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Legislative Notes for February 2, 2011

January 27, 2012

Another pretty crazy week at the Statehouse has come to an end.  We spent very little time on the floor debating bills this week.  Although, there was plenty of activity elsewhere in the building.  Several committees were discussing the rebuilding of the State Hospital and reapportionment finally took center stage this week.

Next week we will begin the debate on the House floor of the plan to replace the Vermont State Hospital.  Several committees have been taking testimony on this issue for the last few weeks.  The plan calls for locating several smaller facilities around the state rather than rebuilding one large facility.  Most people seem to support this idea and I intend to do so as well unless I hear something very surprising next week.  My only concern with the proposed plan to date is that there are no beds currently proposed in the greater Chittenden county area.  I want to ensure that these services are available in close proximity to Milton should they ever be needed by you or your family.

The vote of the House Government Operation Committee on the proposed House reapportionment plan was taken on Friday.  The committee has been working on this plan in a non-partisan manner since last fall.  Our goal for reapportionment was to ensure that all Vermonters received fair representation in the House for the next decade.  We approached this process knowing that it might very well become partisan at any given time.  This did ultimately occur the day before the committee voted.  As a result, we were very frustrated by the plan that was voted out by the committee on a partisan vote.  It did not achieve most of the goals we had established prior to beginning of this process.  Our committee members worked tirelessly on developing a plan that would be fair to Vermonters, our constituents, our colleagues and our Republican members of the House.  Unfortunately, the majority didn’t care about being fair.

I also spent some time in the Ways and Means committee on Thursday listening to the Attorney Generals Office, the Tax department and the Auditors office testify about the recent audit of the Milton TIF districts.  They attributed much of the problem to the very complex law that has undergone a multitude of changes over the years.  It was also stated that there are two more audits in progress and that the committee should wait until they get all of the reports before proposing a resolution.  I think that this is good advice but, it may mean that there is no resolution for Milton TIF audit results until the next legislative session.

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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