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Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen



It's crossover

What’s that, you ask?

Each year, legislative leaders set a deadline for committees to complete work on bills they would like their counterparts in the other body to take up. The idea is to give roughly equal time for the House and Senate to review bills.

This year, the magic date is Friday. Of course, there are exceptions. The House gets a few more weeks on the money bills because the Senate works on these bills without having them in their possession.

One of the biggest bills moving this week to make the crossover deadline will be a judicial restructuring proposal that the House Judiciary Committee has labored over since the beginning of the session.

The House Education Committee expects to vote Friday on a bill that would give school districts new incentives to consider consolidation. Prior to the vote, members of the House and Senate education committees will hold a rescheduled (weather did in the first date) hearing Wednesday night to give the public a chance to weigh in on an array of consolidation proposals – including some that mandate shrinkage in the number of school districts.

There could be a few final decisions on legislation this week.

Senate President Pro Tempore Peter Shumlin, D-Windham, said the Senate, for example, could endorse the revised version of a bill moving the primary election to the last week of August. The Senate approved the change last year, but the House didn’t take up the bill until this session. The House recently endorsed the new primary date, but rewrote the bill – which means the Senate gets another bite at the apple.

The House seems poised to wrap up work on an $8 million job-creation bill the Senate already passed. It includes aid to farmers, help for Addison County businesses affected by the closure of the Champlain Bridge and job training money.

Lawmakers won’t act soon, however, on any bill addressing the bankrupt unemployment compensation fund. Despite a year and a half of discussion, lawmakers, the administration, workers and employers can’t agree on a remedy.

"Unemployment will need the committed attention of the speaker, governor, myself and the committee chairs to come up with a solution," Shumlin said.

"There are continuing conversations," said House Speaker Shap Smith, D-Morristown. "We’ve got to do something."

-- Nancy Remsen

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"Unemployment will need the committed attention of the speaker, governor, myself and the committee chairs to come up with a solution," Shumlin said.

What's that? Tax working people more? Don't forget that you guys are the ones that let business keep paying that lower rate for so long. Quit sticking it to the working person.
Before you go blame the legislature, Labor Commissioner Powden has already publicly stated that the Douglas Administration knew this would happen several years ago but they did not tell the legislature.
The Legislature is fully informed each session.
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