Legislative Report by Representative Mike Yantachka
Once again the Doyle Poll proved to be popular at Town Meeting, with 213 voters taking the time to fill out the survey. Here are the results for your consideration.
There were five questions that appeared in last year’s survey (Q3. water quality, Q4. marijuana, Q5. opiates, Q8. cell service and Q9. school districts). The opinion favoring marijuana legalization fluctuated from 48% to 42% to the current 47% over the last three years, while the opinion against moved from 42% to 45%, down to 34% indicating a significant shift to undecided. While still an overwhelming majority, a smaller percentage of respondents felt that broadband is important (84% last year). Water quality, concern about opiates and the opinion that Vermont has too many school districts remained nearly the same year-to-year.
Vermont’s handling of the health care issue remains in a negative light as problems persist with the Vermont Health Connect system. The slow progress made in addressing the problem of the “change of circumstance” function has been less than satisfactory in the eyes of both the public and the Legislature, which is continuing to monitor the situation and consider alternatives. Likewise, high property taxes as the major source of education funding continue to be a general concern.
The overwhelming consensus is that municipalities should have a greater say than they do now in siting renewable energy projects. A lot of work has been done by the Senate in bill S.230, which has now been assigned to the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee. We have already begun to review the bill, which has great potential to provide a path forward to make the siting process more transparent. It will give towns more influence as they develop local renewable energy plans in conjunction with regional planning commissions, while continuing to move Vermont away from fossil fuels and toward a stronger renewable energy economy.
As your representative in Montpelier, I appreciate your input on these and other issues. Your comments help me look at issues from several perspectives, and that is a valuable opportunity for me. You can always contact me by phone at 802-425-3960 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find this article and others online at MikeYantachka.com.