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The House has just voted 103-47 to override the Governor's veto of the Global Warming Solutions Act.

Climate change poses an escalating threat to our environment, to public health and to our way of life. Vermont needs a strategic plan — and the longer we wait to put that plan into place, the more costly and difficult it will be to respond. The GWSA offers a step-by-step path to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, speeds our transition to the clean-energy economy of the future, and enhances the resilience and readiness of Vermont communities.

From here, the bill moves to the Senate for an override vote next week. If successful there, this historic climate-action bill will become law, and Vermont will join its Northeastern neighbors — New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine — in enacting similar legislation to curb pollution while transitioning to a sustainable future.

It's important to note that the GWSA includes clear and direct language to guide the Climate Plan that will be created. Any proposed strategies must take squarely into account "the disproportionate impact of climate change on rural, low income, and marginalized communities ... and that programs and incentives for building resilience are designed to be accessible to all Vermonters and do not unfairly burden any groups, communities, geographic locations, or economic sectors." The goal is to analyze and decrease — not increase! — the cost of transportation, electricity and heating for the families who can least afford it.

When I ran for office in 2018, I knocked on hundreds and hundreds of doors across our district. At every door, I asked whether voters were concerned about climate action and wanted Vermont to take thoughtful, strategic action. It was clear to me then and remains clear to me now that an overwhelming majority of Vermonters want to #ActOnClimate for today and for our future. Today, we delivered.
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The House has just voted 103-47 to override the Governors veto of the Global Warming Solutions Act. 

Climate change poses an escalating threat to our environment, to public health and to our way of life. Vermont needs a strategic plan — and the longer we wait to put that plan into place, the more costly and difficult it will be to respond. The GWSA offers a step-by-step path to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, speeds our transition to the clean-energy economy of the future, and enhances the resilience and readiness of Vermont communities. 

From here, the bill moves to the Senate for an override vote next week. If successful there, this historic climate-action bill will become law, and Vermont will join its Northeastern neighbors — New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine — in enacting similar legislation to curb pollution while transitioning to a sustainable future. 

Its important to note that the GWSA includes clear and direct language to guide the Climate Plan that will be created. Any proposed strategies must take squarely into account the disproportionate impact of climate change on rural, low income, and marginalized communities ... and that programs and incentives for building resilience are designed to be accessible to all Vermonters and do not unfairly burden any groups, communities, geographic locations, or economic sectors.  The goal is to analyze and decrease — not increase! — the cost of transportation, electricity and heating for the families who can least afford it.

When I ran for office in 2018, I knocked on hundreds and hundreds of doors across our district. At every door, I asked whether voters were concerned about climate action and wanted Vermont to take thoughtful, strategic action. It was clear to me then and remains clear to me now that an overwhelming majority of Vermonters want to #ActOnClimate for today and for our future. Today, we delivered.

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Thanks for your vote and leadership!

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Thank you for providing this information.

HALF & HALF with your Monday morning coffee: A 50-50 newsletter with updates from the special legislative session and the 2020 campaign. Please read and share!

https://mailchi.mp/471b46664cdf/kj-rep-sept-50-50-update?e=[UNIQID]
CAMPAIGN UPDATE: Seth Bongartz and I are proud to be endorsed by Vermonts U.S. Congressman, Peter Welch. Seth and I are running as a team to represent the Bennington-4 district —Arlington, Manchester, Sandgate and Sunderland — in the Vermont House of Representatives. Heres what Peter has to say:

Kathleen has demonstrated her commitment to the people of her district through her extraordinary work on their behalf the last two years. I served with Seth when he was previously in the legislature and know what a level-headed, thoughtful, and effective leader he is. This is a great team with the right values and vision for Bennington-4, and they have my heartfelt support.

Thank you, Rep. Welch, and thanks for your hard work and leadership on behalf of Vermont and Vermonters in Washington.

You can follow Seth on social media, too: Seth Bongartz for VT State Representative.

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Our district will benefit by team representation a stronger united voice is better than a fractured delegation with one voice out in the political wilderness

Well deserved, Kath!

Congrats!

Yesterday, the House gave final approval to H.969, the full FY21 budget. Below you'll find a point-by-point overview of the $88 million in recommended additional Economic Recovery Grants — to help businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic — that are contained within this massive 201-page bill. These allocations are from Vermont's final remaining federal CRF (Coronavirus Relief Fund) money.

