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Legislative Notes for May 12, 2011

May 8, 2011

The legislative session came to an end at 5:38 PM on Friday night.  It was a very busy week at the Statehouse since the leadership had planned to adjourn by May 7, 2011.  In order to accomplish this goal it would require bills intended to pass this session to be completed no later than Wednesday night. The only bills that are essential each and every session are the appropriations (budget), miscellaneous tax (revenue), transportation, and capital bills.  These bills are very large and complex in nature.  They also are usually the most controversial because they involve choices.  Leadership chooses to cut or increase spending, cut or increase taxes and all other major components of these bills.  I was notified late Wednesday night that all of the essential bills had been settled and we were on target to adjourn as planned.

The transportation bill had actually settled the week before and was finalized on Monday afternoon.  The capital bill which includes all of the building construction and major maintenance projects for all of state government was completed Tuesday.  This bill which authorizes the state to bond for a little over $95 million was not controversial and passed on a voice vote. The miscellaneous tax bill including a provision for Milton included raising approximately $24 million in new taxes assessed on health care providers, dental insurance plans and an increase in cigarette taxes.  I appreciate that the Speaker helped Milton but I still could not vote for the increase in these taxes.  The final essential bill to pass was the appropriations or budget bill came to the floor on Friday afternoon and passed by a voice vote.  Considering that the legislature faced a large budget gap upon its arrival in January this bill could have been much worse.

On Wednesday, Representative Hubert and I hosted the fourth grade classes of Janet Lamb and Kristi Lombard from the elementary school.  I was remiss last week when I failed to report that Dale Sanderson and Jim Ballard of the Milton Grange spent the day at the Statehouse on Thursday 4/29/11 for Vermont Grange day.  It is always a pleasure to host friends at the Statehouse.

Please feel free to contact me at dturner@leg.state.vt.us or by phone at 373-5960 if you have questions or concerns.  Thank you.  Have a great week!

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