Something New - Once again the Manchester Journal is demonstrating its civic-minded spirit by agreeing to print my weekly legislative news column during the 2013 session. However, now that I have been joined by Rep. Cynthia Browning in a two-member district (representing Manchester, Arlington, Sandgate and most of Sunderland) we thought it might prove to be an interesting new twist if Cynthia and I alternated in penning the weekly updates. So, I am starting with Week 1, and Rep. Browning will tackle Week 2 - and so on.
The House - The 2013 session of the Vermont House of Representatives was gaveled open on Wednesday morning (1/9) by Secretary of State Jim Condos. The first orders of business included the swearing-in of House members, the election of veteran House Clerk Don Milne and the election of Speaker Shap Smith (Morrisville). This will be Smith's third term as Speaker. The composition of the new House includes: 96 Democrats, 44 Republicans, 5 Progressives and 4 Independents (there's currently 1 vacancy due to the untimely death of Rep. Clark). In the afternoon of the 9th, Speaker Smith issued his committee assignments. Representative Browning was reappointed to the Corrections and Institutions Committee, while I was reappointed to the Ways and Means Committee.
The Governor - On Thursday (1/10), Governor Shumlin was sworn in for a second two-year term.
Stay tuned, because 2013 promises to be another active, issued-filled year. The budget, health care, taxes, climate change and a host of other topics are bound to be part of a very busy session.