An important reminder: This work is not yet final! From here the budget moves to the Senate for further consideration prior to final passage and, ultimately, the Governor's signature.

Here's what the House is proposing, and thanks to Rep. Charlie Kimbell (D-Woodstock) of the Commerce Committee for this synopsis. >>>

H. 969 alters the eligibility criteria from earlier bills (H. 966 and S. 350).

• Requires that grants be made on the basis of need demonstrated by economic loss instead of a formula. The current eligibility requirement is that a business show a 50% decline in revenue in any one month from 2019 to 2020 during the “covered period" of March 1 to September 1, and the grant is calculated at 10% of the 2019 revenues. That goes away in this new round of financing. If the business can demonstrate a loss, regardless of its comparison to the previous year, including things like the cancellation of contracts or reservations because of COVID, as long as the business was established before March 1st, they will be eligible. ACCD will establish standards to determine grant amounts.

• No requirement that the business have an employee. That means that the following businesses will be eligible now: Sole Proprietors, Partnerships, LLC’s with no employees, etc.

• Amended the provision of previous grants that Arts and Cultural Organizations could not include tax deductible contributions in estimating revenue loss. This frees up some money in one of the old funding sources, and clarifies for this new round of funding that non-profit organizations can submit economic loss based on all sources of revenue, including charitable contributions.

• Increased the maximum grant allowable to $300,000. ACCD had initially set the cap at $50,000 in previous grants, but found that it was not enough to meet the needs of businesses in the most affected sectors, particularly lodging and hospitality. Recently ACCD increased the cap to $150,000, but this provides more room to help important businesses survive. (By way of comparison, New Hampshire established a cap of $350,000 in their CRF grant program.)

• Removed the condition that a business could not have received grants from more than one source of CRF grants. In order to eliminate the confusion for businesses about which grant program they should apply to, this provision makes it possible for a business who received a grant in one program to apply for another grant, provided it is not for the same purpose, that they can still demonstrate economic need and they will not exceed the new cap of $300,000.

• Extends the period in which a business can demonstrate a loss to December 1st, previously it was September 1st, to include the important fall season.

Businesses who were denied funding or whose grant was limited because of the treatment of revenue or some other condition will be able to reapply. For instance, a Chamber of Commerce applied for a grant but much of the revenue loss they showed was in charitable contributions. They received a grant of under $3,000 but their need is much greater. They will now be eligible to reapply.

Stay tuned and remember -- this work is not yet final. From here the bill moves to the Senate. The bill must be approved by the legislature and signed by the Governor by October 1, and all federal CRF funds must be expended by December 30.
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Yesterday, the House gave final approval to H.969, the full FY21 budget. Below youll find a point-by-point overview of the $88 million in recommended additional Economic Recovery Grants — to help businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic — that are contained within this massive 201-page bill. These allocations are from Vermonts final remaining federal CRF (Coronavirus Relief Fund) money.

An important reminder: This work is not yet final! From here the budget moves to the Senate for further consideration prior to final passage and, ultimately, the Governors signature. 

Heres what the House is proposing, and thanks to Rep. Charlie Kimbell (D-Woodstock) of the Commerce Committee for this synopsis.  data-recalc-dims=>> H. 969 alters the eligibility criteria from earlier bills (H. 966 and S. 350). • Requires that grants be made on the basis of need demonstrated by economic loss instead of a formula. The current eligibility requirement is that a business show a 50% decline in revenue in any one month from 2019 to 2020 during the “covered period of March 1 to September 1, and the grant is calculated at 10% of the 2019 revenues. That goes away in this new round of financing. If the business can demonstrate a loss, regardless of its comparison to the previous year, including things like the cancellation of contracts or reservations because of COVID, as long as the business was established before March 1st, they will be eligible. ACCD will establish standards to determine grant amounts. • No requirement that the business have an employee. That means that the following businesses will be eligible now: Sole Proprietors, Partnerships, LLC’s with no employees, etc. • Amended the provision of previous grants that Arts and Cultural Organizations could not include tax deductible contributions in estimating revenue loss. This frees up some money in one of the old funding sources, and clarifies for this new round of funding that non-profit organizations can submit economic loss based on all sources of revenue, including charitable contributions. • Increased the maximum grant allowable to $300,000. ACCD had initially set the cap at $50,000 in previous grants, but found that it was not enough to meet the needs of businesses in the most affected sectors, particularly lodging and hospitality. Recently ACCD increased the cap to $150,000, but this provides more room to help important businesses survive. (By way of comparison, New Hampshire established a cap of $350,000 in their CRF grant program.) • Removed the condition that a business could not have received grants from more than one source of CRF grants. In order to eliminate the confusion for businesses about which grant program they should apply to, this provision makes it possible for a business who received a grant in one program to apply for another grant, provided it is not for the same purpose, that they can still demonstrate economic need and they will not exceed the new cap of $300,000. • Extends the period in which a business can demonstrate a loss to December 1st, previously it was September 1st, to include the important fall season. Businesses who were denied funding or whose grant was limited because of the treatment of revenue or some other condition will be able to reapply. For instance, a Chamber of Commerce applied for a grant but much of the revenue loss they showed was in charitable contributions. They received a grant of under $3,000 but their need is much greater. They will now be eligible to reapply. Stay tuned and remember -- this work is not yet final. From here the bill moves to the Senate. The bill must be approved by the legislature and signed by the Governor by October 1, and all federal CRF funds must be expended by December 30." data-querystring="_nc_cat=108&_nc_sid=8024bb&_nc_ohc=T-H4LfS-DzgAX-9CTpH&_nc_ht=scontent-iad3-1.xx&tp=6&oh=859140b546e88eef570de96ac0b0083f&oe=5F8B2D8E" data-ratio="1200" class="cff-multi-image" />

