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Legislative Notes for February 20, 2014

February 16, 2014

In this weeks report I will focus on three of the bills that passed the House this week. H.809 Designation of new Town Centers, H.62 Prohibiting the hand-held use of portable electronic devices while driving and H.640 Government Operations Technical Corrections bill.

H.809 Designation of Town Centers intends to simplify regulations to encourage communities to create designated town centers. Currently, there are very few of the districts in the State and the legislature wants to entice growth in these areas. I understand that communities were reluctant to create these town centers due to the regulatory process and associated costs. Without the designation developers are not able to take advantage of incentives. This scenario creates an unnecessary roadblock for growth in places that most people embrace it. This is the first of two bills that we will likely see this session to address this issue. I support these efforts to entice growth in our historic villages and downtowns.

H.62 prohibits the use of hand-held electronic devices while driving. This law will require everyone to use blue tooth or hands free devices while driving and is a natural extension of the texting ban that passed a few years ago. I understand that passage of this law will have an immediate impact on my life and many of yours, especially if you spend a lot of time on your hand-held cell phone while driving. However, in my fire and rescue career I have seen far too many accidents caused by distracted drivers. Therefore, for me, life safety is far more important than the ability to communicate while driving and supported passage of this bill.

H.640 included a number of government operations technical corrections. Most of the items pertained to correcting spelling, titles and reporting requirements throughout state government. From my perspective the most important item in the bill corrected an omission that occurred in the campaign finance bill that passed earlier this year and has been signed into law by the Governor. The intent of the original bill was to have the campaign contributions begin on 1/1/15 after the 2014 election cycle. The omission of the dates in the original bill left it unclear for this election cycle and this bill corrects that error. I supported passage.

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 iswww.donturnerjr.com. Thank you and have a great week.

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