Report from Montpelier

By Joan Lenes The governor will deliver his budget this week. The executive branch develops this budget with input and design from all the secretaries and commissioners of each department. It is then our job to examine it, take testimony, and develop our version of the budget based on what we know, learn, and believe […]

Education funding and the Act 46 thresholds

By Rep. Kate Webb Act 46, passed last spring, made amendments to education funding, spending and governance. After initial shock and confusion, districts around the state began having substantive, informed and serious conversations on how we educate our children with scarce dollars. As with most new laws, unintended consequences emerge and the legislature must grapple […]

New beginnings

By Joan Lenes The 2016 Legislative session has begun. It is always an exciting time for me knowing we have about 18 weeks ahead of us as we work on behalf of all Vermonters. What will come up, what can we accomplish, what will I be extremely proud of and what will cause me disappointment […]

report from montpelier

By Representatives Joan Lenes and Kate Webb For our final end-of-session article, we offer a short list of some of the environmental issues addressed this year: Solar Siting: Following requests from municipalities including Shelburne, the Legislature gave communities greater say in the siting of ground-mounted solar projects. Municipalities and planning commissions will have automatic party […]

Promoting economic development in 2015

By Representatives Kate Webb and Joan Lenes Vermont’s economy depends on quality of employers and an excellent workforce. Continuing with work begun last year, the 2015 economic development bills focus on connecting employees and employers and workforce development. They also provide necessary updates to our successful insurance industry, marketing Vermont, protecting consumers, among others. The […]

Closing the $113 million budget gap

By Representatives Joan Lenes and Kate Webb The budget process in this new biennium began with the recognition that we are in a new economic normal. Although short-term cuts and revenue changes had gotten us through previous recessions, it was clear that the gap between spending and revenue was continuing to grow. Long-term changes would […]

report from montpelier

report from montpelier

By Rep. Joan Lenes The gavel fell on the 2015 Legislative session late Saturday night, May 16. It had been a long week; one filled with conversations among House and Senate committee members, leadership, and the administration. The committees of conference were weaving together the best parts of each bodies’ versions of the health care […]

report from montpelier: Immunizations redux

By Rep. Kate Webb As we enter the final week of the legislative session, there is no issue more divisive, emotional, and polarizing than whether to continue to allow the use of the philosophical exemption to the immunization requirement for admittance to school in Vermont. More politically charged than the right to bear arms. Tougher […]

report from montpelier

report from montpelier

By Rep. Joan Lenes Over the past several legislative sessions we have had conversations about healthy workplace environments and how we could help solve the issue of paid sick days. We were working to accomplish this while balancing the needs of employers and employees. I believe we have accomplished that balance this session. Employers that […]