Vt. lawmakers scramble to pass legislation ahead of ‘crossover day’

Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 4:40 PM EST

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - It’s a race to the halfway point for Vermont lawmakers as they scramble to pass legislation before what’s called the crossover deadline on Friday.

“Crossover day” is the symbolic halfway point of the session where lawmakers in the House and Senate send policy bills to the other chamber.

What passes or doesn’t pass out of one chamber to the other usually sets the tone for the rest of the session.

Lawmakers are working to move a mix of pandemic-related and non-pandemic-related bills.

The Senate will vote on an $80 million relief bill, providing money for businesses, outdoor recreation and mental health.

The House is working to move bills dealing with broadband expansion, child care, mental health, racial equity and others.

“We are working tirelessly to ensure we can get these key proposals to the House floor and over to the Senate. Governing remotely brings challenges but it also brings more voices to the table and more transparency,” said Rep. Jill Krowinski, D-Vt. House Speaker.

Next week will start the second half of the session which as of now, looks like it will end in May.

The wave of federal stimulus cash that’s coming our way will have an immense effect on priorities but lawmakers are still working out how this money can be spent.

Unlike last year’s CARES Act, some of this money can be spent over the next three years.

Gov. Phil Scott has adamantly opposed creating new ongoing programs with this one-time money but Senate leaders say the expanded timeline could give us a window to create temporary programs that would extend for a couple of years.

The governor’s team is still working on a proposal for how this new money should be spent.

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