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Yesterday the House and Senate convened in Montpelier for an all-day legislative briefing. In the morning, we heard updates on the statewide program to clean up our lakes and rivers, the multi-state Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI), and other transportation-related programs to reduce carbon pollution and fossil-fuel use. In the afternoon, state economist Thomas Kavet presented an economic and revenue review and chief fiscal officer Stephen Klein gave an update on the FY20 budget. 

These meetings were open to the public, and the link below leads to all of the handouts, so you can follow along. >>>

https://ljfo.vermont.gov/publications/legislative-briefing/legislative-briefing-december-2019
Three dozen members of the VT Climate Caucus met in Montpelier yesterday -- getting ready for the upcoming 2020 session.
Packed house at MEMS last night for the December meeting of the Taconic and Green board. Superintendent Jackie Wilson presented several PreK options for the board to consider, and local legislators were invited to give brief pre-session reports and answer questions. GNAT TV taped the meeting and I’ll post the link when available. 

With Sen. Brian Campion, VT State Senator Dick McCormack, Rep. Kelly MacLaury Pajala and Rep. @Cynthia Browning.
Reminder: Please take the 2020 Vermont Issues Survey. As the session approaches, we want to know where you stand. Survey closes Friday, November 22.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfBDMCGz2N1sv4AywDz1_-JfZtfwe96CAjg2--HJNgt7mShBw/viewform

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This is so great!

What a great day, Kathleen! Hooray for B&B's represetatives! and of course, you!

As Governor Scott works to finalize his 2020 budget proposal, Vermonters have a chance to weigh in. See links in article.

https://vtdigger.org/press_release/commissioner-of-finance-management-adam-greshin-announces-a-public-budget-forum-to-receive-comments-on-fy2021-state-budget-development/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=SocialWarfare&fbclid=IwAR2KwZhvSSa-3INNZDvcTd9l1wdeFAUFMlL4HzkYrtDcWRnsJ85weK-n-qA
Sharing this important reminder from Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC):

Education can be expensive, but there’s no reason to make it more costly just because you don’t fill out the FAFSA. And yet, 43% of high school seniors skipped this all-important step, missing out in over $4 million in federal Pell grants. That works out, on average, to $3,800 a year for eligible students. Add in the Vermont State Grant, which averages another $2,000.
 
Did you know that Vermonters with low to modest incomes can attend CCV tuition free – if they fill out the FAFSA and Vermont State Grant?
 
The FAFSA only takes 30 minutes to complete. Watch our FAFSA walk-through to see how easy it is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFuKc59TrgI&feature=youtu.be

For those who missed the forum last night, here's a brief overview of the banner bills or key ideas the VT Climate Caucus will be working to advance this session.

1. ACCOUNTABILITY
Vermont has statutory climate goals, aspirational targets. But we are not only falling short of these targets, we're moving backwards -- carbon emissions have risen 16 percent over 1990 levels in Vermont, while levels are dropping in neighboring states and Quebec. The Global Warming Solutions Act would set binding goals and then direct the Agency of Natural Resources to work across state government -- all agencies -- to develop a strategy to hit these targets. Massachusetts passed a GWSA almost a decade ago and it's working well there; NY and Maine just passed their versions this past spring.

2. TRANSPORTATION
Transportation and heating are by far the biggest contributors to carbon pollution in Vermont, not surprising since we're a rural, cold-weather state. We strongly support Vermont joining the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI), a regional 12-state (plus DC) initiative to rein in emissions from cars and trucks through a cap-and-trade plan. VT's revenues from TCI could be between $10-$20 million per year, which we'd invest in clean-transportation initiatives -- like grants and loans to help low- and moderate-income residents buy EVs. If we opt out of this regional partnership, we'll miss out on those revenues. Period.

3. BUILDING EFFICIENCY
Workforce development! For starters, offering training and licensure to front-line workers (ie, realtors, contractors) in building science, energy efficiency and more -- so that when buying or building a house, for example, you can make better decisions that save you money in the long run.

4. CLEAN AND RENEWABLE ENERGY
Right now, Vermonters spend about $2 billion in importing fossil fuels every year. And of all the dollars spent on fossil fuels, 78 percent leaves the state. We'll be looking for ways to support in-state renewable energy -- removing red tape and barriers and streamlining the incentives for Vermonters to make these choices. It would also be great if Efficiency Vermont -- which does an amazing job of outreach to educate and support Vermonters in reducing their electric bills and weatherizing their homes β€” were able to provide similar support in helping folks ditch the gas-powered cars and move to clean EVS. If not Efficiency Vermont, then an organization with a similar mission.

So these are the general ideas -- in most cases, specific legislation is not yet drafted. And overall, we're working within a set of principles that recognizes that:

1. Vermont will benefit tremendously from a transition to the low-carbon economy of the future -- which will spur jobs, growth and innovation and, I believe, attract working families and young people to stick around. The upcoming generation of voters is demanding action on climate change, and they'll be attracted to states and regions that are leading the way. If we lag, we'll be left behind.

