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Legislative Notes for January 24, 2013

January 20, 2013

There are many very important issues being discussed around the Statehouse these days.  Issues such as creating a new tax on home heating fuel to create a thermal efficiency program and gun control.   Each of these issues causes me concern.  I hope that you will take the time to share your thoughts with me as we  debate these issues in the legislature this session.

Last session a committee was formed to study the benefits of creating a thermal efficiency program that would establish a fund to assist low and moderate income Vermonters in making their homes more fuel efficient and thus reducing the cost to heat. This proposal calls for a new tax of fifteen cents per gallon on all home heating fuel to fund the program and future increases would be regulated by the Public Service Board.  The program would be modeled after the electric utility known as Efficiency Vermont which has been successful in reducing the amount of electricity the state consumes.  A shortcoming of this program from my perspective is the lack of accountability and transparency to the people paying the bill.  Every Vermonter pays for the Efficiency Vermont program when they pay their utility bill (check your itemized power bill for the efficiency fee) but have no say whatsoever in the programs operating costs which have increased dramatically over the years.   I see this new thermal efficiency program operating the same, with little or no accountability to the people paying the bill.   I think that we should do everything possible to reduce our use of fossil fuels however, at this point I can’t support placing a new burden on working Vermonters who are still struggling just to survive.

Gun control became a hot topic last week when Senator Baruth one of our Senators from Chittenden County  introduced a bill that would ban many types of rifles and limit the number of rounds.  This bill has upset many people that have contacted me urging me to vote against this proposal.  It is unlikely that this bill will pass the legislature in its current form but, I won’t be surprised if some changes are made to Vermont’s gun laws this session.  I will not support this bill in its current form.      

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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