2012 Legislative Update: Week 13 (4/3 – 4/6)

by Jeff Wilson

Last week, there was limited activity on the House floor, with committees pushing hard to complete their review of the bills that are still in play. It’s not quite crunch time, but we are getting there.

Redistricting – After receiving a second round of input and ideas from local officials concerning how some House districts were redrawn, the Government Operations Committee trotted out some redistricting revisions this past Thursday (4/6). In our area, the newest twist to the Browning (Arlington) and Miller (Shaftsbury) districts included a revamp that revised the boundary lines in those districts, but retained the one member format in each. The original plan approved a few weeks back called for a two-member district that brought in Stratton, in addition to Shafstbury, Arlington, Sunderland and Sandgate. The newest revision drops Stratton from the district, and to make the numbers work, the Shafstbury district was expanded into Arlington a bit, while the Arlington district made a more significant incursion into Rupert (a domino effect where one change necessitates another). Fortunately, the Manchester district stays as-is, in one piece, with one member. Although the chances are between slim and none of crafting a perfect redistricting plan, there was fairly broad based support for the final House product. The proposal received a second reading roll call endorsement of 123 – 9 (Wilson voting with the majority).

Doyle Poll – Senator Bill Doyle (Washington County) recently released the results of his 2012 non-scientific Town Meeting-time survey. This year, Doyle and his helpers compiled results from 12,300 “returns” — and the answers are: By wide margins, it looks like Vermonters favor a four year term for Governor, a prohibition on cell phone use while driving and are optimistic about Vermont’s future. We also are apparently quite bullish about continued support for our working farms and forests, expansion of the bottle bill, public funding of “school lunch” programs and the development of wind turbines on ridge lines. The “vote” was pretty even on whether or not Vermont Yankee should be closed. Interestingly, but maybe not surprising, the survey revealed that Vermonters are not particularly optimistic about our nation’s future. Only 35% had a rosy outlook on this one, with 39% not optimistic and 26% unsure.

Election 2012 – For the folks out there wondering if I plan to run for re-election – the answer is “yes”. Serving as Manchester’s sole State Representative over the past four years has been an exceptional experience. It has certainly involved some long hours and hard work, but it has been a true privilege and rewarding honor to help Manchester residents where I can, and to try my best to make Vermont a better place to live and work. I’ll have a more formal announcement on my candidacy in the next few weeks.

– Jeff Wilson, Manchester, Vermont, State Representative

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