How Nonprofits Can Stay Engaged this Legislative Session

On Tuesday, January 4, the Vermont Legislature reconvened, marking the start of the 2022 session and the second half of the biennium!

As things get underway, we encourage nonprofits to stay engaged. Common Good Vermont will continue share updates, information and opportunities for public input, but nothing beats first hand knowledge. While COVID has presented many challenges to our democratic process, the rose among thorns is that all committee meetings and House and Senate sessions are now livestreamed. This means that session activity is much more easily accessible to the general public – prior to COVID, audio/video coverage of session activity was much more limited which made in-person attendance essential to participation.

It’s still unclear when (or if) the legislature will return to conducting business in-person, but they will operate fully remote at least until 1/18/22. Regardless, you can stay remote AND get the information you need.

Here’s how:

  1. Find out what’s happening, when:
    • Start by visiting the Legislature’s website. On the homepage you can find House and Senate schedules and announcements.
    • Find up to date information about special committees, joint assemblies, public hearings and more on the announcement page.
    • Committee agendas can be found here.
    • NOTE: Schedules are prone to change frequently and without notice – check back periodically (and hit refresh) if you are following a specific bill or issue.
  2. Gather information:
    • You can search and find bills here.
    • Committee meeting schedules can be found here. You can also visit committee pages to view past and current documents, testimony, and agendas. The livestream links are also listed on committee pages.
  3. Watch live on YouTube:
  4. Participate
    • Public hearings will (usually) be posted here.
    • Find legislators’ contact information here.

More ways to stay engaged:

  • Sign up for the VT Nonprofit News.
  • Visit VT Digger’s politics page.
  • Our allies at Lake Champlain Chamber and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility are also great resources as their policy priorities are largely aligned with those of nonprofits.
  • Drop by for Action Circle’s “Office Hours” – 12:15 – 1 PM on the last Friday of the month: The Action Circles open office hour is an opportunity for anyone to virtually “stop by” with our team to talk through legislative strategies or ask any questions you may have about the legislative process, budget process, or anything else! If you’re feeling stuck on what the next best move is for your campaign, or confused about the legislative process, then this is a great opportunity to brainstorm with other experienced advocates. This can also be a time to eat our lunches together for people who miss sitting together in the State House cafeteria. People are welcome to join or leave the open office hour at any time throughout the hour.