County-wide hearings with Legislative Leadership

With the windfall of funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, Vermonters have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make investments that will shape the future of our state. The leaders of the Vermont House and Senate want to hear YOUR priorities as they decide exactly how to spend these funds. That’s why we’re hitting the phones and your email inboxes with requests for you to attend your County-wide meeting hosted by House Speaker Jill Krowinski and Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint.

These events represent a unique opportunity to connect with legislative leadership to make your voices heard! Find a list of upcoming County-wide events and registration links below:

They have already hosted three of these events, covering Addison, Windsor, and Windham Counties. If you were able to join – thank you! If not, don’t worry – they are collecting responses through a live survey at this link where you can share your experiences and priorities for Vermont.

Thanks to federal stimulus funds, a surge in state revenues, and more potential federal funds on the way, the Vermont Legislature is positioned to make historic investments in Vermont’s pandemic recovery, address critical infrastructure needs, support Vermonters’ health and well-being, and strengthen Vermont’s communities, businesses, environment, and climate. 

This opportunity must be informed by the voices of Vermonters and the experiences of their day-to-day lives. Throughout the fall, House Speaker Krowinski and Senate Pro Tem Balint will be listening to Vermonters across the state on the issues they care about, what they’re struggling with, and what they want the future to look like. These “Investing in Vermont’s Future: Community Conversations” will be used to inform policy and budgetary work when the Legislature reconvenes in January.

During the conversation we hope that you’ll consider raising some of the following priorities: 

  • Addressing the Climate Crisis. Every day it seems there’s more news about devastating fires, floods, and storms made worse by global warming. This crisis is happening now and it’s hurting Vermonters. We must invest in cutting carbon pollution and advancing equity and climate justice a level commensurate with the crisis – our commitments so far are not nearly enough. What’s more, investments in electrification of Vermont’s heating and transportation sectors, efficiency, and renewables will create thousands of jobs, and save Vermonters money. 
  • Cutting Waste and Promoting Recycling. Earlier this year, the Vermont House approved legislation to modernize the Bottle Bill and address the mounting problem of plastic waste and pollution. The bill (H.175) would bring Vermont’s bottle redemption system up to date by expanding it to include more beverage containers such as water bottles, hard cider, wine, and sports drinks. Now it’s up to the Senate to get onboard with this pro-recycling legislation and modernize the Bottle Bill. 
  • Strengthening our Democracy. Corporations are not people. VPIRG strongly supports legislation passed by the Senate (S.51) that would ban campaign contributions by corporations. Now the House needs to act. Both chambers can also give a boost to our democracy by passing legislation to establish ranked choice voting for federal offices and the next presidential primary in Vermont. 
  • Providing Affordable Health Care. Many Vermonters are finding it increasingly difficult to find and afford the health care services they need. The problem is complicated, costly and seemingly out of control. We need solutions that cuts costs, increase transparency, and provide timely care to those who need it.    

These are just a few of the key issues we’re focusing on now, and I’m sure you have other important ideas to share too. There are lots of other opportunities to make your voice heard on important issues facing the state – if you haven’t already, check out these events organized by the Vermont Climate Council!  

This type of joint outreach and local engagement by the leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives is extremely rare in other states. This is a terrific opportunity to meet with two of the most influential officeholders in Montpelier and urge them to take actions that benefit the public interest. If you are unable to attend, please fill out the survey at this link to make your voice heard.