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House kicks off second half of biennium

House Speaker Shap Smith addresses lawmakers on the opening day of the 2016 legislative session. Photo by Roger Crowley/VTDigger
House Speaker Shap Smith addresses lawmakers on the opening day of the 2016 legislative session. Photo by Roger Crowley/VTDigger

By Elizabeth Hewitt
For Vermont Digger
House Speaker Shap Smith began his final legislative session at the podium on a personal note.
As the father of two young children, he attends school holiday concerts and soccer games, the speaker said as he kicked off his sixth and final year on the job Tuesday.
“There I’m reminded why we do this work. We want to help these kids be successful, no matter their social status or family status,” Smith said. “The reality is to a certain degree, their future is in our hands.”
Smith’s remarks were brief, setting a tone for a legislative agenda packed with ambitious new initiatives, as well as resolving a few hefty loose ends from the first half of the biennium — such as the $88 million budget adjustment and the controversial school spending thresholds in Act 46.
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