Lawmakers and activists address key issues at statehouse

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Montpelier, VT- Many important topics were covered at the state house today with lawmakers and activists involved. Issues including gun rights, climate change, and early child care education were discussed on Thursday.

The bill which would add a 24 hour waiting period to purchase a firearm was vetoed by Governor Phil Scott last year. On Thursday, members of the senate joined to discuss the bill and the governor’s veto letter.

Two Harvard Business School Professors provided testimony with their research on gun waiting periods. Their research was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Their research shows that a waiting period acts like a cooling off period leading to a reduction in gun homicides and suicides.

“So, we wanted to look at the timing of roll out of waiting periods in different states and look for spikes or reductions in gun deaths after the implementation in the states that had implemented them relative to other states,” said Harvard Professor Michael Luca.

 Harvard Professor Deepak Malhotra said we would save about 900 or so additional lives in just gun homicides alone and about 900 or so gun suicides per year with a waiting period

 “So, what this research does looks very carefully and rigorously at this question and answers it in a way with really good data and methodology so that anyone who is sort of scientifically inclined would look at it and agree that it’s pretty compelling evidence,” Malhotra

Another event at the state house involved businesses and climate change. Nearly 30 of Vermont’s most iconic companies gathered at the state house to call on lawmakers to make climate change a priority. Employees were given time off today to lobby policy makers.

They asked legislators to support four new policies. The global warming solutions act, committing to 100% renewable energy by 2030, modernizing Vermont efficiency utilities, and joining the Transportation and Climate Initiative.

Activists said each policy calls for transformative climate action and emphasizes the need for equitable solutions and investment in local renewable energy.

Speakers included representatives from Burton, Sun Common, and Ben and Jerry’s.

“Our single biggest piece of our supply chain is dairy. We purchase it from Northwestern Vermont and climate change has a real impact on agriculture so the issue is personal for us,” said Global Head of Activism Strategy for Ben and Jerry’s Chris Miller.

Also at the state house today; the need for more early childhood educators.

The organization “Lets Grow Kids” released new data on what it calls Vermont’s child care crisis. Let’s grow kids is a movement for more affordable access to high quality child care by 20-25.

At a conference Thursday, members of the group along with activists and representatives talked about the need for funding and the struggle to pay early child care educators.

Some speakers shared personal stories about families who are worried about having children because they may not find affordable early child care.

According to Lets Grow Kids, statewide findings point to the need for 2,090 additional teachers, associate teachers, and other educators.

“Our data concludes three out of five of Vermont’s youngest children do not have access to the care that,” said CEO Aly Richards.

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