Legislative Report 6/2/2012 - Transitioning from Legislating to Campaigning

The 2012 legislative session wrapped up on Saturday, May 5th, after two weeks of intense negotiations and several long days that ran late into the evenings.  It felt good to close the session feeling that a lot of good had been accomplished and to look forward to some time to catch up on everything I had been putting off.  I took time to visit my son and daughter and their families in Connecticut, and also attended my daughter Jackie’s graduation from Syracuse University.

Recently Governor Shumlin signed two bills into law in which I had a personal role.  One was H.699, an act relating to scrap metal processors which I co-sponsored.  This bill requires scrap metal dealers to require a photo ID of anyone bringing in scrap metal for cash and to keep a permanent ledger with the ID, vehicle license number and description of the items, and to notify police within 24 hours if the seller cannot produce such identification.  I had introduced another bill, H.306, that put the same kind of requirements on second-hand coin and jewelry dealers, and that bill’s provisions were added to H.699 before it passed.  This bill will enable law enforcement officers to more easily track and recover items stolen from homes and vehicles.

Governor Shumlin also signed into law S.214, an act relating to the Vermont energy act of 2012.  This bill has a rather convoluted history.  S.214 originally dealt with smart meter regulation when it passed the Senate.  A House bill, H.468, which was developed as the 2012 energy bill and was passed by the House, was tabled by the Senate Natural Resources Committee on a 3-2 vote.  Through a lot of negotiation between the House and Senate in conference, the contents of H.468 replaced the contents of S.214 with some modifications, and S.214 was approved by both bodies.  S.214 extends the Standard Offer program which supports continued development of renewable energy resources throughout Vermont.  Currently capped at 50 megawatts (MW) of distributed renewable energy generation, this bill allows it to grow to 150 MW over 10 years.  As a result of this program, Vermont has the greatest number of green jobs per capita in the nation according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The Renewable Portfolio Standard provision, which was in the original bill and required Vermont utilities to acquire increasing percentages of renewable energy over time, was removed from S.214 during negotiations.

Many other bills were passed to the benefit of Vermonters including a budget that did not require increases in broad-based taxes, the Working Landscapes bill, the Mental Health System bill, the Solid Waste bill, the Health Insurance Exchange bill, and others which I have written about in previous columns.  I invite you to review them at my website, http://www.mikeyantachka.com/. I regret that no resolution was found for improving the Prescription Drug Database Monitoring System.  House negotiators insisted on a requirement that investigators obtain a warrant before accessing the database, a position I support, while Senate negotiators insisted that a warrant should not be necessary.

I am looking forward to seeing many of you in person as I begin my campaign for re-election.  I have worked hard for you in Montpelier, and I hope you will support me this year.  You can contact me by phone at 425-3960 or email me at myantachka.dfa@gmail.com.