Clean Heat Standard (S.5) - Feb. 8, 2023

The Senate Natural Resources Committee returned to testimony on S.5 Wednesday, hearing from Judy Dow (Executive Director, Gedakina) who called out the Committee for listening to “only Jared Duval.” Listening to only one story is a mistake. 

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Public Tuitioning Bill - Feb. 8, 2023

The House Education Committee met on Wednesday morning to discuss an outline of the potential committee bill around Vermont’s town tuitioning program.

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Senate Omnibus Housing Bill - Feb 8th, 2023

The Senate Economic Development Committee heard from Maura Collins on Wednesday about Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) funds.

Key Takeaways:

  • VHFA is proposing a revolving loan fund as a less-complex alternative to LIHTC.
  • Employers from all industries are getting squeezed by the housing crisis.
  • Construction costs have doubled since 2016.
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Vermont State Colleges Reporting Bill - Feb. 7, 2023

Legislative counsel reviewed the House Education Committee bill changes (Draft 1.1) on Tuesday that deals with reporting for the Vermont State Colleges (VSC). It is very similar to the house passed version of H.456 in 2022.

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Special Education at Independent Schools - Feb. 7, 2023

Meg Kenny (Associate Head, Burr and Burton Academy) and Dr. Mat Forest (Director of Special Services, St. Johnsbury Academy) provided testimony on Tuesday to the House Education Committee. Chairman Conlon introduced the guests and the current discussion about Approved Independent Schools. He requested witnesses to explain how the system works from their experience, explaining that the Committee was still learning about Act 173, so their input is valued.

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Clean Heat Standard (S.5) - Feb. 7, 2023

The Senate Natural Resources Committee kicked off the week hearing from Kathy Beyer (Senior Vice President of Real Estate Development, Evernorth). Evernorth is working in ME, NH, and VT and consider themselves leaders in energy efficiency and renewables – connecting apartment units to advanced wood heating systems, solar hot water, solar PV, geothermal and heat pumps. They are focused on energy equity, which, according to Beyer, Vermont lags behind on implementation of energy equity. Other states in the region are ahead of us. 

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FY2024 School Spending Update - Feb. 7, 2023

Brad James (Director of Finance, Agency of Education) provided the House Ways & Means Committee with an update on school budgets. The December letter from the Tax Commissioner estimated an 8.52% increase in spending over FY2023. James has heard from about 20% of schools about their budgets (as passed by school boards) as of right now, budgets are coming back closer to 9%.

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House Appropriations Review of Green Mountain Care Board

The Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) met with the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday to present their budget for 2024. The new Chairman, Owen Foster, introduced the current Board, which includes Jessica Holmes, Robin Lunge, David Murman, Thom Walsh, and Susan Barrett.

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Legislative Update - February 5, 2023

Fuel dealers and heat pump installers launched an impassioned plea this week for the Senate to abandon the Clean Heat Standard as it is currently conceived. They stressed that installing heat pump systems, as the bill envisions, is much more costly than existing fossil fuel systems and they are more expensive to operate in cold temperatures. They claim that Vermonters do not want this and there are other ways to reduce net carbon emissions that are less costly and easier to implement. Will the Senate listen?

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ACTION ALERT: Senate Vote on S.5

Action Alert!

 

Friends, the Senate is voting TODAY on a bill to introduce a carbon pricing scheme for home heating fuels that the Scott Administration says will increase the cost of heating fuels at least $0.70 per gallon. This morning I sent the letter below to all our Senators, but we need you to speak out as well. NOW is the time to make your voice heard. If carbon pricing on heating fuels will hurt your family's financial stability, Senators need to hear from you!

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