Bill would remove tax exemption for lobbying, politically active churches / eliminate life without parole / free health care for all legislators

by Guy Page and Tim Page

A House bill introduced Jan. 27 by two southern Vermont legislators would ban tax exemptions for any church or charitable organization engaged in lobbying.

H.113 would amend current law to “clarify that churches and other public, pious, or charitable organizations are not eligible for the State property tax exemption if those organizations engage in any lobbying or other political activity on their property. Churches and nonprofits will also be required under this bill to certify annually to the Vermont Department of Taxes that the organization does not conduct any lobbying or political activity on the property that would disqualify the organization from the exemption.”

The bill was sponsored by Reps. Laura Sibilia (West Dover) and Kelly Pajala (Londonderry), both independents. It was referred to the Ways and Means Committee.

S41 would eliminate a life without parole as a sentencing option and prohibit consecutive sentencing for individuals who were 25 years of age or younger at the time they committed the offenses. Sponsored by Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale, it was sent to Senate Judiciary.

A Senate bill introduced Jan. 25 would permit arrest without a warrant for persons suspected of assaulting, or threatening assault, on a health care worker.

A Senate bill introduced last week would provide no-cost health care for all legislators, as well as other benefits.

S39 would “make members of the General Assembly eligible for the State employees’ health benefit plan at no cost and to allow them to participate in any flexible spending account program offered to State employees for health care expenses or dependent care expenses, or both.”

The bill, sponsored by Sens. Ruth Hardy (D-Addison) and Alison Clarkson (D-Windsor) and others, would also 

  • provide compensation to members of the General Assembly during adjournment
  • allow members of the General Assembly to choose whether to receive their payments for meals and lodging expenses as an allowance, which may be treated as income subject to tax for federal and State income tax purposes, or as reimbursement of actual expenses, which may be excluded from income for federal and State income tax purposes
  • allow a legislator to be reimbursed for child care, dependent care, and elder care expenses that are necessary to facilitate the member’s service in the General Assembly
  • expand the legislative leave of absence law to allow members to take a  leave of absence from any job, not only a full-time job, in order to serve in the General Assembly
  • create the Legislative Service Working Group to consider and make recommendations on issues involving legislative compensation and benefits, staffing, administrative support, and the length of the legislative session. 

S.36 would “permit a law enforcement officer to arrest a person without a warrant if the officer has probable cause to believe the person assaulted or threatened a health care worker at a health care facility, or engaged in disorderly conduct that interfered with the provision of medically necessary health care services in a health care facility.”

The bill was sponsored by Sens. Richard Sears (D-Bennington, Chair of Judiciary) and Virginia Lyons (D-Chittenden, Chair of Health Care), and referred to the Judiciary Committee.

Last year, Vermont hospitals experienced a significant uptick in assaults on nurses and other staff, particularly in overcrowded emergency rooms with high numbers of mentally ill patients. 

Judiciary is scheduled to review S.36 at 9 AM Wednesday morning. Jill Maynard, Director of Emergency Services, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, and Patricia  Johnson, MS, RN, Emergency Room Nurse, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center are among those scheduled to testify. 

A Vermont law enforcement official associated with the Legislature said last week he is unaware why the bill would authorize an arrest “without a warrant” when warrants are not required to execute an arrest. 

A House bill introduced Jan. 27 would ban surveillance devices from use on private property without consent from the property owner.

H.122 would “propose to make it a civil offense to place a surveillance device on private property without first obtaining consent from the property owner.”

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Allyssa Black (D-Westford) and referred to the Judiciary Committee.

For an updated list of all bills in the Vermont House and Senate, see the Vermont Daily Chronicle Toolbox to Follow and Influence the Legislature.

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Categories: Legislation

26 replies »

  1. S39 “Provide compensation to Members of the General Assembly during adjournment”

    Does this mean what I think it means ?
    Boy I wish I could get a job where they’d pay me to not go to work. Oh yea, I forgot, we call that welfare !

  2. I wish those “leaders” in Montpelier would remember that Vermont has the population of an average U.S. CITY. How on God’s green earth do they think the small working population in Vermont, (with an average income of 65K) can fund every idea they come up with?

  3. Huge was of time on all these bills. So the statehouse is like D.C. now putting themselves first and foremost?

    • that would be the “trickle down” …..been going on for years and now this….go back to what forefathers intended; leave your home, business, farm for “short” period to do the business of the State (or Country) and go back home to H,B,F…….
      UNREAL what is going on with the MEMEME……

  4. thinking they will allow political activity by a church if they support socialist agenda of legislature

  5. RE: S39 Absolutely not. When we get free heath care – you can have free health care. What a self serving, greedy and insulting bill. Sens. Ruth Hardy (D-Addison) and Alison Clarkson (D-Windsor) and others, should be ashamed of themselves for sponsoring such an slap in the face to Vermonters already struggling to make ends meet. The people who elected this group should be embarrassed. I’d say we need a group under the dome that actually represents the people of Vermont – but isn’t that what these people are supposed to be doing?? I think they have lost sight of who they work for and what they are supposed to be doing. Isn’t it sad day when we need to be protected from our own legislators. SHAME ON YOU!

