The 2022 Legislative Session was monumental. We passed historic legislation, including an $8.3 billion state budget, that will have a transformational impact on every sector, region, and community in Vermont. We made significant investments in housing, climate action, workforce, human services, infrastructure, and education. We also took advantage of surplus revenues to strengthen state fiscal management, including critical changes and investments in our public pension funds.
We worked together in a tri-partisan manner under extremely difficult circumstances, starting the session remotely and later going back in-person to the State House for the first time in two years. The continuing pandemic, highly charged national discourse, political realities, enormous needs of Vermonters, and pressure to get it all right made our work extremely difficult. But I’m proud of what we accomplished for Vermonters during this critical time. I was particularly focused on issues coming through my two committees, Senate Finance Committee and Senate Health & Welfare Committee, for which I am Vice-Chair.
For more details on our work, read the summaries of key legislation below, and reach out to me if you have questions or would like more information.
As a mother, there is nothing more important to me than ensuring children and families thrive in Vermont. That’s why I am a legislative champion of efforts that support, protect, and care for children, youth, and families
I am a leader in the Senate in ensuring support for public schools and students, including equitable funding, mental health support, universal school meals, and safe school buildings.
The COVID pandemic has been devastating on our health care system, creating staffing shortages, financial challenges, and access difficulties for patients. As Vice Chair of the Health and Welfare Committee, one of my priorities has been working to stabilize this fragile system, while expanding access for patients and moving forward with health care reform.
Responding to climate change and protecting Vermont’s natural resources and environment continued to be a major legislative priority this session.
The pandemic turned an already difficult housing shortage in Vermont into an all-out housing crisis, thus a major focus of the Legislature this session has been addressing this crisis from several different angles.
In the wake of two more high profile mass shootings, I am angry and heartbroken. We need political courage, stronger federal gun violence prevention laws, and honest conversations and action to change the culture of power, fear, and distrust that fuels the proliferation of firearms.
High-speed broadband access is an essential service for all Vermonters. Act 71 strives to provide universal high-speed, affordable fiber-optic broadband to all unserved and underserved areas of the state.
The pandemic has hit an already fragile workforce hard. As a result, the Legislature passed a bill that invests nearly $100 million in efforts to increase workforce participation rates and recruit and train workers in critical fields.
For public employees, a pension is a promise. The new law invests over $200 million in one-time state funding into the pension funds, increases current employee contributions, modifies cost-of-living adjustments, commits to ongoing state funding, and transitions to pre-funding retiree health benefits.
A fair, progressive taxation system is the cornerstone of healthy, equitable economy. The significant federal funds that flowed into Vermont due to the pandemic generated additional state revenues, meaning that unlike most years, we had sufficient capacity to provide targeted tax reductions for families and businesses who need it most.
With an aging population, ensuring that senior Vermonters are able to live healthy, independent lives is certainly a legislative priority. This session, many bills included provisions specifically designed to assist seniors with healthcare, community services, and financial stability.