Career and Technical Education (S.304) - April 24, 2024

Chairman Conlon noted for the House Education Committee that the testimony they had received to date on S.304 was concerning to him, particularly with regards to unfunded mandates and transportation to stand-alone schools. He noted that the APA report (Study on the Funding and Governance of Career and Technical Education in Vermont) focused on funding and governance and S.304 does neither. He added that time was not on their side at this point in the session, and he was not sure what he could get done.

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Amendments to Property Tax Bill (H.887) - April 23, 2024

The House Ways & Means Committee met first thing on Tuesday morning to begin reviewing proposed amendments to H.887, which sets the property tax rates for FY2025.

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VOTE: Property Tax Yield Bill (H.887) - April 23, 2024

H.887 reached the House Floor on Tuesday afternoon. Representative Kornheiser introduced the bill on behalf of the Ways & Means Committee. She shared that they have “struggled mightily to navigate through this issue.” She highlighted that “this work cannot be done overnight or even in a couple months during the legislative session.” The $250M in new spending was described as the primary driver of property taxes, increasing property taxes by roughly $0.25. Other factors identified were weaker performance of non-property tax revenue sources and loss of federal funds. Other measures in the bill have been reported on previously.

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Property Tax Yield Bill (H.887) - April 16-19, 2024

On Tuesday morning, the House Ways and Means Committee heard from Morgan Daybell, who was representing all the administrative groups in the education system. He noted that they felt that the funding and policy discussions should not be separated, and the same Commission should be responsible for both. They approve of the cloud tax and the short-term rental surcharge and “anything else” that would increase the statewide yield amount.

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Workforce Development Governance (H.707) - April 19, 2024

Representative Marcotte presented a high-level overview of H.707 for the Senate Economic Development Committee. He introduced himself and noted that he was Chair of both House Commerce and Economic Development as well as the SOCWED, a special committee designed to review how best to approach workforce development in Vermont.

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Municipal Ethics (H.875) - April 19, 2024

Christina Sivret (Executive Director, Vermont State Ethics Commission) thanked Senate Government Operations Committee for their comments on bill. She continued on to propose changes to the current language, which addresses many issues of concern in numerous areas to include the sections on disclosure, voluntary compliance, assets from individual stockholdings, loans, conflicts known to applicant. Chairwoman Hardy was pleased that many of the changes are addressing concerns based on previous testimony. 

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Renewable Energy Standard (H.289) - April 19, 2024

Senator Bray announced on Friday morning that the Senate Natural Resources Committee was resuming its work on H.289, which increases the targets of the state’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES).

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Climate Change Cost Recovery (S.259) - April 18, 2024

Thursday afternoon the House Environment Energy Committee took up S.259 and the Committee's amendment to the bill. The bill creates a Climate Change Cost Recovery Program which allows the state to sue fossil fuel companies for damages using an “emissions factor” for greenhouse gas emissions the company’s products produced. Investments by municipalities to make sure communities are resilient to the impacts of climate change would be eligible for funds from this super fund.

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Housing Inventory Study - April 17, 2024

Chairwoman Ram Hinsdale opened testimony in the Senate Economic Development Committee on Wednesday afternoon saying that she wanted context on the “current unmet housing need.”

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Act 250 Overhaul (S.311/H.687) - April 17, 2024

Senator Bray opened up the Senate Natural Resources Committee meeting on Wednesday morning by stating that they are “evaluating elements” of S.311 to be integrated into H.687. Indicating that the plan was to vote the bill out today while they wait for “Counsel makes any changes… for things that we can resolve, non-showstopper issues… the plan is to set aside a basket of those, and we will have about a week during which Senate Economic Development will evaluate.”  See draft 3.1.

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