What do this week’s snowy Vermont capitol scenes remind you of? The holidays? Shoveling? The joy and privilege of being able to call beautiful Vermont home?
For Bob Paolini, we’d venture to say they remind him that January 4, 2017 is just around the corner! As most of our members are probably aware, we’ve contracted with Bob Paolini, former Executive Director of the VBA, to be our Governmental Relations guru for the next two years. We are extremely fortunate to have Bob as our eyes, ears and voice at the capitol during the upcoming legislative session.
Why is his presence so important? During the legislative session, Bob is certainly active at the state house, either testifying, putting people in touch with each other to find common ground, finding lawyers to testify or merely being the proverbial fly on the wall. If there is proposed legislation that has even a whiff of a potential effect on the practice of law, Bob is quick to alert concerned members, whichever ‘side’ they may be on. Some issues are major, like the proposal to tax legal services or proposed cuts to the funding of the judiciary. Some may seem minor, like choosing individuals to serve on study or rules committees, assessing incremental fee hikes or reviewing form changes. No matter the issue, if it affects a member’s practice of law, Bob is there to make sure the VBA member’s voice is heard. Having a seat at the table is a crucial and often silent benefit that the VBA provides to its members. And as everyone knows, if you aren’t given a seat at the table, you just might be on the menu!
In anticipation of January 4, 2017, Bob has already reached out to the VBA Section Chairs to ask whether there are Sections working on or ready to propose any legislation in the next two years. He is already aware of a few bills with respect to decedents’ estates, the nonprofit statute and alimony. His letter was a reminder that if any proposals need VBA Board of Managers’ approval or if any proposals needs sponsors, the process needs to start NOW!
We at the VBA, in conjunction with the courts and county bars, have already convened legislator days in nearly every county, to give the legislators a chance to see court hearings and to meet with local attorneys to get acquainted and share stories. Please feel free to contact Bob directly or the VBA with your proposed legislation, concerns or proposals.
Bob will continue to blog the happenings at the State house on his VBA Legislative Blawg, linked on our website (as www.vbalegislativeblawg.blogspot.com) and can be reached at bob at bobpaolini dot com.