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Legislative Notes – 2012 Summary

May 17, 2012

At the beginning of each legislative session I outline my priorities and goals in writing to give myself something to measure my accomplishments by at the end of the session. My primary goal is always to represent you and our community in Montpelier. It is my job to ensure that your voice is heard, your regularly informed and that our community is treated fairly. I take this job very seriously and have worked hard over the years to earn your support.
One of my priorities this session centered around a workers compensation case in which a volunteer firefighter in a neighboring community was denied coverage for an injury he received while working at the department. This incident brought to light a deficiency in Vermont law. It was inconceivable to me that a volunteer firefighter or rescue member hurt while under the direction of the department would not be covered. As a result, I co-sponsored a bill that would address this issue in the future. A version of the bill did pass the legislature and is now awaiting the Governors signature. Our volunteer firefighters and rescue members around the state will then be protected from any potential financial hardship should they ever be injured while on the job protecting their communities.

There were very few bills that directly impacted our community brought forth this session. Although, I did make an attempt to protect our community from any further action from the State in regard to the recently completed and disputed tax increment financing district(TIF) audit. The bill I proposed would have indemnified the four towns including Milton from paying the State as long as there was no fraud or misfeasance on the towns part. Unfortunately, the bill did not pass this session.

Considering the state was facing a projected budget gap and had recently been hit with some of the worst storm related devastation in our lifetime the legislative session was not dominated entirely by these two items. The devastation caused by the storm was overwhelming and it became quite clear that there was no time to waste. The legislature and the administration worked together in a non-partisan manner to address many of the storm related issues in a timely manner. The budget gap was addressed and a balanced budget was passed. However, I continue to express concern about the sustainability of a budget growing at over five percent annually. I have proposed potential solutions in the past and will continue to put them forth in the future to address this problem.

Many very important issues such as healthcare reform, energy costs, education costs, the $21 million that CVPS owes its ratepayers, the prescription drug epidemic, embezzlement and the overall cost of living in Vermont remain unresolved at this time and will need much more work in the future.

Having completed my first term in a legislative leadership role, I found it to be very challenging and yet rewarding. I have been able to bring the caucus together when it counted the most and we had a very positive impact on the final version of some very important legislation. I’ve found that it is also can be very beneficial to my constituents and our community for me to serve in a legislative leadership role. If re-elected in November, I hope to continue serving in a leadership role.

It has truly been an honor and privilege to serve you for the last seven years. I plan to run for re-election this fall and hope to continue serving our community in the future. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, comments or concerns you wish to share. I can be reached by calling my cell phone at 373-5960. My email address is dturner@leg.state.vt.us. My website has this and past articles and the address is www.donturnerjr.com. I look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail. Thank you and have a great summer!

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