The purpose, as laid out in the bill, is to:
- Enable legislators to participate in any flexible spending account program offered to State employees for health care and dependent care expenses, but NOT State health insurance.
- Base legislators’ compensation on the mean Vermont wage.
- Provide annual compensation to the Speaker and Pro Tempore, chairs of the standing committees of the House and Senate and majority and minority leaders.
- Provide legislators compensation for us to 20 days of work during adjournment
- Allow legislators to choose whether to receive their payments for meals and lodging expenses as an allowance, which may be treated as income subject to tax for federal and state income tax purposes or as reimbursement of actual expenses, which may be excluded from income for federal and state income tax purposes.
- Provide a stipend for members-elect to attend orientation programs.
- Expand the legislative leave of absence law to allow members to take a leave of absence from any job, not only a full-time job in order to serve in the General Assembly
- Create the temporary Legislative Service Working Group to consider and make recommendations on issues involving legislative compensation and benefits, staffing, administrative support, the length of the legislative session and equalizing the number of members per legislative district in each House.
The summary of the bill went on to focus on four parts as follows:
- Flex Spending and Employee Assistance Program
This allows legislators to access employee assistance programs.
- Compensation and Expenses
- Modified compensation for the Speak of the House, President Pro Tempore of the Senate
- Chairs of Standing Committees and Majority and Minority Leaders
- Modify Compensation for Representatives and Senators
- Modifies compensation for Chairs of Standing Committees and Majority and Minority Leaders
- The Speaker of the House and President Pro Tempore cannot be compensated for their roles and a committee chair or majority/minority leader or for their roles And that of a regular legislator
- Regular session compensation is changed from a weekly rate of $589.00 to 1/52 of the mean Vermont wage.
- Special session compensation is added and will be l/5 portion of the regular session weekly adjusted compensation for each day of a special session.
- Additional compensation during adjournment is added and will be l/5 of the regular session weekly compensation for up to 20 additional days of work in their official capacity.
- Mileage & Expenses
No changes except legislators can opt to receive either a meals allowance or reimbursement of actual meals expenses. Same with lodging.
- Orientation & Training
The bill creates an orientation stipend for members-elect and will be l/5 portion of the regular session weekly adjusted compensation for each day of attendance at an orientation program for new legislators organized by the General Assembly and its staff.
- Legislative Leave from Employment
Legislators shall be entitled to a temporary or partial leave of absence from any full-time employment position
- Legislative Service Working Group
group will consider and make recommendation on issues involving legislative compensation and benefits, staffing, administrative support, the length of the legislative session and the number of members in each House and number of members per district a outlined in Part 4.
If passed, this legislation would go into effect on January 1, 2025 except for the Working Group which would be created upon passage.
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