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Legislative Notes for February 6, 2014

January 31, 2014

Another legislative week has passed and with it went my ability to submit ideas for new bills.  To date 821 bills have been introduced and there is likely another 50 or so still being drafted.  The deadline is established by rule in the first year of the biennium to ensure that everyone knows the drafting deadline well in advance.  It also prevents wasting the valuable time of the legislative council lawyers who would be drafting bills that have little chance of becoming law due to the limited amount of time left in the session.

Several bills came to the floor for action this week.  Included were H.735 an act relating to Executive Branch and Judiciary fees, H.702 an act relating to self- generation and net metering, H.373 an act relating to re-titling and re-organizing Title 33 and  H.356 an act relating to littering in or on the waters of the State of Vermont.   I supported passage of H.373 and H.356.

Each year the legislature reviews a group of Executive branch and Judiciary fees.  The goal is to evaluate each fee every three years to ensure that it actually reflects what is needed in revenue to cover the related costs of providing the service.  This year the fee bill will raise an additional $800,000.  There were several fees that were raised by a substantial amount.  I heard from several constituents that were opposed to these increased fees and therefore I voted no on this bill.

H.702 includes several positive initiatives such as requiring the Public Service Board to revamp the entire net metering program before 2017 to determine it viability.  This bill also raises the cap from 4% to 15% of a utilities demand can be generated from net metering solar power.  Vermont law requires that power companies pay 5 times the current market rate per KWH for solar.  There is currently an abundance of demand to build solar which has facilitated the need to raise the cap.  If there is an abundance of demand to build solar, I feel that the state mandated rate should have been reduced in order to help lower power costs for Vermonters.  I have gotten several constituent calls recently expressing their frustration with higher than normal power bills.  I could not support this bill knowing that these changes may ultimately contribute to even higher power costs in Vermont.

I was nice to have Candi Gingras visit us at the Statehouse on Wednesday to recognize Vermont Nurses Day.

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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