Disclaimer - this was written last weekend for publication in this week's Essex Reporter. We know now that the House did not override the Governor's veto.
By the time you read this I’m hopeful that we will have overridden Governor Scott’s veto to pass a fiscally responsible budget – a budget supported by virtually every legislator including members of his own party, provides for appropriately $30m in income tax reductions and significant reductions in the taxation of social security income and levels the residential education tax rate. Therefore, I’d like to direct your attention to other good work your legislative body accomplished this session.
Act 196 aims to make it simpler for small businesses to interact with state government by expanding the information on the Secretary of State website and links to relevant parts of other state websites. The goal is to have a project scope, design, budget and timeline by December 2018 that will act as a roadmap for website enhancements and services for the next 10 years.
Act 189 moves us forward in meeting the current and anticipated needs of employers and employees. The bill does many things including, but not limited to, extending the use of Career Pathways in workforce development by engaging students as early as 7th grade, strengthening apprenticeship programs in the state, authorizing the use of Workforce Education Training funds to assist small businesses in recruiting, relocating and retaining workers, and develops metrics to measure the relative success of these different efforts to guide future decision making.
Act 173 allows schools to use their allocated state aid for special education dollars in more flexible ways with a goal of educating students who require additional support more effectively and efficiently. Schools will be unshackled from the intensive bookkeeping that goes along with today’s special education reimbursement system. The bill also emphasizes Vermont’s obligation to students on IEP’s and each student’s right to a public education.
Act 126 will start changing our wage gap by prohibiting the practice of allowing an employer to ask for a person’s salary history prior to offering them a job. When a woman is asked to reveal her salary during a job interview, which is likely lower than her male counterparts, she is asked to perpetuate an income gap job after job because her salary may be based on her already low pay. This adds up over time, and it is discriminatory.
These are just a few of our accomplishments. Mental health, stabilizing our healthcare market, prescription drug transparency, breast imaging without cost sharing, lead poisoning prevention, adverse childhood experiences, gun violence prevention, data brokers and consumer protection and so much more was accomplished. Please reach out with any questions. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-373-0599. I look forward to seeing you around the Village this summer. Enjoy!