Legislative updates (4/10/2020)

What You Should Know About Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)Legislative Update

April 10, 2020

Representative Brian Cina and Representative Selene Colburn

As you most likely know, Governor Scott has extended the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order until May 15. In the Vermont House, we’re continuing to work remotely in our committees, and to prepare for remote voting on legislation to help Vermonters during the COVID-19 crisis. Committee meetings

are both live streamed and archived for the public. See http://legislature.vermont.gov for agendas and information on how to view meetings.

Unemployment Resources

We continue to see a high volume of need for unemployment insurance benefits and to hear that it can be difficult for people to connect with the Vermont Department of Labor. We also know that the state is awaiting both clarity and resources from the federal government for some of the expanded unemployment benefits that are coming, including those for self-employed workers. We are continuing to monitor the situation and advocate these needs.

The Vermont Department of Labor has put together a collection of frequently-asked questions to help employees and employers: https://labor.vermont.gov/covid19/covid-19-frequently-asked-questions

You can also find recordings of webinars with detailed information for:

*Employees/claimants (https://youtu.be/hTbETm6brGk)

*Self-employed individuals (https://youtu.be/dpg78arrhjE)

*Employers (https://youtu.be/ndiyZUfN9Uw)

In response to the increasing number of initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits and inquiries to its claims center, the Vermont Department of Labor will implement an alphabetized structure for intake of weekly claims and questions, beginning Sunday, April 12. It is hoped that this new process will reduce the traffic to the claimant portal by designating specific days of the week for individuals to contact the Department, based on the first letter of their last name. See https://labor.vermont.gov/alphabetized-structure-information to learn

more about this new process, and which days to connect through different channels, based on your name.

Please feel free to reach out to us about your experience with unemployment insurance. We want to understand how this system is (or isn’t) working for people and we will do our best to help you navigate it and to advocate for you.

Selene Colburn (scolburn@leg.state.vt.u

s; 802-233-1358)

Brian Cina (bcina@leg.state.vt.us; 802-448-2178)

Open Enrollment for Health Insurance

Do you know someone who lost or lowered their income during this crisis? Many Vermonters will qualify for more help paying for health insurance. And if you or a family member lost income, you may qualify for free comprehensive coverage with Vermont Medicaid. Report income changes and see what you qualify for by calling Vermont Health Connect at 1-855-899-9600.

Questions? Call the Vermont Legal Aid Health Care Advocate at 1-800-917-7787 or visit online: https://vtlawhelp.org/health for free help.

Self Care, Mental Health and Wellness Resources

The pandemic is having a massive impact on our mental health. You don’t have to face it alone. Talk with a caring person who understands what you’re going through by calling or texting the confidential Pathways Vermont Support Line at 1 (833) VT-TALKS (888-2557). If you are feeling suicidal you can call the National Suicide Hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255.

Virtual Town Meeting with State Representatives (Cina, Colburn, Gonzalez) on Friday April 17, from 5-6 PM

The meeting will be broadcast on Channel 17, so if you participate you will be recorded.

Topic: Virtual Meeting with State Representatives (Cina, Colburn, Gonzalez)

Time: Apr 17, 2020 05:00 PM Montreal

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 137 424 029

Password: 043696

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