BE Home Bill (S.311) - Feb 16, 2024

Chairwoman Ram Hinsdale reminded the Senate Economic Development Committee about the Housing Survey from the HOME Act in order to know “roughly how much housing we are creating through our funding mechanisms.” She preferred to add language to S.311 least referencing a “healthy vacancy rates… about 5% for rental unit vacancy and 23% for home ownership vacancy…”

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Education Spending (H.850) - Feb 16, 2024

On Friday afternoon, Chairwoman Cummings started out the Senate Finance Committee’s review of H.850 by stating that further action would be necessary because “the cost per pupil that is going up in a lot of cases, not your actual spending.” Legislators are looking at school budget spending caps but there are different ways of containing costs.

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Nonresident Property Tax Surcharge (H.608) - Feb 16, 2024

Representative Howard introduced H.608 to the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday morning.  She said it was to help her address the increased crime in the community.  She proposed to put a modest 0.05% property tax surcharge on absentee landlords who do not live in the community.  The money would be used to increase public safety and improve blighted buildings (those that are vacant or abandoned).

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CTE Governance (S.207) - Feb 15, 2024

The Senate Education Committee reviewed S.207 on Thursday Afternoon. The bill requires the Secretary of Education to provide the Legislature with a report and recommendations on governance structures for Vermont’s CTE system by February 1, 2024. The report shall include all information and recommendations necessary to complete the Agency’s work as required under Act 127, Sec. 17.

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Pathways to College - Feb 14, 2024

Joyce Judy (President, Community College of Vermont) told the House Education Committee on Wednesday that CCV is one of two institutions which make up the Vermont State Colleges. They complement each other and present a strong system where 95% of students are Vermonters. They actively serve about 10,000 Vermonters – some are full time and some are just taking one course.

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Vermont Housing & Conservation Coalition - Feb 14, 2024

Lauren Oates introduced a number of colleagues on Wednesday morning to help explain the work they do with Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB) funding across Vermont. Michael Monte (CEO, Champlain Housing Trust) reviewed a slide deck profiling a number of projects they have worked on. The three projects reviewed will total 1750 homes over time and about 650 will remain perpetually affordable. None of them would have been possible without the support of VHCB.

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Statewide Code of Ethics - Feb 14, 2024

Chairman McCarthy noted that the House Government Operations Committee would be reviewing Draft 3.2 of the state ethics bill on Wednesday morning and asked Legislative Counsel to review the changes made to previous draft. 

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Better Places Program - Feb 14, 2024

Richard Amore (Planning & Outreach Manager, Department of Housing & Community Development) presented a slide deck to the House Commerce Committee on Wednesday morning.

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VSAC and VSC Residency Requirements - Feb 14, 2024

The House Education Committee reviewed H.817 on Wednesday afternoon. This bill would prohibit the Vermont State Colleges policies regarding residency for tuition purposes from discriminating or excluding a person based solely on the person’s immigration status. This bill also proposes to require the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) to make state-funded financial aid available to all persons who meet the definition of resident, regardless of the person’s immigration status.

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Future of Education Spending - Feb 13, 2024

On Tuesday afternoon, Chairman Conlon kicked off the House Education Committee by stating “we are at a major inflection point, crisis point, crossroads, whatever we want to call it, and we need to start having pretty broad conversations in this committee with people who are big thinkers in this area.” He indicated that they should be thinking about the tools they have available to deal with the major increase in spending on education.

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