Newsletter Friday, February 3, 2023

On February 2, we attended our first session to vote on bills brought to the house floor by their respective committees. Because it was a light schedule with all the bills except one highly recommended by their committees, this newsletter will deal with process more than bill content. Twenty-seven standing committees hold public hearings on bills assigned to them and recommend the disposition of those bills to the house. The recommended action usually is either OTP (Ought to Pass)or ITL (Inexpedient to Legislate). ITL is legislative jargon to kill the bill. All but one committee are made up of 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats, so a high recommendation shows bipartisan support. Cyril and I have been meeting for four weeks (since Jan 10) on the Elections Law and Ways and Means committees, respectively.

First up is the Consent Calendar. If the action is strongly recommended, the committee can move the bill to the Consent Calendar, where they all get passed with a single vote by the legislature. Today’s Consent Calendar originally consisted of twenty-six bills, but three were removed by the action of at least 10 legislative members. A Voice vote (usually a loud Yea) was all that was needed to pass these bills on the committee’s recommendation – either OTP or ITL .

Next was the Regular Calendar. There were originally eight bills, but three were added. Almost all were passed by Voice vote, consistent with the committee’s recommendation. Only one bill was brought to a Roll Call vote where the individual vote of each member was taken and recorded. HB 95 would have permitted municipalities to dictate eviction and rent notifications to landlords and regulate permissible rent and rent increases. This bill was recommended ITL 16-3 and after a failed attempt to table, it was killed 301-63. HB 295-FN was also tabled by a division vote (vote count only but not recorded) and required all select board and school board meetings to be recorded and broadcast live online. This bill was recommended ITL 10-9 along party lines. We were not supporting this bill since it was an unfunded mandate and a clear overreach of local control. Please visit our website at for more information.

Respectively, Cyril Aures and Clayton Wood