It was a busy week as we all worked towards crossover on March 17th. Crossover is the day bills in both bodies must be voted out of their committee in order to be voted on the floor and passed to the other chamber. The budget bills are due March 24th.
House Healthcare heard testimony on those bills we deemed most important to vote on this year; while realizing there are other important bills we will continue discussing. One notable bill, H.145, creates a Mental Health Response Commission housed in the Office of the Attorney General. This bill grew out of the work of the Grenon group after Phil Grenon was killed in his home in Burlington. The commission will conduct reviews of law enforcement interactions with persons acting in a manner that created reason to believe a mental health crisis was occurring and resulted in a fatality or serious bodily injury. The commission will recommend policies, practices, services and training that will lead to successful interventions in the future.
H.230 allows a minor to give consent to receive outpatient treatment related to sexual orientation or gender identity from a mental health professional. We heard testimony from some very brave youth during LGBQT day at the statehouse.
Another important bill is H.184 which passed in the full House March 17th. Suicides in Vermont account for more deaths annually than those of motor vehicle accidents, homicide and drownings combined. This law directs the Agency of Human Services to identify and collect all information related to each death by suicide to help inform suicide prevention activities.
On another note, the full House voted 110-24 on S.79 which protects Vermonters from collection of or dissemination of personally identifiable information for purposes of establishing a federal registry or database.
There were many important bills voted out of House committees during crossover week that are being discussed and voted on this week. Many more than space available here. Issues addressed include enhancements to existing Parental & Family Leave Act (PFLA), a CTE grant pilot program, transparency with the Next Generation Medicaid Pilot, access to treatment courts, and reforms to Vermont’s bail and probation laws. If there are questions, comments or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out. My contact is firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-373-0599 or leave a comment below.
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