A historic, fully remote legislative session is in the books, and a great deal was agreed upon and accomplished.
We will return for a special session in late June to review the legislation Gov. Phil Scott vetoed and decide a course of action, if any.
Scott has currently only vetoed one bill on juvenile records, but that could change by early June when bills must be signed, vetoed or allowed to become law without his signature.
We are also looking at a session in October given the continually evolving nature of the budget due to the influx of federal pandemic relief we are receiving.
We will begin to experiment with reopening the Statehouse to legislative activity with summer task forces and study committees.
In reflecting on our recent adjournment, we did our best to meet the moment and support the human and capital infrastructure needed to build back better from this pandemic. This included a budget of over $7 billion with critical investments in broadband, housing, clean water, climate change and small business grants for the hardest hit sectors of the economy.
We also notably did not tax Paycheck Protection Program grants or forgivable loans so struggling businesses can put more money into their financial well-being and directly into the economy. We balanced the needs of both businesses, in freezing unemployment insurance rates, and unemployed Vermonters with an extra $25 per week bump after federal benefits end.
One of the things I am most personally proud of is S.16, sponsored by myself and Sen. Dick Sears of Bennington. It sets up a task force to limit the use of suspension and expulsion as a behavior discipline tool in our schools and to reduce the criminalization of families for truancy. By the time it was signed by the governor, it banned the use of suspension and expulsion for 6- and 7-year old children, which is a long overdue step toward educational equity.
There is much more I am proud of and that you may want to know about, so please be in touch if I can answer any questions or address any concerns: email@example.com. It’s an honor to serve you.
Sen. Kesha Ram represents Chittenden County in the Vermont Senate.