Legislative Update – January 25, 2018

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Jan 25, 2018 No Comments ›› maxinegrad

Vermont State HousePolice Protection/Impact of Recent Police Shooting on the Valley and State Police Resources

The recent shooting of an alleged bank robber in Montpelier is troubling for many reasons. I was concerned about the loss of 8 state troopers in the Valley and our communities. These troopers were appropriately on administrative leave. Given we rely on the State Police for our protection, any disruption to the State Police could hinder our public safety. I have spoken with leadership at the Department of Public Safety to get a better understanding of the situation and advocate for our public safety. All troopers are back at work. There is an investigation into the shooting. I will be following this closely.

Budget Adjustment Act (BAA)

The BAA passed last week with only 1 member voting against it. This year’s budget adjustment was particularly smooth because of last year’s good work to make targeted investments that support families, communities, and a healthy economy.

This year’s adjustment prioritized further investments including:

Meeting the Needs of the Vulnerable where they are: Provides support with the help of local communities for out-reach services. The Department of Mental Health is working to serve more rural parts of the state.

Strengthening our Fiscal Health: It is critical that we continue excellent budgeting practices including reserving revenue so we can weather the fiscal uncertainty in Washington. This will enable us to continue making targeted investments in working families and the middle class so all Vermonters have a fair shot.

The goal of the budget we will write for the coming year is to support a healthy economy, strong families, and successful communities so that Vermont’s future generations thrive.

Consumer Protection

The House unanimously approved H.593, the consumer protection bill. This legislation addresses automatic contract renewals, retainage for construction materials, credit protection for vulnerable persons and use of credit information for personal insurance.

One important feature of this bill is the provision that ensures that Vermonters who invest in consumer contracts are not subject to automatic renewals unless they explicitly opt in to the provision. This protects Vermonters from companies that automatically renew contracts and charge consumers for services year after year, such as magazine subscriptions, gym memberships, and media streaming services. Sellers will be required to provide a notice of renewal 30-60 days before the auto renewal or termination date.

This is an important bill for our community. Protecting personal credit information is invaluable in a time when credit scores are used for everything from apartment rental applications to obtaining student loans.

My House Judiciary Committee Work

Ensuring Marketable Title – Tax Sales: H.300

A vibrant real estate market is vital to our district. H.300 addresses the concern that the statute of limitations for a tax sale is currently 3 years, while the redemption period is 1 year. H.300 makes the two the same, 1 year. The Bankers Association, League of Cities and Towns, Real Estate Bar and Title Insurance Companies all support the bill. This week we will make changes to the notice provisions for tax sales. We heard testimony from VLTC and others that often tax sales are voided due to incorrect notice.

Drug Treatment Courts/Access to treatment

Our community has recently been touched by the deaths of community members to opioid addiction.  My committee will continue its efforts to support state-wide access to treatment and services. I have been asked to serve on the Vermont Supreme Court’s Commission on Family Treatment Dockets and Child Protection to address these issues.

Other Committee Work

Agriculture and Forestry Products

It is imperative that we protect our district’s farmers. With the changing nature of agriculture in Vermont that emphasizes direct consumer engagement and value-added products, we must make it easier for farmers to diversify and add additional revenue-generating activities to their enterprise to ensure long-term farm viability. Legislation is in the works to make that process smoother for Vermont’s agricultural community.

Rather than trying to change municipal zoning town by town to permit these ag-enterprise activities, this bill is designed to create a consistent baseline of permitted ag-enterprise activities across the entire state to ensure our agricultural operations stay viable and farmland remains open and in production while still granting towns the ability to provide input on mitigating impacts.

The Committee is also looking at creating supports for the forestry industry businesses. This will help keep the forestry industry viable in Vermont by removing unnecessary obstacles to the practice of forestry and recognizing the vital role that forestry businesses play.

Other

Our local independent Mad River Valley community cable TV channel has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to purchase high definition gear to pioneer new digital storytelling for our MRV community!

Please consider donating to this vital campaign and watch this short and fun explanatory video here: https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/mad-river-valley-tv-hd-campaign.

Public Hearing Announcement

Senate Judiciary Committee Public Hearing on:

Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention (H.422),

Protecting Those in Danger of Imminent Harm (S.221)

and Background Checks (S.6).

January 30, 2018 from 5:30-7:30pm in the House Chamber.

 

Please stay in touch: mgrad@leg.state.vt.us; 828-2228 or 496-7667.

Also, visit and “Like” me on Facebook: Facebook.com/MaxineGrad