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Legislative Notes for February 21, 2013

February 17, 2013

In this weeks report I will focus on three of the bills that passed the House this week.  The pension forfeiture bill , the fee bill and the unemployment benefits for people who would like to start their own business.

The pension forfeiture bill is a direct result of a recent case of fraud.  In this recent case involving a long-term State Police officer who had been falsifying his time sheets .  It was determined that his pay period actions had also artificially inflated his pension and under current law the pension could not be encumbered by the court.  This proposal allows the court to consider forfeiture of the pension of a public employee as part of the judicial  proceedings.  This will only apply to cases that come after the bill is enacted into law  and has no bearing on the previous case.  I voted yes on this bill.

The annual fee bill passed the House with little debate.  This bill raises a little more than two million dollars total in new or increased fees.  We are starting to see that the Governor and his administration are pushing the envelope on items being considered in this bill.  Fees are intended to charged by the state to cover the cost of that operation.  However, we are seeing more and more questionable charges being included in the fee bill.  For this reason I could not support the bill and voted no.

Last year we approved a change in the unemployment law that would allow a person who was  inclined to start their own business to continue drawing unemployment for a specified period of time.  This was a very specific group of people and there were many requirements.  We were told that it would not have negative impact on the unemployment  trust fund and that it may help stimulate the economy.  Unfortunately, the Senate did not take up the bill and it died.  The bill that passed this week did exactly the same as I described above.  I voted yes on this bill.                              

I have requested a resolution recognizing Milton’s 250th Anniversary and it will adopted by the House on Friday March 1st.  I have also arranged for a bus to bring Milton Senior Citizens to the Statehouse for the event.  Following the adoption we will have a short program and I will present the resolution to the 250th committee in the Cedar Creek Room.  Everyone is welcome to attend if you need more information please feel free to contact me.

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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