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I need a copy!

This afternoon the House voted 140-4 to give preliminary approval to the full FY21 budget (H.969). We'll take our final vote tomorrow and then it will move over to the Senate. At $7.1 billion, it also includes more than $223 million in Vermont's remaining Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF).

This is a balanced budget that Appropriations Chair Kitty Toll describes as "steady state." With input from key policy committees (including the committee I serve on, House Education), this bill is consistent with House spending priorities, keeps our reserves full, and did not require cuts to essential services or programs.

[As an aside: In the many committee hearings and other meetings I've attended to discuss this bill, one interesting factoid I learned was that, among all 50 states, Vermont ranks near the very top for per-capita CRF funds received from the federal government. We received $1.2 billion for our 600,000+ residents, apparently boosted by a "small-state" minimum written into the CARES bill.]

Some of the highlights include:

• $23.8 million in "bridge funding" for the Vermont State Colleges

• $3 million for grants to regional Communication Union Districts (CUDs) that are working to extend broadband across Vermont

• The recommended CRF allocations include $32 million for K-12 schools to cover COVID-related costs, $10 million for independent colleges, $2 million to help support adult day providers, and another big $100 million shot to the Agency of Commerce for economic development (business grants, tourism, workforce).

Below I've linked the full 201-page bill for anyone who would like to read or download. Remember, this is not a final product — next stop, the Senate.

https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2020/…
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This afternoon the House voted 140-4 to give preliminary approval to the full FY21 budget (H.969). Well take our final vote tomorrow and then it will move over to the Senate. At $7.1 billion, it also includes more than $223 million in Vermonts remaining Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF).

This is a balanced budget that Appropriations Chair Kitty Toll describes as steady state. With input from key policy committees (including the committee I serve on, House Education), this bill is consistent with House spending priorities, keeps our reserves full, and did not require cuts to essential services or programs. 

[As an aside: In the many committee hearings and other meetings Ive attended to discuss this bill, one interesting factoid I learned was that, among all 50 states, Vermont ranks near the very top for per-capita CRF funds received from the federal government. We  received $1.2 billion for our 600,000+ residents, apparently boosted by a small-state minimum written into the CARES bill.]

Some of the highlights include:

• $23.8 million in bridge funding for the Vermont State Colleges

• $3 million for grants to regional Communication Union Districts (CUDs) that are working to extend broadband across Vermont

• The recommended CRF allocations include $32 million for K-12 schools to cover COVID-related costs, $10 million for independent colleges, $2 million to help support adult day providers, and another big $100 million shot to the Agency of Commerce for economic development (business grants, tourism, workforce).

Below Ive linked the full 201-page bill for anyone who would like to read or download. Remember, this is not a final product — next stop, the Senate.

https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2020/Docs/BILLS/H-0969/H-0969%20As%20Introduced.pdf

Today the House passed the Global Warming Solutions Act (H.688) by a strong 102-45 veto-proof majority. I'm a proud co-sponsor of this bill, which will help Vermont reduce its greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors, from transportation and heating to agriculture and utilities.

