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Legislative Notes for February 10, 2011

February 9, 2011

Another week of traveling on snow covered roads to Montpelier and responding to the interstate for car accidents in the night led me to call a press conference calling upon the Agency of Transportation to revisit their “safe roads-safe speed” policy.  I began by thanking all of the people working to keep the roads open during the many storms we have had this winter and then focused on the condition of our roads.  The state spends millions to maintain the state roads and it would cost millions more to keep the roads completely bare during the storms. Everyone has a responsibility to maintain control of their vehicle in all situations.  I understand these points but, I think calling for a review of a policy that does not appear to be working as good as it does in other neighboring states is important.  The other part of this issue is the cost and associated risks to our towns for providing emergency services to the states roads.  In Milton, the fire and rescue departments are responding to the interstate multiple times almost every time it snows.  This puts our volunteers in harm’s way and costs the town hundreds of dollars each time they are called out.  I feel that it is important to remind people that the state’s road maintenance policy has implications that reach far beyond the cost of maintaining the roads.

We were also able to resolve a matter this week that could have been quite contentious.  It involved an appeal of an election result in which the winner of the legislative seat one by one vote.  A major concern was the fact that two votes were missing from one of the towns at the recount.  This appeal initially went to the courts for resolution and finally ended up in the legislature.  The committee heard testimony and then debated it for quite some time.  It was determined that the law that was supposed to direct the legislature through this process was never written and the sections remained vacant.  The process seemed to be flawed and not everyone in the committee felt that the issue would be clearly resolved by validating the election results.  Therefore, the three Republicans decided to vote against validating the election until which time a commitment was made to outline the process for future election appeals.  Fortunately, a deal was struck with Democrat leadership prior to going on the floor to accomplish this and thus the election was validated by the full House on a voice vote.

As your representative, I look forward to representing you and your concerns in Montpelier. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, comments or concerns. I am very interested in hearing from you. During the session, I can be reached at the Statehouse by calling 1-800-322-5616 or by cell at 373-5960. My email address is dturner@leg.state.vt.us. My web-site address is www.donturnerjr.com. Thank you and have a great week.

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