By Sen. Dick McCormack
In this bitter time in Washington, Vermont is a light of hope simply because we get along with one another. Democrats and Progressives are a united team. Our Republican friends are true to their ideals, but they are not obstructionists. We negotiate agreements that all sides can live with. Both the governor and the Legislature understand that, having elected a divided government, Vermonters have indicated that they see value in our divergent understandings and expect us to work through our differences.
As part of the Senate Democratic Caucus, I’m happy to support our shared priorities: paid family leave, raising the minimum wage, clean water, addressing the shortage of mental health facilities. Drug addiction, affordability, and less burdensome taxes remain persistent challenges. Access to affordable health care is unfinished business. And global warming remains the overarching existential issue of our time. In that regard, serving on the executive committee of the Climate Solutions Caucus is probably the most important work I do as a Legislator.
In addition to this shared agenda, legislators offer bills on many other issues. I’m either sponsoring or co-sponsoring bills to do the following: create a rebuttable presumption of joint child custody after divorce, allow expedited eviction of tenants who vandalize rental properties, allow qualified psychologists to prescribe medications, create a moratorium on Act 46-driven actions pending resolution of related lawsuits, prohibit use of glyphosate herbicide, and require a study of civics as a condition for high school graduation.
My morning committee is Health and Welfare, which deals with all medical, mental health, health access and benefits issues. My afternoon committee is Appropriations. We’re considering the Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Adjustment Bill. Such a bill is considered mid-way through every fiscal year to true up overestimates and underestimates of revenues and expenses and shift resources where needed. As with the FY 2020 budget, the administration proposal is the template, but the Legislature does its own calculations.
Dick McCormack is a senator for Windsor County.