By promoting strategic and cost-effective solutions, the GWSA will protect our environment, save Vermonters money, and transition our economy away from its reliance on imported fossil fuels to the clean, renewable energy of the future.

For more than a decade, Vermont has had goals in statute to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. But we’ve failed to achieve those goals. In fact, among Northeastern states Vermont is alone in having higher emissions rates today than in 1990. And several neighboring states — including Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut and New York — have enacted similar laws to cut down on pollution while jump-starting the clean-energy economy.

I spoke on the virtual House "floor" today in support of this bill, and here's what I had to say:

From warmer winters to damaging floods, Vermonters are feeling the impact of climate change. Around the world and here in the Green Mountains, it is a rapidly escalating environmental, economic and public-health crisis that requires an immediate and strategic response.

The longer we delay, the more difficult and costly that response will become. And as the next generation knows, we’ve already waited far too long.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that responding to climate change also offers a tremendous opportunity. By passing the Global Warming Solutions Act and creating a thoughtful, forward-looking Climate Plan, Vermont will:

• Reduce carbon emissions across all sectors, from transportation and heating to agriculture and utilities

• Protect our environment, protect our working lands, and protect public health

• Lower Vermonters’ energy bills and save them money

• And transition our economy away from its reliance on imported fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy sources — building the resilient, sustainable and fast-growing economy of the future.

The Climate Council created by the GWSA brings together cabinet-level members from across state government with a diverse and balanced group of stakeholders. The plan they create must prioritize solutions that are cost-effective and feasible. And it must take into account the energy burden and how any strategy will impact — and be targeted specifically to help — rural and low-income Vermonters.

In other words: This is exciting, optimistic, inclusive and very important work.

In the legislature and across Vermont, we’re all engaged in an urgent conversation about how to recover from COVID-19. How to make Vermont more affordable. How to build an economy that works for all of us, that attracts and retains new residents, that offers our owns children a pathway to a promising future.

By investing in climate resilience and developing a blueprint for a sustainable economy right here at home, the Global Warming Solutions Act is a powerful tool to help accomplish those goals.

From here, H.688 will move to the Governor's desk. Vermonters support climate action. Please reach out to Governor Scott and tell him you support the GWSA.
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Today the House passed the Global Warming Solutions Act (H.688) by a strong 102-45 veto-proof majority. Im a proud co-sponsor of this bill, which will help Vermont reduce its greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors, from transportation and heating to agriculture and utilities. 

By promoting strategic and cost-effective solutions, the GWSA will protect our environment, save Vermonters money, and transition our economy away from its reliance on imported fossil fuels to the clean, renewable energy of the future.

For more than a decade, Vermont has had goals in statute to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. But we’ve failed to achieve those goals. In fact, among Northeastern states Vermont is alone in having higher emissions rates today than in 1990. And several neighboring states — including Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut and New York — have enacted similar laws to cut down on pollution while jump-starting the clean-energy economy.

I spoke on the virtual House floor today in support of this bill, and heres what I had to say:

From warmer winters to damaging floods, Vermonters are feeling the impact of climate change. Around the world and here in the Green Mountains, it is a rapidly escalating environmental, economic and public-health crisis that requires an immediate and strategic response. 

The longer we delay, the more difficult and costly that response will become. And as the next generation knows, we’ve already waited far too long.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that responding to climate change also offers a tremendous opportunity. By passing the Global Warming Solutions Act and creating a thoughtful, forward-looking Climate Plan, Vermont will: 

• Reduce carbon emissions across all sectors, from transportation and heating to agriculture and utilities

• Protect our environment, protect our working lands, and protect public health

• Lower Vermonters’ energy bills and save them money

• And transition our economy away from its reliance on imported fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy sources — building the resilient, sustainable and fast-growing economy of the future.

The Climate Council created by the GWSA brings together cabinet-level members from across state government with a diverse and balanced group of stakeholders. The plan they create must prioritize solutions that are cost-effective and feasible. And it must take into account the energy burden and how any strategy will impact — and be targeted specifically to help — rural and low-income Vermonters.

In other words: This is exciting, optimistic, inclusive and very important work. 

In the legislature and across Vermont, we’re all engaged in an urgent conversation about how to recover from COVID-19. How to make Vermont more affordable. How to build an economy that works for all of us, that attracts and retains new residents, that offers our owns children a pathway to a promising future. 

