It appears that the legislature may finish up business as early as this Friday. If that happens, next week we'll give each of the Progressive legislators a chance to provide their recap on the session, and blog about what was accomplished in the first half of the biennium.
It looks as if there will be some bills for which we can be thankful. Hopefully next week we'll read about some positive (and signed) legislation around agricultural issues and energy.
There were, however, a number of issues that were not taken up this session. Healthcare was the big no-show. That discussion was kept off the table, pending Catamount's roll-out (derailment?) this fall. Our caucus did sign (with many others) on to a resolution (JRH026)
urging the Federal Govt to pass HR676, the "National Health Insurance Act." I did read this weekend that Rep Welch is now a signer of the bill. Certainly that is a step forward, although it is a little depressing when the Federal Govt is out ahead of the "small state that can lead the nation."
The big non-issue was property tax reform. Leadership kept that off the table while they worked on the Education spending bill (H.526
), now in conference committee. The theory, I guess, is that we needed a cost-containment bill before we could look at the revenue source. Unfortunately, it looks like we will have neither: H.526 will likely raise the cost of education, but punish the communities trying to cover those costs. Read more on that here when the bill comes out of conference. Rep. Pearson was part of a tri-partisan group that is trying to reduce property tax by funding Ed through an income tax
; an idea that may get better attention next year.
What other issues were completely passed over this session?