Top issues are taking shape as we near the Vermont General Assembly’s annual Town Meeting break. Because the 2019 session didn’t start until January 9th, we’ve had fewer legislative days to consider and advance bills than last year. As of this past Friday, 400 individual House bills had been introduced by Representatives. Just 15 of these bills had been voted through the body and onto the Senate.

Two of the four pieces of legislation I’m cosponsoring have advanced through the House. H.3, An act relating to ethnic and social equity studies standards for public schools, was my first bill to advance through both chambers. H.3 will create an education working group to review if Vermont’s education standards and curriculum can be updated to better reflect people and groups who have been underrepresented or marginalized. I was proud to usher the bill through committee and onto the floor of the House, where it passed by a unanimous vote of 140-0 on February 1st. The Senate is scheduled to debate the bill this week. I expect the Governor will sign H.3 before we set the clocks forward in March.

Our annual Town Meeting break will be followed by the first legislative deadline of the year, what we call the “crossover” deadline. Crossover is the date by which policy bills must move out of their committee of origin to be considered for passage by the House and the Senate this year. The 2019 crossover date is March 15th. After crossover, the House will take up the FY2020 State budget and other must-pass money bills. Look for updates on money bills in our March and April legislative updates.

With so many bills in play, I invite you to attend one of our monthly community coffee meetings. Our January and February meetings were well attended and generated valuable feedback. Thanks to everyone who has come out to chat with your local House members! Our next forum will be held at 2:00pm on Sunday, March 17 at Nest Bakery (17 Main Street). Please join us.

A reminder that Essex’s Town Meeting will be held at Essex High School at 7:00pm on Monday, March 4th. Municipal elections will occur on Tuesday, March 5th. Make sure to vote! While I can’t make this year’s Town Meeting in person due to a family commitment, I’ll be at the Village Meeting on Wednesday, April 3rd.

It’s an honor to serve Essex Junction. Please email me at [email protected] if you have any topics you’d like to discuss. I hope to see you around town as the days get longer and winter thaws out!