By investing in climate resilience and developing a blueprint for a sustainable economy right here at home, the Global Warming Solutions Act is a powerful tool to help accomplish those goals. 

From here, H.688 will move to the Governors desk. Vermonters support climate action. Please reach out to Governor Scott and tell him you support the GWSA.

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This is great news. I thought VT was doing a good job due to the incentives for efficient water heaters, heat pumps, energy star (efficient ) and solar panels. How will this bill improve matters? With Energy Efficient Vermont we're moving in the right direction. Well, there's always room for improvement. Good luck!

Thank you for your steadfast commitment to the State of Vermont, and the integrity that I immediately felt from you. Trusting my heart has NEVER led me astray. You are an authentic, beautiful, and giving person. Vermont is extremely lucky to have you as our State Representative. Your commitment and honesty are felt throughout the community. Thank You! 👍🏽

Congratulations. Thank You!!! Wonderful news.

Thank you!!!!

Yard sign?

Thank you, Kathleen!

Totally awesome!!!

This is great. Thank you!

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A long time ago but seems like yesterday: a time when the first day of school, for my own girls, was all about two new matching backpacks and walking far enough ahead of us to feel like big kids. Sending out heartfelt support today for all of the students, parents, teachers, staff and administrators as an unprecedented academic year begins.

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So sad Kathleen ., first time I’m happy Joel is not young again .. miss those years .. just 2 cute your photo .. I remb first day at mems . I worried so .. he came home happy with a heart around his neck with Joel written on it ..

A busy afternoon for the House Education Committee. Rep. Peter Welch joined us to provide an update from Washington, where he's working hard to secure greater flexibility for states on how we can use our federal CARES funding (which must be spent by December 31) and also to secure passage of the $3 trillion HEROES Act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives 100 days ago and is now mired in the Senate. This second federal relief bill would bring an additional $3 billion in COVID aid to Vermont, with fewer strings attached. Go, Peter!

Speaking of CARES money: Before we adjourned in June, the legislature directed $50 million in CARES funds to Vermont's preK - 12 schools to cover eligible COVID costs — like retooling for remote instruction last spring, delivering meals, and safely reopening this fall. According to the Joint Fiscal Office estimate, costs will exceed that amount and our schools will need an additional $32 million of our federal CARES money to cover these important and necessary expenditures. Anticipating that scenario, the legislature had set aside up to $100 million to cover.

This conversation will now play out in the Appropriations Committee, while legislators iron out differences between Governor Scott's recommended CARES allocations and recommendations arriving from policy committees, like House Education. Before we adjourn in a few weeks' time, we will pass a full budget for FY21 and allocate all remaining CARES dollars. At this link, you can see the doc that gives a rundown on the House Education recommendation to Approps:

https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2020/…
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A busy afternoon for the House Education Committee. Rep. Peter Welch joined us to provide an update from Washington, where hes working hard to secure greater flexibility for states on how we can use our federal CARES funding (which must be spent by December 31) and also to secure passage of the $3 trillion HEROES Act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives 100 days ago and is now mired in the Senate. This second federal relief bill would bring an additional $3 billion in COVID aid to Vermont, with fewer strings attached. Go, Peter!

Speaking of CARES money: Before we adjourned in June, the legislature directed $50 million in CARES funds to Vermonts preK - 12 schools to cover eligible COVID costs — like retooling for remote instruction last spring, delivering meals, and safely reopening this fall. According to the Joint Fiscal Office estimate, costs will exceed that amount and our schools will need an additional $32 million of our federal CARES money to cover these important and necessary expenditures. Anticipating that scenario, the legislature had set aside up to $100 million to cover.

This conversation will now play out in the Appropriations Committee, while legislators iron out differences between Governor Scotts recommended CARES allocations and recommendations arriving from policy committees, like House Education. Before we adjourn in a few weeks time, we will pass a full budget for FY21 and allocate all remaining CARES dollars. At this link, you can see the doc that gives a rundown on the House Education recommendation to Approps:

https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2020/WorkGroups/House%20Education/COVID-19/W~Mark%20Perrault~Recommended%20CRF%20Appropriations%20for%20Prekindergarten-Grade%2012%20Education~9-2-2020.pdf

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Am I looking up at Rep. Conlon?

The pace of the legislative session has been intense, so I have a few posts to catch up on.

First: Today the House passed S.337 by a wide margin of 107-19. This bill establishes a pilot program that gives Efficiency Vermont the flexibility to redirect up to $2 million of its existing revenues toward programs that will help Vermonters save money in the transportation and "thermal" (ie, heating a building) sectors.

