage of passage (preliminary approval). Several technical provisions were made. The bill passed by a unanimous voice vote.
  • H.170 – An act relating to possession and cultivation of marijuana by a person 21 years of age or older
    • This highly anticipated bill came to the floor with great interest from members of the community. The original bill, which had bipartisan sponsors, proposed legalizing marijuana by lifting penalties for growing and cultivating marijuana plants at home, amongst other changes. As I told neighbors during last year’s campaign, I remain convinced that it’s important that we find ways to invest in preventing youth access and keeping our roadways safe if we are going to legalize marijuana. The Speaker and caucus leaders cited this general sentiment and offered up  a proposal to commit the bill to the Human Services Committee for additional consideration prior to bringing a final proposal to the House. While the bill did not come up for a full vote, as originally planned, it is clear that marijuana is here, has been here, and will be here in the future. Given the movement of bordering states, I do not believe we can stand still — marijuana will soon be arriving in legally regulated products from Massachusetts and elsewhere.

Wednesday, March 29 — View full Journal

  • H.509 – An act relating to calculating statewide education tax rate
    • I voted to support this bill through the third stage of passage (final approval). This bill is ministerial, inasmuch as it ratifies the local spending decisions made by local communities when they vote for their school budgets. The bill passed 114-25. I voted yes.
  • H.508 – An act relating to building resilience for individuals experiencing adverse childhood experiences
    • I voted to support this bill through the second stage of passage (final approval) for the reasons listed above (see March 28). The bill received mixed support on a voice vote.
  • H.386 – An act relating to home health agency provider taxes
    • I voted to support this revenue neutral bill through the second stage of passage (final approval) for the reasons listed above (see March 28). The bill received unanimous support.
  • H.216 – An act relating to establishment of the Vermont Lifeline Program
    • I voted to support this bill through the second stage of passage (final approval) for the reasons listed above (see March 28). The bill received unanimous support.
  • H.85 – An act relating to captive insurance companies
    • I voted to support this bill through the third stage of passage (final approval) for the reasons listed above (see March 29). The bill passed by a unanimous voice vote.
  • H.111 – An act relating to vital records
    • I voted to support this bill through the second stage of passage (preliminary approval) to ensure Vermont’s record maintenance laws are modernized to protect against identity theft. The bill received unanimous support.
  • H.510 – An act relating to the cost share for State agricultural water quality financial assistance
    • I voted to support this bill through the third stage of passage (final approval) for the reasons listed above (see March 28). The bill received unanimous support.
  • H.511 – An act relating to highway safety
    • I voted to support this bill through the third stage of passage (final approval) for the reasons listed above (see March 28). Prior to passage, Rep. Donahue and Rep. Bill Lippert offered separate amendments to clarify certain definitions within the proposed language. I voted yes on both accounts. The bill passed with unanimous support.
  • H.512 – An act relating to the procedure for conducting recounts
    • I voted to support this bill through the third stage of passage (final approval) for the reasons listed above (see March 28). The bill passed with unanimous support.
  • H.513 – An act relating to making miscellaneous changes to education law
    • I voted to support this bill through the third stage of passage (final approval). Prior to passage, Rep. Dave Sharpe offered up an amendment to clarify fingerprinting procedures for childcare providers who work in Vermont’s public and private prekindergarten centers. The Education Committee has taken extensive testimony on Vermont’s preK system and the need to clarify how fingerprinting should take place to ensure child safety. The body unanimously adopted Rep. Sharpe’s amendment. The bill passed by a unanimous voice vote.
  • H.514 – An act relating to elections corrections
    • I voted to support this bill through the third stage of passage (final approval) for the reasons listed above (see March 28). Prior to adoption, Rep. Theresa Wood offered an amendment to provide procedures for documenting election protocols. The amendment was adopted on a mixed vote. I voted to support the bill through final passage.
  • H.515 – An act relating to executive branch and judiciary fees
    • I voted to support this bill through the third stage of passage (final approval) for the reasons listed above (see March 28). The bill passed by a unanimous voice vote.

Thursday, March 30 — View full Journal

  • H.111 – An act relating to vital record
    • I voted to support this bill through the third stage of passage (final approval) for the reasons listed above (see March 29). The bill received unanimous support.
  • H.516 – An act relating to miscellaneous tax changes
    • I voted to support this bill through the second stage of passage (preliminary approval). This year’s revenue bill does not rely on new taxes, in the popular sense of how we recognize a new revenue source. Rather, the bill performs miscellaneous changes and authorizes the Tax Department to increase its compliance efforts to collect taxes that are owed by non-compliant taxpayers. The bill received unanimous support on a 138-0 vote.
  • H.518 – An act relating to appropriations in support of government
    • I voted to support this bill through the second stage of passage (preliminary approval). The budget proposal puts forth a number of important investments, while appropriately building reserves to weather federal changes that have been proposed by President Trump. The bill was supported in a near unanimous 143-1 vote.

Friday, March 31 — View full Journal

  • H.516 – An act relating to miscellaneous tax changes
    • I voted to support this bill through the third stage of passage (final approval) for the reasons listed above (see March 30). The bill received unanimous support on a voice vote.
  • H.518 – An act relating to appropriations in support of government
    • On the second instance of passage (see March 30 above), I joined with 142 Representatives of all political parties to support the budget. This was an unprecedented unanimous action that gave me faith that legislators of all parties were putting aside political differences to expeditiously dispense of our work, adjourn early, and return home so we don’t waste taxpayer dollars in the event that we have to hold an extraordinary session in the fall to address looming federal budget cuts. I was disappointed that the unanimous action of the prior day was scuttled by several last minute attempts to put forth amendments to shift funds within the budget. Individuals who introduced the proposals unwittingly engineered their failure by presenting them at the last minute. Ultimately, all amendments that were not limited to technical changes were withdrawn by their sponsor(s) or voted down. I have and will continue to urge my colleagues not to play politics. Vermont faces draconian federal changes that will force our state to make very difficult decisions. Any effort to scuttle unanimity in a time of looming crisis troubles me. We can and must do better for Vermonters. On the final vote, the bill passed by the same overwhelming margin as the prior day.