S.11 started out life as three separate bills - S.11, H.159, and H.703. In the final weeks of the legislature they were merged into one omnibus economic and workforce development bill. The goals of the bill are:
- Expand opportunities for workforce education, training, and development for Vermonters and to make meaningful investments to support and expand the workforce across the State
- Ensure that all Vermonters, and particularly marginalized populations, have the opportunity to benefit from the financial and programmatic benefits being made available.
The major factors that this bill is trying to address is a shortage of 28K workers (largely resulting from 26K workers leaving the workforce since 2019) and a workforce participation rate that has fallen to just over 60%.
In furthering our vision of an informed and active electorate, we are providing this summaries of key bills considered during the 2022 legislative session. S.11 is one of these.
S.11 Bill Summary
- Appropriates $2.5M for the UVM Office of Engagement to coordinate with the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation to create a forgivable loan program where students could apply for up to $5k to stay in Vermont for two years after graduation.
- $420K for education and vocational training for incarcerated persons to increase the likelihood of obtaining gainful employment and positive societal contribution upon reintegration into the community
- A new pilot project is created to design and implement a Industry-Recognized Credential program for secondary students. The programming would be accessible through Career and Technical Education Centers and allows the state to reimburse op to $20K in tuition costs.
- The Vermont Trades Scholarship program would be created to cover licensing fees, exam fees, and tuition reimbursement for training and certification programs in trade industries such as weatherization, transportation, emergency services, or a number of other sectors.
- A new program for Career and Technical Education (CTE) students in building trades would allocate $15M in funding to acquire properties for rehab. The goals of this program are to provide on-the-job learning environments to CTE students and also bring more housing units online (particularly ones that have fallen into disrepair).
- $500k for AHS to support retention of refugees
- $250K to ACCD for business coaching for BIPOC business owners
- $9M was appropriated to the Vermont Arts Council to keep creative economy businesses going.
- Forest Future Strategic Roadmap - Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation.
- The bill would create a study committee to evaluate opportunities for the state in the film and media industry.
Workforce and Job Training
- Creates the Workforce Expansion and Development Oversight Committee to focus on better coordinating the state's workforce development programs
- Appropriates $1.5M for a two-year pilot program for a coordinated regional system to increase the local labor participation rate, decrease the number of unfilled positions, increase wages, and develop local career pathways
- Requests a report from the Secretary of Human Services on a plan to improve recruitment and retention of correctional officers
- A program to assist the Agency of Human Services and their designated agencies with workforce development was created with a $1.25M appropriation.
- $1.8M in new funding for the Serve, Learn, and Earn program that helps incarcerated Vermonters build job skills.
- The Agency of Human Services was tasked with reporting on workforce development and workforce supply gains and areas of need.
- Creates a statewide platform to available employers to list internships and other work-training opportunities through the Department of Labor with $1.5M in funding.
- A $150K appropriation was made to the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation to increase public awareness of the state's post-secondary educational opportunities and alignment of programs across different providers.
- The Agency of Digital Services and the Commissioner of Labor were tasked with updating the IT systems for the UI program, submitting a written report in January 2023.
- Adds penalties up to $1,000 per phone call for any person who makes automated/pre-recorded phone calls to Vermont residents.
Health Care and Nutrition
- The Department of Health will be tasked with making sure active or prospective emergency services personnel are aware of and able to access professional development resources that are currently available.
- To support a shortage of health care workers, $2.4M is appropriated to increase compensation for nurse training faculty, staff, and preceptors. An additional $2.5M is appropriated for employer-based education and training programs and professional development.
- To further support health care workers, a forgivable loan program (with a $960K appropriation) would be created through the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation for students attending a nursing program at one of Vermont's colleges. A second program for mental health professionals would also be created with a $1.5M appropriation.
- Similarly, in addition to the forgivable loan program. The bill creates a loan repayment program for health care workers to replay student loans with a $3M appropriation.
- The Everyone Eats program, which pairs restaurants with food shelters, received an additional $1.3M in funding.
- A new paid sick leave program was created to help cover employer costs of keeping employees on payroll while dealing with Covid-19 infections.
- Creates a massive new program to replace the ARPA grant program that was underutilized last year and restructures it as a forgivable loan program run by the Vermont Economic Development Authority. All remaining funds in the old program were transferred to the new one (roughly $25M) and $19M in new ARPA funds were added.
- A new relocating worker incentive program was created that allows up to $7.5K in reimbursement for moving expenses if a person is moving to Vermont to work for an employer based here or they are bringing a remote job with them. Over $3M was appropriated for this purpose.
- The Vermont Downtown and Village Tax Credit Program received $2.5M in funding over the next two years to incentivize housing projects in urban areas.
- The Unemployment Insurance (UI) program supplemental benefits were renewed, adding a $25 per week in additional UI benefits.
- $387k to Vermont Technical College for a meat cutter program
- Asks for a study on sports betting legalization and forms a Committee to look at implementation of a tax and regulate system.
Updates From the Last 6 Weeks of the Legislative Session
April 3rd Update - Workforce Development Components (H.703)
The Senate Economic Development Committee did an initial review of H.703 on Friday. Sarah Buxton (State Director of Workforce Development, Department of Labor) presented comprehensive feedback on the bill. One of her main asks was restoring the original $1.2M in funding for new regional workforce development support specialists. The Department of Labor (DOL) is concerned about the “great resignation, mass retirements” and other shifts in with the changing dynamic of supply and demand.