By way of background, Efficiency Vermont was established in 1999 by the legislature for the purpose of helping consumers reduce their electricity consumption. Its budget is funded by an energy efficiency charge that consumer pay on their electric bills, at a rate set by the Public Utility Commission. Through 2018, investments made by Efficiency Vermont have generated $2.4 billion in energy savings for Vermonters, using $658 million in ratepayer funds -- an ROI of 4:1, according to the floor report by Rep. Michael Yantachka. And at the same time, our electric rates are 10 percent lower than average New England electric rates, thanks in part to this work.

While the original focus of Efficiency Vermont was solely to reduce electricity usage, the state's official energy policy has evolved to include reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Right now, transportation and heating account for 56 and 34 percent of Vermont's greenhouse gas emissions, respectively. As Rep. Yantachka said, this is where S.337 comes in. For no additional cost and no additional charge to consumers — simply redirecting a portion of current annual revenues — Efficiency Vermont can try new programs that can help Vermonters make the switch to cleaner, more sustainable ways to get around and heat their homes. This is a good bill, which is why it won such broad tripartisan support on the floor.
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The pace of the legislative session has been intense, so I have a few posts to catch up on. 

First: Today the House passed S.337 by a wide margin of 107-19. This bill establishes a pilot program that gives Efficiency Vermont the flexibility to redirect up to $2 million of its existing revenues toward programs that will help Vermonters save money in the transportation and thermal (ie, heating a building) sectors.

By way of background, Efficiency Vermont was established in 1999 by the legislature for the purpose of helping consumers reduce their electricity consumption. Its budget is funded by an energy efficiency charge that consumer pay on their electric bills, at a rate set by the Public Utility Commission. Through 2018, investments made by Efficiency Vermont have generated $2.4 billion in energy savings for Vermonters, using $658 million in ratepayer funds -- an ROI of 4:1, according to the floor report by Rep. Michael Yantachka. And at the same time, our electric rates are 10 percent lower than average New England electric rates, thanks in part to this work. 

While the original focus of Efficiency Vermont was solely to reduce electricity usage, the states official energy policy has evolved to include reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Right now, transportation and heating account for 56 and 34 percent of Vermonts greenhouse gas emissions, respectively. As Rep. Yantachka said, this is where S.337 comes in. For no additional cost and no additional charge to consumers — simply redirecting a portion of current annual revenues — Efficiency Vermont can try new programs that can help Vermonters make the switch to cleaner, more sustainable ways to get around and heat their homes. This is a good bill, which is why it won such broad tripartisan support on the floor.

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Great to hear on S.337! We need more incentives in thermal and trans categories

Year round now? When you going to pass the budget and go home ? Rumors of bullet voting .. Bob causing trouble again .. # Rico..any thoughts on impeaching Erika and Chad yet? I got a bill right here waiting for you ? 😆.. # rico .

Though its a bit different from the live, in-person event wed probably all prefer, Andrew McKeever of GNAT TV has organized and will moderate a forum for the Bennington-4 House of Reps candidates on September 28: me, my Democratic running mate Seth Bongartz, and Rep. Cynthia Browning. Well tape it on Zoom, and the link will be posted on the GNAT website just a few days later. Thats good timing, since the special COVID-19 legislative session is set to adjourn in late September — we can talk about bills weve passed, and how we voted — and ballots will start to mail from the Secretary of States office on September 21. Thanks to GNAT for organizing this forum! Looking forward to discussing the important issues facing our communities.
Last night I had fun flipping through a scrapbook of my high-school senior year. (Remember scrapbooks?) I was trying to find this old photo from my tennis-team days to illustrate this weeks column for the Manchester Journal. From the national to the local level, the 2020 campaign has me thinking a lot about sportsmanship, integrity, respect, and how we talk to each other about politics. Read it at the link below.

https://www.manchesterjournal.com/stories/james-how-we-talk-matters-when-we-talk-politics,612472?

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Great pic! I played tennis in high school and college too! We’ll have to play sometime. Great article!

Great old school pic!

LOVE this picture! I forgot you were on the tennis team. Go Tigers, 🐯and good luck in November!! Your beautiful state needs you!

Awesome, love the racket!

Great picture Kathleen! Brings back memories! Good luck in November!

A Wilson Kramer?

Of course it is! Still play?

