By Senator Alison Clarkson
It’s Town Meeting week and we are about half way through Vermont’s Legislative Session. We’ve pressed hard to vote out all the priority bills from our Committees in order to meet our “cross over” deadline (that point in the Session when the bills which we hope will make it into law need to “cross over” from the House to the Senate and vice versa).
But before I update you on some of those bills – I just want to acknowledge how extraordinary last week was in the Senate. We debated and passed three major ways to improve firearm safety in Vermont. I am very proud of the civil discourse which took place on the Senate Floor. For all that we may disagree on matters of great importance to us – we really are a model of civil democracy. I’ve long advocated for common sense firearm safety measures but the Legislature has, until now, moved only modestly to reduce gun violence. In the wake of the near miss in Fair Haven, we’ve all woken up to what might happen in Vermont – a state we all assume is immune to gun violence. But it is not.
I am proud of the work the Senate passed: 1) the Extreme Risk Prevention Order bill – which aims to restrict firearm possession by people who pose an extreme threat to themselves or their community; 2) the Universal Background Check bill which aims to close the private sales loophole and have all gun sales in Vermont subject to a background check; and 3) Firearms in Vermont will now only be sold to people over 21 years of age.
In the Senate I serve on two committees – Senate Economic Development in the morning and Senate Government Operations in the afternoon. The Senate Economic Development Committee (SED) has passed a number of bills we consider important additions to improving our economy. We have supported bills which: raise the Minimum Wage to $15 over 6 years (S.40), level the playing field for Short-Term Rentals (Airbnb, HomeAway,etc) (S.204) create incentives to attract Remote Workers to Vermont (S.94), support the ‘Right to Repair’(S.180), eliminate fees to place or remove a credit freeze (S.207), create Financial Technology opportunities for Vermont’s 21st century economy (S.269), protect our emergency responders from employer retaliation (S.168), improve our small business portal in Vermont (S.85), and clarify lease arrangements for credit card terminals (S.206). If you are interested, I encourage you to look up these bills, as passed, on our Committee webpage which you can access on the Legislative website: legislature.vermont.gov
Alison Clarkson can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at the Statehouse (Tues-Fri) 828-2228 or at home (Sat-Mon) 457-4627.