With the ultimate goal of becoming a Vermont law, a bill may be introduced in either year of the biennial session of the Vermont legislature. When a bill is introduced into either the House or the Senate, it makes its way through the appropriate committees in one chamber and, depending upon that work, a floor vote is then taken. If it passes, the bill “crosses over” to the other chamber. There it undergoes a similar committee process. Commonly enough, if a bill passes the second chamber, it may contain changes, sometimes significant. If the two chambers cannot agree on the bill’s changed version, the bill then goes to conference committee which works to resolve differences so that a single, unified bill can ultimately be approved by both chambers. Finally, the bill is sent over to the governor’s desk.
As of this writing, H.360, the large bill poised to fund the next round of broadband developments in Vermont, is in conference committee.
Conference committees are specific appointments, generally composed of three senators and three representatives. In this case, the committee includes Sen. Cummings of the Washington District, Sen. Pearson of the Chittenden District, Sen. Brock of the Franklin District, Rep. Briglin of Thetford, Rep. Sibilia of Dover, and Rep. Patt of Worcester.
We will see what happens very soon!