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Legislative Notes for January 16, 2014

January 10, 2014

The legislative session began on Tuesday 1/7/14 at 10 AM. It has been fast and furious thus far with two important bills passing this week. S.82 an act to reform campaign finance law and S.25 an act relating to public advocacy in utility matters both passed this week.

S.82 will establish campaign contribution limits, electronic reporting and clarity to a regulation that has been in limbo since the courts determined the previous law was unconstitutional. It is not a perfect solution and like all other bills, I had to weigh the positive versus the negative before voting. In the end, I supported the bill because I feel that this bill will improve the current status quo and is moving the law in a positive direction.

S.25 an act to clarify the Public Service Department’s obligation to represent individual Vermonters and small businesses in matters that are brought before the Vermont Public Service Board. This issue came to light during the merger of Central Vermont Public Service and Green Mountain Power.

Another very important issue that did not get much attention this week is education property taxes. Education property taxes were raised last year by 5 cents and will likely increase by another 7 cents this year. Vermont’s education funding system is broken and there needs to be overall reform to the system. I feel that this is a very important issue and will be reporting on its status regularly as the session progresses.

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 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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