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The Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier

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MONTPELIER — A bill allocating more than $644,000 in state funds for humanitarian relief for Ukrainians affected by the military invasion of their country is expected to be fast-tracked through the Vermont General Assembly as early as Tuesday, according to Sen. Dick Sears, a member of the chamber’s Appropriations Committee.

The proposal, which Gov. Phil Scott sought as part of an executive order issued Thursday, was immediately supported by House Speaker Jill Krowinski and Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint.

“It will be a separate fast track bill coming from the House,” Sears, D-Bennington, said Monday. “We will take it [Tuesday] in the Senate Appropriations Committee and be ready to pass it by the end of the week.”

The bill was not listed on the calendar of the House or the Senate as of Monday afternoon. Messages to Krowinski and Ballint’s offices and House Appropriations chair Rep. Mary Hooper had not been returned as of Monday afternoon.

The draft proposal, originating in the House Appropriations Committee, would allocate a total of $644,826 from the state’s general fund for relief efforts. That includes $643,077, representing one dollar for each resident of Vermont as counted in the 2020 U.S. Census, and $1,749, equaling the revenue collected by the Vermont Department of Liquor and Lottery from sales of Russian-sourced products between February 24 and March 2.

Scott had suggested that the funding be added to the Budget Adjustment Act, which at the time was still being negotiated in a House-Senate conference committee. The conference committee report was scheduled to be heard in the House on Tuesday.

“We know that there is only so much we can do here in Vermont, but this is a time to come together and show that an attack on democracy, and the callous killing of innocent civilians, shall not go unaddressed,” Krowinski and Balint said in a joint statement on Thursday. “We have had conversations with other legislative leaders, and we are united in both chambers to take immediate legislative action and get humanitarian aid out the door as soon as we return next week.”

Greg Sukiennik covers government and politics for Vermont News & Media. Reach him at gsukiennik@benningtonbanner.com.