Mid Session Updates

Here are mid-session updates for the bills we have been following this session. Our "chance of passage" ratings take into account that our Legislature has been undertaking the monumental task of responding to the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Legislative schedule for 3/26 - 3/27

Here is the legislative schedule for 3/26 - 3/27. 

Please note, this is not a list of every committee meeting; there are many more happening than what is on this list. These are the ones Campaign for Vermont has identified as being most relevant to our Three E's of Prosperity - Education, Ethics, and Economics.

These schedules are all subject to change with little to no warning. 

Committee meetings are being streamed live on YouTube. Clicking the link next to a meeting listing below will take you the schedule page for that committee. This is where you can find the YouTube link.

The State House is closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This does not mean the public input process is also closed. You can, and should, continue to reach out to your Senators and Representatives on important issues. 

 

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A note on public records from Pat McDonald

Pat McDonald asks: Why isn't Vermont an open book?

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Town-by-Town Tax Impacts of New Pupil Weighting Formula

Last week, Joint Fiscal Office (JFO) submitted testimony to the Senate Education Committee which included a new analysis on the impacts of the recent Pupil Weighting Study. 

The high-level analysis shows that 77 districts (generally those with the highest poverty rates) would see an average tax rate decrease of $0.18 and 39 districts (generally those with the lowest poverty rates) would see an average increase of $0.16. Under the modeling, the average tax rate would fall slightly from $1.51 to $1.499 while overall revenues would increase $10M.

So, what is pupil weighting? In simplest terms, it is the formula that determines the dollars-per-student contribution from the state to a Vermont public school. It seeks to take into account variables that impact how much it costs to educate a school's students such as population density, poverty rate, and the number of English language learners. The intended outcome is an equitable distribution of state funds that puts money into the communities that need it the most. 

The charts below show the town-by-town tax implications of these changes. Please bear in mind that these numbers are by no means set in stone and are subject to change before any vote takes place. 

If the charts are too small to view, click here to view the complete JFO testimony that contains this data. 

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Act 250 changes breakdown

Vermont's Act 250 is a huge and complicated beast. H.926, An Act Related To Making Changes to Act 250 was voted out of the House Natural Resources Committee 6-3-2 this week.

As listed by Representative Sibilia, here is a breakdown of the changes happening to this landmark bill.

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Update: House Education Committee Considers Pre-K Reform

House Ed heard testimony last week on reforms and updates to Vermont’s statewide pre-kindergarten program. Advocates are arguing to expand and extend the program, to improve services to students with disabilities, to overhaul the government oversight of the program and to tighten credentialing requirements for programs and teachers. Sarah Kenney of Let's Grow Kids provided a thorough analysis of the issues in her very detailed testimony.


Among issues that have come up among committee members is whether the bill should recognize the accreditations granted to staff in Montessori schools by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education. The Vermont Independent Schools Association is preparing testimony to be presented this week to show that the quality and legitimacy of this group’s credentialing meets the standards envisioned in the pre-K bill.


Ethics Advances (thanks to you)

More than 30 of you made calls and sent emails, and you were heard! On Wednesday the Senate Committee on Government Operations passed out S.198 by unanimous voice vote. During the discussion, committee members specifically referred to these calls and emails as influencing factors in their decision. Great work!

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Good news for NEK young professionals

As reported by Newport Dispatch News, young professionals networking in the Northeast Kingdom recently got a boost.

"The Northeast Kingdom Young Professionals Network (NEK YPN) recently received a $3,000 grant from the Vermont Community Foundation’s Northeast Kingdom Fund.

The grant will help further NEK YPN’s mission of supporting young professionals both socially and professionally by expanding outreach efforts and promoting a new Welcome Wagon Program."

Read the full article here. 


Vermont Recognized for Remote Worker Relocation Program

Vermont recently received recognition from the Rockefeller Institute for Government as being a leader in adapting to new labor trends. 

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