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Legislative Notes for May 9, 2013

May 5, 2013

The end of the session is near.  The House passed S.77 an act related to patient choice and control at end of life and H.270 providing access to publicly funded pre-kindergarten education this week.  We passed several other bills as well but, the two previously mentioned bills S.77 and H.270 were by far the most controversial.  The intense and emotional debate on these two bills lasted well over 15 hours over a two-day period.

S.77 formerly known as death with dignity or physicians assisted suicide has been introduced in every session I have served in the legislature, over eight years.  In each previous attempt, the bill died a slow death in one legislative chamber or the other.  However, well-funded proponents of this Oregon based bill have continued to build momentum over the years and this year they finally got a version of the bill passed in both chambers.  The versions are quite different and may eventually lead once again to the death of the proposal.  The two legislative bodies will now attempt to negotiate in a committee of conference language that will be acceptable to their respective colleagues.  The House version is essentially the same as the Oregon law which allows a terminally ill person to take their own life if they have been diagnosed with less than six months to live.  The debate featured well over twelve proposals of amendment in which all but two defeated.  The final bill passed on a vote of 81 in favor and 64 opposed.  I received a number of messages from constituents advising me to oppose this bill.  I voted NO on this very emotional issue.

H.270 mandates that school districts offer pre-kindergarten for up to 10 hours per week beginning in FY14.  This is projected to increase education spending by $1.2 million next year and by up to $10 million within five years.  I understand that there are significant benefits to enrolling 3-4 year old children in school.  However, the House last month voted to raise your education property taxes by 5 cents for FY14 and will likely need to raise them another 6 cents next year for FY15 in order to sustain the current system.  Adding this new program will put additional pressure on the education fund.  I cannot support adding new programs in a time when we are seeing substantial tax increases.  I voted to oppose this program.  Unfortunately, it was passed by the majority.

We are starting to see some positive movement on the TIF legislation.  The Senate passed the bill last week that will make some of the necessary changes for Milton.  It is not perfect and will require the towns to pay a portion of the cost of the audits out of the TIF districts.  There is also talk of requiring the towns to come to some resolution with the Auditor’s office on the outstanding amounts rather than giving amnesty as the Governor had sought.  I feel very strongly that Milton taxpayers should not be held liable for the state’s inept management of these very complex economic development tools.  I will do everything in my power to get an amicable resolution to this issue this session.

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 email address is My web-site address is Thank you and have a great week.

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