By STEPHANIE ZAK JEROME, D-BRANDON
A continued thanks to my constituents who have reached out to me via email, telephone, or who have stopped by at my Office Hours. I like to hear your opinions on the issues that are being worked on in the Legislature and it helps me gauge the importance to our community. You can keep tabs on the bills in the House at https://legislature.vermont.gov/house/overview/2020.
Below is a list of bills that have passed since my last Reporter article:
- S.133 An act relating to juvenile jurisdiction
- S.40 An act relating to testing and remediation of lead in the drinking water of schools and child care facilities
- S.43 An act relating to prohibiting prior authorization requirements for medication-assisted treatment
- H.550 An act relating to unclaimed property
- S.149 An act relating to miscellaneous changes to laws related to vehicles and the Department of Motor Vehicles
- S.95 An act relating to municipal utility capital investment
- S.86 An act relating to increasing the legal age for buying and using cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, and other tobacco products from 18 to 21 years of age
There are a number of bills that will come to legislature in the next week or so. These include PR. 5 declaration of right to personal reproductive liberty; S.23 an act relating to minimum wage; and S.113 an act relating to the prohibition of plastic carryout bags, expanded polystyrene, and single-use plastic straws.
Clean water funding will also come to the floor. The Senate advanced S.169, a gun purchase waiting period bill. It reflects a compromise between proponents and opponents of firearm restrictions. S.169 would establish a 24-hour waiting period for the purchase of handguns, allow for organizing shooting competitions to continue, and allow individuals who own high capacity ammunition feeding devices to transfer them to immediate family members in a will.
In late April, I was pleased to have been invited to Neshobe School to speak to the 4th grade library class. I had the opportunity to discuss my role in the Vermont State Legislature and provide a quick civics lesson. I loved the enthusiasm of the students in suggesting ways that we could improve life in Vermont. In small groups, they came up with ideas that could be brought forward as future bills. These ideas included: 25 year old age limit for smoking and vaping, more recycling, stricter penalties for littering, and allowing four wheelers on trails. Thank you to Mrs. Fjeld for the kind invitation!
I would be remiss if I did not speak of Representatives Bob Forguites’ passing last month. He was a kind and gentle man who is greatly missed by his fellow legislators. I met Bob as we took our oath of office and received our committee assignments. He would regularly check in with me to see how I was doing during those first weeks in my new job. He told me how he fondly hosted an annual Christmas party for his extended family at the Brandon Inn and how much he loved the town of Brandon. He was a treasured friend of many, especially those who graduated with him from Brandon High School and those who knew him in the business community. A single white rose was placed on his desk during the week that followed his passing — a gentle reminder of his absence and his service to the state.
Thanks to those who came out to Brandon’s “office hours” last week. I will be holding a meet and greet at Pittsford’s Maclure Library from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on May 11, and then on May 20, from 11a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Sudbury’s Town Clerk’s office.
Please be in touch as the legislative session closes. I can be reached at email@example.com or at 802-828-2228. I welcome your questions or comments.