      • Every one of them “knows better” they just want what they want……make it year round, add more benefits (as if there are not enough now) and add to the states payroll…….which is already 40% or thereabouts……Sick thinking…….

  6. Take care of ourselves first, then let’s focus in the 1st amendment. Why have that “without warrant clause? So they can easily arrest someone silently and lawfully protesting in front of a planned parenthood “reproductive heath care center.”

  7. Vermont Citizens get what the voted for (and those eligible to vote who did not vote). Frankly, I’d like to see more shameful and ridiculous legislation from this Legislative lot that has no shame. (1) How about early release programs for convicted felons? (to shore up their voting constituency). (2) Paid Caribbean vacations (4 weeks) for all Legislators? (heaven knows it’s cold in VT and they deserve it! This goes nicely with free health care too) (3) Free private school education for Legislators? (leave the failing public schools to the masses!) (4) Special laws to exempt legislators from driving the posted speed limits (since their self importance needs to get them places fast!). (5) A law to provide quarterly payments to any/all progressives that still exhibit Trump-Deranged-Syndrome (it’s only fair given the trauma they had to endure during his Presidency ) I say “keep going” to the rulers in Montpelier. Go bigger and go bolder!! Perhaps their efforts to rub all of this into the noses of Vermont citizens will manage to finally get some of their attention.

  8. no-cost healthcare & child-care reimbursement? We the people who are funding these expenses should be voting on this, not the crooked politicians that benefit from it!!

  9. The essence of H.113 is that Churches is not protected by the 1st Amendment. H.113 makes a distinction of which citizens are protected and which ones are not with the stroke of a pen. It is a direct violation of the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. For the Church I recommend we pray that this bill goes nowhere, so that Vermont taxpayers won’t be subsidizing the cost of a court battle.

  10. If you think the churches are getting overly-political, I think it may be passed time to ask if the politics is getting overly-religious…

  11. Each and every bill listed above, with the exception of H.122 is normal for a totalitarian regime.
    Every Bill.
    Legislation such as proposed here directly links back to Germany in the 1930’s,
    Eastern Bloc countries during the 1950’s, Venezuela under Chavez- need I go on?
    The camel’s nose is no longer under the tent. the whole stinking socialist animal is inside, front and center in both chambers at what used to be the state house.
    “representatives” sibilia and pajala are deserving of every Vermont citizen’s contempt for their blatant disregard of Vermont’s Constitution and their oaths of office.
    I do hope the good governor has made a veto stamp, to save handwritten vetos.
    It has become clear that as predicted- this session is a free-for-all of socialist and totalitarian legislation, a declared war on our Constitutional rights- using class warfare, racism and “woke” issues to tear down Vermont to a level seen in Venezuela, Brazil and Canada currently.
    A note for ms. hardy and ms. clarkson- S.39 misses the mark. There should be funding for a legislative clinic or hospital, exclusive to nomenklatura such as yourselves, similar to Walter Reed Med. Ctr. for the federal elitist politicians. Finding a Doctor is tough here in the Peoples Republic.

  12. “S41 would eliminate a life without parole as a sentencing option and prohibit consecutive sentencing for individuals who were 25 years of age or younger at the time they committed the offenses. Sponsored by Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale, it was sent to Senate Judiciary.”

    I fully support this bill, provided of course that Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale take full responsibility for housing, supervising and accepts liability for any infraction committed by her parolees.

  13. Seems as though our legislators have spent ample time making up a grand goodies list for themselves. How about working on fixing things up for all hardworking/struggling Vermonters to have a better time of things? When that happens, get back to us, we, all the people.

  14. Vermont, the new Venezuela. Research why Venezuela turned into a lost cause…Vermont is not far behind.

    • You hit it Charles. Ive listened to soooo many friends and acquaintances complain about things that are going on at an alarming rate. Ive asked them why they keep voting D. There answers are very ignorant. They range from i always vote D, i dont like Trump, ill let someone else make my decision. Not a one knows anything about the consequences they are forcing on themselves and the rest of us, not a one takes the time to learn the truth about an issue, and the clincher is they dont know why they are democrats. And further do not know why they hate republicans. This is our life in Vermont, being ruined by clueless voters. Come on folks, get informed.

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