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Punctual Adjournment Leaves Unfinished Business

At the very respectable hour of 6:30 p.m. on May 6, the 2011 Vermont legislative session came to a close. It was a less exciting session than others because the House and Senate chambers and the Governor’s office were controlled by the same party, whose objectives were similar and their outcomes generally predestined. While legislative leaders congratulated themselves on their accomplishments and the orderly close to the session, results were somewhat more mixed and unpredictable for local governments, particularly in the waning hours of the session. Although the House and Senate adjourned, they left open the option to reconvene on October 18, on the joint call of the Senate President pro tempore and Speaker of the House. That would happen only to address funding shortfalls that resulted from Congressional budget cuts to federal programs.
On some key legislation (such as the transportation and capital bills), cities, towns and villages fared well.  In other areas (education funding, tax increment financing, health care, and public records), municipal needs were not met. You will read more about these issues in this Wrap-up. The legislature also established several legislative study committees that will take place between now and the beginning of the second half of the biennium. Those that affect local governments are noted in the article on page 30.  
The administration also committed to studying several issues that affect local governments, such as growth centers, downtown centers and scattered development, water quality, stormwater, and planning for federal government program funding.

Use the link below to read our wrap-up.

Publication Date: 
Thursday, July 21, 2011