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Note: Blog posts entitled "Legislative Report" have been published in The Charlotte News, and those entitled "The Word in the House" have been published in The Citizen.

I'm with Hillary! Thank you, Bernie Sanders!

I hope my #BernieOrBust friends tuned into the Republican convention last week and are comparing it to the Democratic convention this week. There are 4 roads into the future of America from here. One is to continue to insist that Bernie is the only candidate that deserves your vote. This is a dead end, because such idealism, while feeling good personally, is not based in the real world. 
Another is to vote for a fringe candidate like Jill Stein. Another dead end because it has no hope of success. I voted for John Anderson in 1980 because I felt Jimmy Carter let us down. Anderson got 7% of the vote and Ronald Reagan became President. I learned my lesson then. 
 A third road is to vote for con-man, charlatan Donald Trump. If you supported Bernie for his policies, then voting for Trump is equivalent to deliberately driving off a cliff! 
 The fourth and best road is to elect Hillary Clinton President because she will fight for the same goals as Bernie. She is our only hope of accomplishing what Bernie fought for - a living wage, a fair tax system that requires the wealthiest people to pay their fair share, a health care system that is a human right, a program to effectively address climate change, respect for all people regardless of color, gender, sexual orientation, religion or heritage, protecting Social Security, access to higher education without overwhelming debt, reversing the Citizens United decision, reasonable gun safety regulations, and security without forfeiting our constitutional rights. 
Bernie paid a "yuge" role in making sure these issues will be priorities in a Clinton administration.  His unprecedented success in mobilizing popular support for the issues focused all Democrats on what is immensely important in this year's election. We owe him an enormous debt and our thanks for all of his past service, a great campaign, and the work he will continue to do for us in the Senate.

House Speaker and Lieutenant Governor Candidate Shap Smith Interview.

The Chittenden County Democrats Show conducted the third of the Lieutenant Governor candidate interviews with House Speaker Shap Smith in July.  The show is hosted monthly by Charlotte State Representative Mike Yantachka and Chittenden County Democratic Treasurer Bob Hooper.  Smith discussed his role as Speaker of the House and the goals he would pursue as Lt. Governor if elected. Smith served 14 years in the Vermont House of Representatives and as Speaker for the last 8 years. The interview can be seen here.

The other two Democratic candidates for Lt. Governor, Rep. Kesha Ram and Sen. David Zuckerman, were interviewed earlier in the year. The interview with Ram can be seen at http://www.mikeyantachka.com/2016/03/as-we-did-with-democratic-candidates.html, and the interview with Zuckerman can be seen at http://www.mikeyantachka.com/2016/06/lt-gov-candidate-david-zuckerman.html.

Building Homes Together Seeks More Affordable Housing

Brenda Torpy, chief executive officer of Champlain Housing Trust, answers questions from reporters at Monday’s announcement.  - Photo by Alicia Freese/Seven Days

A group of housing advocates, elected officials, developers and other local leaders are banding together to get 3,500 homes built in Chittenden County over the next five years.
[Read more]

Lt. Gov. Candidate David Zuckerman Appears on the Chittenden County Democrats Show

Chittenden County Senator David Zuckerman (P/D) is running in the Democratic Primary for Lt. Governor.  Zuckerman was recently interviewed on the June 6, 20116, Chittenden County Democrats Show by host Bob Hooper. The show is running a series on the Democratic Lt. Governor's race and featured Rep.. Kesha Ram in March and will feature Speaker of the House Shap Smith in July. Senator Zuckerman talked about his experience in the House and the Senate during his political career as well as his farming business and his goals as Lt. Governor.  The interview can be seen here.

Legislative Report 6/11/2016 - The Veto-Override Session

When the Legislature adjourns at the end of the session it sets a date for a return, if needed, to consider any vetoes the Governor might make. The decision to consider overriding a veto is at the Legislature’s discretion. This year Governor Shumlin vetoed two bills, H.518, which added 4 members to the Clean Water Fund Board, and S.230, which provided a process for towns to obtain “substantial deference” for siting energy projects and tasked the Public Service Board to develop sound standards for large wind projects and use emergency rule making to set temporary standards in the interim. The governor had four reasons for vetoing S.230, based in part on legal opinions from the PSB and his staff regarding several parts of the bill:

  • Emergency rule making is only used when there is imminent threat to public health or safety. The original intent of the language was to create an expedited rule making process, but it was never intended as a statement regarding a threat to public health or safety.
  • The criteria specified for the temporary sound standards stated that they should be no higher than the lowest level in any existing Certificate of Public Good. We believed the Lowell standard of 30dba indoors and 45 dba outdoors to be the lowest level. However, a backyard 100 kw turbine in Vergennes has a sound level limit in its CPG that no larger turbine could ever meet, effectively creating a moratorium on all wind projects in Vermont.
  • The CPG for each renewable energy project would need to be filed with the municipal clerk as part of the deed to the property. This would require municipalities as well as thousands of property owners with small solar to incur an unnecessary expense.
  • Finally, $300,000 had originally been in the bill to be used to assist Regional Planning Commissions and towns to implement the planning process to get their "substantial deference" by the PSB for energy projects. This section was inadvertently left out of the final bill during negotiations between the House and Senate on the last day of the session.
Senator Chris Bray, Chair of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, quickly drafted a substitute bill that addressed the Governor’s objections.  This bill, S.260, kept the expedited rule-making process but disconnected it from the “emergency” standard. It also created two classes for wind projects - one below 500kw and one above - and made the “no higher than” requirement based on the lowest level set for each class. Third, it limited the requirement for recording the CPG with the deed to systems greater than 15 kw.  Finally, it restored the missing $300,000 for energy planning purposes. The Senate quickly passed S.260 on a bipartisan vote of 27 to 2. After a very long day and many failed attempts to suspend rules and take action, the bill passed on a voice vote in the House just after 9 PM.
I can be reached by phone (802-233-5238) or by email (myantachka.dfa@gmail.com).
Have a great summer!