We are very proud of the Community High School of Vermont, which is Vermonts largest (student population) high school and the only one in the nation which is affiliated with a Department of Corrections and is also accredited. Our accreditation comes from the New England Association of Schools and College. The Institutions and Corrections Committee that I serve on is working on a bill that will increase the mandatory age (from 22 years of age to 26) of offenders who do not have a high school diploma to attend the Community High School of Vermont. It has been something our committee has been working on this session and is close to being ready to be voted out of our committee and then presented to the entire House. It is one piece in the bigger picture of our work with the Department of Corrections as a whole. We know that over 90% of young males in custody of the Department of Corrections do not have a high school diploma. If we can assist these offenders in attaining a diploma, their rate of recidivism will be decreased. I have mentioned these facts before but it is worth repeating because it is the meat of the work we are doing in the Institutions and Corrections Committee. The good news we have attained from the Department is that the teachers and educational system that are already in place will be able to absorb the higher numbers attending and we should see no significant increase in costs. In fact, the cost savings will be seen as these offenders rate of recidivism will decrease. A bill that is being worked on by the Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs is H863. It creates a balanced and comprehensive approach to housing. It includes new houses and apartments for all income levels, incentives and eased state permit rules in community centers while protecting our rural character with an Act 250 update. It includes safe rental housing that meets basic health and safety standards. This bill, which creates a Vermont Neighborhood Program, has been sent to the Natural Resources and Energy Committee for its consideration. It is hard to believe that Town Meeting time is quickly approaching us. I will be at both the Shelburne and St. George Town Meetings and will have brief updates on the status of different committees and their work so far in the session. As always, I look forward to hearing from you. I can be reached at 985-8515, e-mailed at
or reached through the Sergeant-at-Arms in the State House at 802-828-2228 or toll free 1-800-322-5616. Joyce and I are at Brueggers Bagel every Tuesday morning from 7:30-8:45. Please stop by.