By Guy Page
Most bills introduced into the Vermont Legislature never get a hearing before a committee. A look at the weekly committee schedule shows which bills are being taken seriously in the early weeks of the 2022 Session.
House Energy & Technology will spend most of this week discussing Rep. Laura Sibilia’s bill to spend $48 million to help municipalities transition away from fossil fuels – H518, the Municipal Fuel Switching Grant Program.
House General, Housing and Military Affairs today will take another stab at H93, the Homeless Bill of Rights, protecting the rights of those without permanent addresses to vote, get a job, and “move freely in public places, including public sidewalks, parks, transportation, and buildings, in the same manner as any other person.”
Among the 16 sponsors is committee chair Tom Stevens, who has tried unsuccessfully to shepherd similar bills through previous Legislatures. His efforts failed in part because downtown business organizations expressed concern about panhandling and other nuisance behaviors.
House General on Wednesday will take testimony on H96, a bill with tri-partisan support to “create the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Development Task Force to develop and submit to the General Assembly a proposal for legislation to create one or more truth and reconciliation commissions to examine and begin the process of dismantling institutional, structural, and systemic discrimination in Vermont, both past and present.”
On Thursday, House General will discuss H273, promoting racial and social equity in land ownership.
- Ranked choice voting for the election of City Councilors;
- Prohibiting the eviction of residential tenants without just cause; and
- Regulating thermal energy systems in residential and commercial buildings.
Later that day it will consider H491, creating the City of Essex Junction.
House Human Services will review Proposition 5, the constitutional amendment to enshrine abortion without exception, beginning 10 AM Wednesday morning and then on Thursday afternoon. Dr. Joseph Nasca, a pro-life doctor, and the VT ACLU are scheduled to testify Wednesday.
Thursday morning, House Judiciary will hear testimony from Eric Davis, President of Gun Owners of Vermont, on S. 30, prohibiting possession of firearms within hospital buildings. Later that day, Judiciary will take testimony on a ‘committee bill,’ H. 505, reclassification of penalties for unlawfully possessing, dispensing, and selling a regulated drug, and H. 644, decriminalization of a personal use supply of a regulated drug.
Click here for more committee review of bills this week.