2. And as we make this transition, it's absolutely critical that the costs and benefits be fairly handled, in direction proportion to every Vermonter's ability to pay. This is a cold-weather, rural state in which folks have to heat their homes and drive, often long distances to get to work. Any bill that doesn't profoundly understand this reality -- and work to find creative, forward-looking solutions within that context -- isn't the right answer.

Craig Powers, there you go! πŸ™‚ Hope this starts to answer your question.

With thanks to caucus chair Sarah Copeland Hanzas and her outstanding notes. Our "road show" events are happening all over the state and it's not too late to attend. Here's the latest schedule at the link below:

https://vnrc.org/news-stories/…
... See MoreSee Less

For those who missed the forum last night, heres a brief overview of the banner bills or key ideas the VT Climate Caucus will be working to advance this session. 

1. ACCOUNTABILITY
Vermont has statutory climate goals, aspirational targets. But we are not only falling short of these targets, were moving backwards -- carbon emissions have risen 16 percent over 1990 levels in Vermont, while levels are dropping in neighboring states and Quebec. The Global Warming Solutions Act would set binding goals and then direct the Agency of Natural Resources to work across state government -- all agencies -- to develop a strategy to hit these targets. Massachusetts passed a GWSA almost a decade ago and its working well there; NY and Maine just passed their versions this past spring.

2. TRANSPORTATION
Transportation and heating are by far the biggest contributors to carbon pollution in Vermont, not surprising since were a rural, cold-weather state. We strongly support Vermont joining the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI), a regional 12-state (plus DC) initiative to rein in emissions from cars and trucks through a cap-and-trade plan. VTs revenues from TCI could be between $10-$20 million per year, which wed invest in clean-transportation initiatives -- like grants and loans to help low- and moderate-income residents buy EVs. If we opt out of this regional partnership, well miss out on those revenues. Period.

3. BUILDING EFFICIENCY
Workforce development! For starters, offering training and licensure to front-line workers (ie, realtors, contractors) in building science, energy efficiency and more -- so that when buying or building a house, for example, you can make better decisions that save you money in the long run.

4. CLEAN AND RENEWABLE ENERGY
Right now, Vermonters spend about $2 billion in importing fossil fuels every year. And of all the dollars spent on fossil fuels, 78 percent leaves the state. Well be looking for ways to support in-state renewable energy -- removing red tape and barriers and streamlining the incentives for Vermonters to make these choices. It would also be great if Efficiency Vermont -- which does an amazing job of outreach to educate and support Vermonters in reducing their electric bills and weatherizing their homes β€” were able to provide similar support in helping folks ditch the gas-powered cars and move to clean EVS. If not Efficiency Vermont, then an organization with a similar mission.

So these are the general ideas -- in most cases, specific legislation is not yet drafted. And overall, were working within a set of principles that recognizes that:

1. Vermont will benefit tremendously from a transition to the low-carbon economy of the future -- which will spur jobs, growth and innovation and, I believe, attract working families and young people to stick around. The upcoming generation of voters is demanding action on climate change, and theyll be attracted to states and regions that are leading the way. If we lag, well be left behind.

2. And as we make this transition, its absolutely critical that the costs and benefits be fairly handled, in direction proportion to every Vermonters ability to pay. This is a cold-weather, rural state in which folks have to heat their homes and drive, often long distances to get to work. Any bill that doesnt profoundly understand this reality -- and work to find creative, forward-looking solutions within that context -- isnt the right answer.

Craig Powers, there you go! :) Hope this starts to answer your question.

With thanks to caucus chair Sarah Copeland Hanzas and her outstanding notes. Our road show events are happening all over the state and its not too late to attend. Heres the latest schedule at the link below: 

https://vnrc.org/news-stories/join-us-climate-solutions-caucus-roadshow/?emci=b4cc38a8-f506-ea11-828b-2818784d6d68&emdi=e258bf66-fd06-ea11-828b-2818784d6d68&ceid=7352825
Excellent forum last night to talk about climate action and the banner bills proposed for 2020 by the VT Climate Caucus. At one point I counted almost 70 folks in the room! Took copious notes on the comments, questions and ideas from a very engaged crowd. Thanks to caucus chair Sarah Copeland Hanzas for being the lead presenter, to co-hosts Rep. David Durfee and Sen. Brian Campion, and to Federated Church East Arlington for the space and homemade pumpkin bread! Email me at KJames@leg.state.vt.us to join the Climate Solutions Caucus mailing list, and read the article below for a hopeful glimpse into a low-carbon world.

https://www.fastcompany.com/90427019/see-how-good-the-world-could-be-in-2040-if-we-act-on-climate-solutions-now?fbclid=IwAR2U9XA83H65mnzflboV1R-G1rGHVFR3_vCNXUXZ3SpHpH7ic6pRfXIfI0kImage attachmentImage attachment

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Where can one read about all the VT Climate Caucus's proposals? I have been unable to attend any of the meetings?