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From Carl Demrow

Dear neighbors and friends,

It has been a little while!  It was nice to see many of you at town meeting in Corinth, Washington, and Orange back on March 5th.  Vershire has postponed its town meeting to April 7th at 1:00 PM.

Friday the 22nd was the last day of crossover, when bills must be passed out of their committee of origin in either the House or Senate in order to be considered in the other body before the end of the session.  Last week was policy crossover, and the 22nd was money crossover.  The House Committee on Appropriations worked late into the night on Thursday to put their finishing touches to the budget.  The crossover weeks, and the week following, are among the busiest of the legislative year.

For a flavor of the House’s work, in the past two weeks, here are some of the bills we’ve passed: (each bill’s number is linked to the bill’s page on the legislature’s website)

S. 18, a bill prohibiting the sales of flavored e-liquids and tobacco
H. 121  a bill enhancing consumer privacy (with en emphasis on digital platforms)
H. 622 a bill relating to emergency medical services
H. 706 a bill banning the use of neonicotinoid pesticides
H, 289 the renewable energy standard
H. 614 a bill on land improvement fraud and timber trespass 
H. 868 the fiscal year 2025 transportation program 
H. 741 health insurance for colorectal cancer screening
H. 534 Retail theft.
H. 645 The expansion of approaches to restorative justice
H. 856 Medical leave for a serious injury
and finally
H. 664 designating a state mushroom

Next week will see house floor action on the following bills among numerous others along with the big bill or budget bill and the capital budget bill which, as of this, writing have not yet been numbered:

H. 630 Boards of cooperative education services 
H. 687 Community resilience and biodiversity protection through land use
H. 721 Expanding access to Medicaid and Dr. Dynosaur
H. 829 Creating permanent upstream eviction protections and enhancing housing stability 
H. 873 Financing the testing for and remediation of PCBs in schools
H. 880 Increasing access to the judicial system

The numbers give you a sense of how many house bills have been introduced this biennium…. we are now at 881 bills in the house.  With crossover behind us, if they haven’t made it out of the committee they live in, they are likely dead. So, we can have a moment of silence for my bill, H. 701, which would have expanded eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit, a powerful anti-poverty bill that puts money back into the pockets of hardworking families with children.  RIP, H. 701!

One of next week’s bills will include a new tax bracket for those who make over a half million dollars a year.  Currently the highest tax bracket is 8.75 % for those making just under $300,000 and up…….the bill under consideration next week will create a new bracket of 11.75% on those making $500,000 and up.  I am curious to hear what you think about increasing the rate on those with much higher incomes.  

Next week’s update will be focused on the budget, revenue bills, and an update on statewide education spending.

I’ll be in Vershire at Vershare’s  Church-Orr House from 10 to noon on Saturday March 30 for my monthly office hours.  Stop by with your questions, comments, or concerns.  I’ll bring some fresh cinnamon rolls and Justin Will makes excellent coffee—if you haven’t been to his Saturday morning coffee house.

I am also planning to be at the Rivendell Interstate School District informational meeting on Tuesday, April 9, and the Echo Valley School District informational meeting on Wednesday April 10.

Finally, please feel free to forward or share this update with anyone you think may be interested.  Thanks for reading and have a great snowy weekend!