Legislative Update - May 14, 2023
The 2023 legislative session came to an end this week. While legislators are expected to return next month for a veto session, they passed a number of bills in the final days. These included the primary housing bill of the session and a major overhaul and investment in early childhood education. In a last-minute effort, legislators also invested in themselves, significantly increasing legislative pay and creating an entirely new benefits package.
The budget that emerged this week contained $8.5B in spending and included a new payroll tax that would be split between employers and employees (to fund the afore mentioned child care bill).Read more
Clean Heat Standard (S.5) - May 11, 2023
Expanding Apprenticeships (H.452) - Overview
The bill expanding Vermont's Apprenticeship programs, H.452, passed both House and Senate in the final days of the legislative session and is on its way to the Governor for signature. It was an important bill for the Vermont Department of Labor (VDOL) and the Administration. This bill (which is 52 pages) puts current practice into statute to ensure compliance with the federal law.
Additionally, these changes needed in order to leverage federal grants, to modernize the system, to provide support for employees, to ensure the programs are doing what they say they are doing, and to give VDOL the authority to manage the programs.Read more
Housing Opportunities for Everyone (S.100) - May 12, 2023
The Senate Economic Development Committee finished reviewing changes to S.100 on Friday morning and brought the bill to the Senate floor for a vote. Funding was still pulled out and included in the budget. Currently it appears fairly significant (over $200M according to the Committee of Conference report) but the Governor is expected to veto the budget bill so things could change.Read more
Changes to Election Laws (H.429) - May 9-12, 2023
A bill changing numerous education provisions, H.429, generated a great deal of interest this session. Numerous people testified in both the House and Senate. On May 9th, a strike-all amendment from the Senate Government Operations Committee was considered. It incorporated provisions from S.32, which would create a Ranked-Choice Voting system for presidential primary elections.Read more
Legislative Compensation (S.39) - May 11, 2023
The House Government Operations Committee reviewed another round of amendments to S.39 that would later be voted on by the House. These included technical corrections to language in the bill and accountable reimbursement of expenses instead of per diems.Read more
Legislative Compensation (S.39) - May 10, 2023
A number of amendments were reviewed by the House Government Operations Committee and then reviewed on the House floor later in the day. These included attempts to reduce health care coverage to just during the legislative session, looking at creating an independent commission to oversee legislative compensation, study appropriate salaries instead of new salaries instead of setting them now, and shortening the legislative session to 12 week (typically around 19 now).Read more
Housing Opportunities for Everyone (S.100) - May 10, 2023
The Senate Economic Development Committee came back on Wednesday to review the House changes to S.100, which they did not yet possess, and the single House floor amendment that persisted with the bill (there were many other attempts to amend it).Read more
Housing Opportunities for Everyone (S.100) - May 9, 2023
No new arguments were presented on the House floor Tuesday; the bill primarily deals with municipal zoning reform and feigned to address Act 250 issues, shy of a few time-limited exemptions. It focused on large lot sizes, excess parking requirements, excess setbacks, and other local zoning requirements legislators felt inhibited housing growth.
Critics of the bill argued that municipal reform should be paired with rollbacks to Act 250, the state’s major land-use and environmental law. However, since the bill passed third reading in House with a voice vote, incremental progress will have to be settled for. Amendments were introduced to limit energy requirement that could drive up construction costs by tens of thousands of dollars, but it was disagreed to. Other amendments would have moved up some of the implementation dates, add reviews of current processes for inclusivity, and widen the priority housing project exemption in Act 250. They were met with varying levels of success.
After passage, the Senate Committees began reviewing the bill.
Changes to Boards and Commissions (H.125) - May 9, 2023
The Senate took up H.125 on the floor Wednesday, which deals with a number of different boards and commissions. Notably, the bill would repeal the Clean Energy Development Board and limit the authority of the Vermont Telecommunications Authority.
It also repeals the Government Accountability Committee and makes the Vermont Pension Investment Commission (VPIC)more independent from the State Treasurer.Read more