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The House just passed H.967, a bill that will provide more flexibility to small, home-based childcare providers. 

Currently, these providers cant offer more than four hours per week to school-aged children when school is in session. This bill lifts those restrictions, allowing in-home providers to offer full-time care on days when schools have scheduled remote instruction. This gives students a safe place to go, so their parents can work!

Read the bill at the link below:
https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2020/Docs/BILLS/H-0967/H-0967%20As%20Introduced.pdf
Yesterday, House Speaker Mitzi Johnson held a press conference with committee chairs Reps. Kitty Toll (Appropriations), Mike Marcotte (Commerce and Economic Development), Sarah Copeland-Hanzas (Government Operations) and Ann Pugh (Human Services) to talk about the FY21 budget and other priority bills well be considering during the upcoming special session. You can watch it at the link below:

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=771820890283837

By a vote of 137-2, the House has iust extended the legislative state of emergency to September 30. This will allow us to continue to work and vote remotely during the upcoming special session. All committee meetings and all-House floor sessions are broadcast live — and available to view anytime — on YouTube. Committee and floor schedules and links are posted and continually updated on the General Assembly website at the link below.

We start our floor sessions with a devotional, a tradition that I love. I was inspired by today's choice, offered by my dear friend Marybeth Redmond. VT State Rep. (D-Essex). The work we do matters, and I try to bring my best self to this work every day.

For One Who Holds Power
John O'Donohue

May the gift of leadership awaken in you as a vocation,
Keep you mindful of the providence that calls you to serve.
As high over the mountains the eagle spreads its wings,
May your perspective be larger than the view from the foothills.

When the way is flat and dull in times of gray endurance,
May your imagination continue to evoke horizons.
When thirst burns in times of drought,
May you be blessed to find the wells.
May you have the wisdom to read time clearly
And know when the seed of change will flourish.

In your heart may there be a sanctuary
For the stillness where clarity is born.
May your work be infused with passion and creativity
And have the wisdom to balance compassion and challenge.

May your soul find the graciousness
To rise above the fester of small mediocrities.
May your power never become a shell
Wherein your heart would silently atrophy.
May you welcome your own vulnerability
As the ground where healing and truth join.

May integrity of soul be your first ideal.
The source that will guide and bless your work.
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By a vote of 137-2, the House has iust extended the legislative state of emergency to September 30. This will allow us to continue to work and vote remotely during the upcoming special session. All committee meetings and all-House floor sessions are broadcast live — and available to view anytime — on YouTube. Committee and floor schedules and links are posted and continually updated on the General Assembly website at the link below. 

We start our floor sessions with a devotional, a tradition that I love. I was inspired by todays choice, offered by my dear friend Marybeth Redmond. VT State Rep. (D-Essex). The work we do matters, and I try to bring my best self to this work every day. 

For One Who Holds Power
John ODonohue

May the gift of leadership awaken in you as a vocation,
Keep you mindful of the providence that calls you to serve.
As high over the mountains the eagle spreads its wings,
May your perspective be larger than the view from the foothills.

When the way is flat and dull in times of gray endurance,
May your imagination continue to evoke horizons.
When thirst burns in times of drought,
May you be blessed to find the wells.
May you have the wisdom to read time clearly
And know when the seed of change will flourish.

In your heart may there be a sanctuary
For the stillness where clarity is born.
May your work be infused with passion and creativity
And have the wisdom to balance compassion and challenge.

May your soul find the graciousness
To rise above the fester of small mediocrities.
May your power never become a shell
Wherein your heart would silently atrophy.
May you welcome your own vulnerability
As the ground where healing and truth join.

May integrity of soul be your first ideal.
The source that will guide and bless your work.

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I would like to set up a meeting with you for either Thursday or Friday could do Wednesdays in day

The Vermont General Assembly will reconvene today for a special session. For the next several weeks, well be working hard to pass the full FY21 budget (before we recessed in late June, we passed a short-term budget that covered only the first quarter of the fiscal year, June through September). Well also be assessing and allocating the remaining federal CARES funds — getting those final emergency COVID-19 dollars out to Vermonters. 

Since well be in session and committees are meeting, well also be moving forward a collection of bills that are already poised for passage as this strange, pandemic-altered 2020-2021 biennium draws to a close. Ill be posting frequent updates on this page, so stay tuned.

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Thank you. We need this!

Lets us hope that the cares package is a top priority and it includes funding for sole proprietors.