By REP. BUTCH SHAW
As the House approaches the seventh week of the session, we are reminded of some important dates looming on the legislative horizon for members and committees of jurisdiction. The most important is the date for legislative crossover, which this year has been set as March 17th. Those of you unfamiliar with the term “crossover” and a review for those of you that have been reading this column for the past several years, crossover is the legislative term used to indicate that all Senate and House bills must be reported out of the last committee of reference and be passed on to the House Calendar (H. bills) or Senate Calendar (S. bills) for action and possible passage.
If a Member hopes to have their bill considered for passage in this session the bill must be heard, discussed, and acted on by the committee of jurisdiction and then sent to the floor of their respective bodies for action and two votes for passage. It seems like a long time between now and March 17, but we must remember the legislature is in recess for Town Meeting week thus shortening the calendar to crossover.
There are exceptions to the crossover rule for the major money bills such as Appropriations, Transportation, Capitol, and The Fee bill. These bills are due out by Friday, March 24 for action. There is the possibility for other exceptions, but they are limited and are rarely used. My message to my Legislative colleagues is “don’t lose track of your bill” and make sure to ask the Committee of Jurisdiction to move it to the floor!
I have spoken many times about the public’s open access to our Historic State House. I do remember the fateful day of March 13, 2020, when all legislators and staff were sent home so the building could be thoroughly sanitized to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Little did we know that suddenly Vermonters would be in the grip of an alarming, quickly moving pandemic. Legislators and staff were finally allowed to return to the State House nearly 18 months later, on a limited basis. Many members chose to still work from home and participate remotely while the public was not allowed to access the State House. The pandemic now seems to be transitioning to an endemic.
Finally, in the summer of 2022 the public was able to enter the building on a restricted basis. I now am very happy to report that as of January 2023, the State House was reopened fully, subject to The Rules of the Assembly, to the public. I am so grateful to see bus tours full of inquiring people, live witnesses in committee rooms testifying, and groups of school children visiting our “Working State House.” So, if you are so inclined, please visit the State House when the legislature is in session. It is truly an awesome experience to witness your state government in action, it is an experience you will never forget. If you are planning a visit, please contact me and I’ll make sure I will be available to you for a conversation and if the House is in session, I would be delighted to introduce you to the entire assembly!
Recently, House Speaker Jill Krowinski appointed me to The Joint Committee on Legislative Management. This Joint (House & Senate) Committee is responsible for making policy decisions regarding the overall management of Legislative operations including staffing, use of the State House, State House Security, and other like topics. I am grateful for this appointment that is usually reserved for senior members of The General Assembly.
I can be reached at any time by email at email@example.com, by phone 802-483-2398, or by mail at PO Box 197, Pittsford, VT 05763. I am always available to have a conversation with you concerning our Legislative District and your Vermont State Government.
Representative Butch Shaw
Vice Chair-House Committee on Transportation
Chair-Rutland County Legislative Delegation