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Legislative Notes for March 21, 2013

March 17, 2013

There was a flurry of activity this week as Friday marked the last day a bill not requiring money could be passed out of committee this session. This is known as crossover. Crossover is an arbitrary date established by House and Senate leadership at the beginning of the session. It is intended to give each body an idea of the bills that remain in play or are likely to pass this session. However, I have learned in years past that this is not as black and white as it appears. Occasionally bills that don’t meet the date end up being added as an amendment at a later date. Creating law is not for the faint at heart or for people that only see things as right or wrong.

The house passed several bills this week including the creation of a new position in the department of public safety to assist communities with search and rescue efforts and a bill that will require companies to provide health coverage for same-sex couples. I supported passage of both of these bills and explained my vote of the health coverage bill as follow: “Vermont recognizes that same-sex couples have all of the same rights and benefits that other couples enjoy. With the threat of a future lawsuit removed we feel that our citizens should not be discriminated in this arena.”

I have been very busy preparing for the debate next week on the gas tax. I cannot support raising another tax on working Vermonters and have put together several amendments to try to derail this increase. The items I find most offense include an automatic inflator indexed to the CPI, it doesn’t include all vehicles that use the road and lastly that we continue to use gas tax money to pay for items outside the transportation fund. I also found out that the Agency of Transportation is on the record stating that they could draw down all of the federal dollars with an additional $14 million dollars. This new tax raises approximately $36 million dollars in the first year. I will do my best to stop this tax increase.

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 http://www.donturnerjr.com. Thank you and have a great week.

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