Legislative Update: March 26, 2023

The Clean Heat Standard bill (S.5) made a re-appearance this week as the House began to take testimony. Not much of an indication yet of how the Committee will handle the bill, but already there has been more vocal opposition to it than was heard in the Senate.

The independent schools bill was pulled back into the House Education Committee twice this week after they rushed the bill out at the end of last week with a lack of testimony. Some of the language was improved around enrollment for students on public tuition, but is still problematic. Additionally, students will no longer be allowed to use their tuition dollars at schools across the border in Quebec. No testimony on either of these issues was taken by the Committee. Not a good look for those responsible for our public policy supporting Vermont students.

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Education Spending & Property Taxes - March 21-24, 2023

Brad James (Finance Manager, Agency of Education) joined the Committee on Tuesday. He informed them that all but three districts have reported their budgets so far and the remaining ones were very small. He noted that if they assumed the remaining districts came in at the statewide average, the overall average spending increase would come out just under 8%.

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Career & Technical Education Funding - March 24, 2023

The Senate Education Committee invited two Assistant Directors from Career and Technical Education (CTE) Centers to join them on Friday. The issues they spoke to the Committee about were on a list presented by Jodie Emerson earlier in the week.

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Housing Opportunities Made for Everyone (S.100) - March 21-24, 2023

This week the Senate Natural Resources Committee focused mainly on amendments and wording changes to S.100 and the amendments being offered.  These language changes dealing with definitions of downtown development districts, areas affected by municipal sewers infrastructure and wastewater systems.

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Independent School Oversight (H.483) - March 21-23, 2023


Chairman Conlon shared with the House Education Committee on Tuesday that over the weekend some technical changes relating to H.483 came to light.

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Ending School Choice (S.66) - March 22, 2023

The Senate Education Committee heard from Senator Hardy on Wednesday about S.66. She described the bill as being about the changing education landscape in light of recent US Supreme Court rulings (Carson v. Makin, etc.). She stated that the bill prioritizes the designation of public schools only for public tuitioning of students (regardless of whether one is within a practical distance).

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Ranked Choice Voting (S.32) - March 22, 2023

Senator Vyhovsky provided an overview of S.32 for the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday. She noted that the $2M appropriation originally in the bill for the Secretary of States Office (SOS) has been removed. Since the SOS will not be working to implement Rank Choice Voting (RCV) by 2024 that appropriation was no longer needed. There is still a $1k appropriation for a summer study committee tasked with looking at implementing RCV for 2026 for state and federal election. There would also be $100,000 in funding to educate town clerks on how this election system would work for those that chose to do this (a one-time appropriation).

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Property Valuation & Reappraisals (H.480) - March 22, 2023

The House Appropriations Committee met to review H.480 on Wednesday. The bill proposes to remove municipalities from the property reappraisal process and require instead that the Division of Property Valuation and Review within the Department of Taxes conduct full and statistical reappraisals on behalf of all municipalities in the State.

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Career and Technical Education Funding - March 22, 2023

Jody Emerson (Director, Central Vermont Career Center) submitted a list of ‘wants’ to the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday on behalf of the Directors of Vermont’s Career & Technical Education (CTE) Centers. Chairman Campion asked members to review this and evaluate the status of each of the suggested ideas and identify those already being worked on, those that could potentially be pursued, and those that would take much more time than is available at this point in the legislative session.

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Workforce Development (H.484) - March 21, 2023

The workforce development bill, H.484, was presented to House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday. The makes several appropriations for programs that educate, train, and help businesses hire and retain workers. It also includes appropriations for forgivable loan programs, scholarships, degree and certification programs, assistance to businesses and other miscellaneous proposals to enhance workforce and economic development opportunities in the state.

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