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Legislative Notes for March 29, 2012

March 23, 2012

This was one of the busiest weeks I can ever recall having at the Statehouse. Upon our arrival on Tuesday we were faced with a calendar that had twenty-five bills up for action. Throughout the week the House passed a total of 34 bills which brings the total for the session up to 76 bills. The state transportation, appropriations, renewable energy and many other bills were passed by the house this week.

The transportation bill included over 100 million in federal dollars directed to help rebuild the State’s roads and bridges which were damaged by Tropical Storm Irene. The total transportation budget was in excess of $600 million. This money should help improve the overall condition of many roads and bridges across the state. I voted to support this bill.

The appropriations bill grew at a rate of 6.4% for a total spending plan that exceeded $5 billion for the first time in Vermont’s history. This is the third year in a row that we voted on a spending plan that grew at or above 6%. I could not support the passage of this plan because I don’t feel that Vermont can sustain this growth rate going forward. I will continue to offer alternative spending options to those that were presented by the committee throughout the remainder of the session.

The renewable energy bill is designed to increase Vermont’s use of renewable energy and thereby reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. This bill was very concerning to the business community and especially to several high energy use businesses in Milton. In regard to the production of electricity, Vermont is already one of the lowest producers of greenhouse gas in the country. I support a well-balanced energy portfolio that includes renewable sources but, I could not support this bill which increase the renewable portion and cost to ratepayers.

A second bill to raise agency fees was passed as well as thirty-three other bills. Bills that ban teenagers from using tanning beds, an ignition interlock device for people who have been convicted multiple times of driving under the influence, several education related bills, bills that deal with prescription drug and opiate abuse and many other topics. Please check out the House journal for specifics about these or any other bill on-line at http://www.leg.state.vt.us.

One of the things I enjoy most about serving in the legislature is hosting friends and constituents at the Statehouse. On Friday, I enjoyed hosting Dustin Keelty and Wally Safford. If you would like to visit the Statehouse please feel free to contact me to arrange a date and time.

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 e-mail 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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