DOL, VBSR, and others are working with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston on a summer study group on workforce development. The bill also includes funding for Relocation Support Specialists to provide career counseling, employment and non-employment referrals, make warm handoffs, and remain part of the relocation team for any individual until they are no longer needed. Buxton refers to this as a “concierge” approach to address needs statewide.
Clarkson asks about department's IT upgrades and other ways the Senate has supported integrated service improvements recently. There is a new tracking & referral system which will be built out with internship, apprenticeship and other Advance Vermont programs integrated at both offices and the IT portal.
There are four main programs included in the bill:
- Paid Work-Based Learning & Training (WBLT) Program - $1M base budget
- Combines the current internship and returnship programs within DOL
- This increased investment will support Vermont’s workforce and employers through on-the-job training. However, there is some new language being introduced to avoid exploitative practices around using interns as underpaid employees.
- There is also $100K included for employer start-up grants which encourage participation from smaller employers who may not have the resources to initiate an internship program.
- During the 2021 session, the legislature appropriated $2M for DOL apprenticeship expansion activities. To date, DOL has not fully spent this appropriation.
- They are seeking to carry forward up to $1M.
- The program took longer to get off the ground than anticipated, but they are fully operational now.
- They received initial approval from both the Feds and the finance department to roll forward.
- Vermont Trades Scholarship and Reimbursement Program.
- DOL supports this program and will work with VSAC to administer.
- This program would reimburse loans for trade school education.
- Secondary Student Industry-Recognized Credential Pilot Program
- DOL supports this program and will work with the Agency of Education to administer.
- We will use existing funds for this fiscal year.
April 3rd Update - Economic Development Components (H.159)
The House Commerce Committee took up H.159 on Thursday, even though the bill officially lives in the Senate still. Cassie Polhemus (Chief Executive Officer, Vermont Economic Development Authority) reviewed the impacts the new mechanism for helping to deploy the ARPA recovery monies that had yet to be spent. The previous program through ACCD was too restrictive and businesses weren't able to access. We detailed these changes extensively in our March 27th update.
Chairman Marcotte is concerned these forgivable loans are similar to the Bridge Grants and the funds will not end up going anywhere. Polhemus responded that the Bridge Grant program qualification was based on net income and some businesses struggled to show economic losses based on this criteria even though they were clearly impacted by the pandemic.
There were some concerns about fraud raised by the Committee but Polhemus was able to convince them that the VEDA process was rigorous and they had experience enough to handle this program and that it would meet federal criteria.
The bill was taken up later in the week by the Senate Finance Committee. They did a walk through of the bill and there were questions about what the impact of the previous Bridge Grant program have been. The Committee wants to be sure that VEDA will figure out how to issue these loans more effectively. There was some skepticism of how well ACCD managed the previous program.
April 10th Update - Workforce Development Components (H.703)
The Senate Economic Development Committee came back to H.703 on Thursday. The Vermont State Colleges (VSC) testified that the state needs to address both the student pipeline and the faculty and teacher pipeline. Multiple sectors in the economy are experiencing worker shortages. There was also much concern around the lack of teachers and health care providers. VSC is ramping up new program and career pathways programs to address these.
There is funding in the bill for VSC, UVM, and private colleges to engage on filling this need.
April 10th Update - Economic Development Components (H.159)
Senator Pearson offered an amendment to S.248 on Thursday around project-based TIFs. The amendment would fix reporting requirements that were different than the typical TIF process and were to be completed by contractors. Also, it would re-instate audits from the State Auditor's office. He also addressed a shift in the bill from the House that relaxed requirements for regular TIF districts; he wants to undo those.
The Senate Finance Committee is likely to support those changes, most of the conversation on Friday focused on the TIF language in the bill.
April 17th Update - Economic Development Components (H.159)
While the Senate still holds onto H.159, the House Commerce Committee began taking testimony on the bill again this week. Cassie Polhemus (CEO, Vermont Economic Development Authority) shared with the Committee that the reason for the new VEDA grant program is to assist businesses that “are suffering or have economic harm as a result of Covid-19 so they can be on sound economic footing moving forward.” The qualification parameters that now include “50% or more decrease in Net Operating Income from 2021” constrains the funds meant to assist damaged businesses. Removing these criteria will help a lot to address businesses that still are eligible under the remaining criteria for the program. The Committee seems interested in this proposal.
There was some concern about the caps in the bill and how many businesses would hit them. The maximum grant size is $500k or six months of operating expenses, whichever is lower. No one seemed to have an answer on how many businesses would hit these. There was interest in evaluating multiplier effect of these loans, particularly for larger businesses. There was a question about the businesses' ability to keep employees and to employ more in the future. VEDA may be asked to come back with reporting to this effect.
Betsy Bishop (President, Vermont Chamber of Commerce) agrees with Polhemus that Vermont businesses will benefit greatly from the raised caps and simplifications to eligibility are welcomed. Small businesses have the need, the impact will be welcomed. She was very complimentary about VEDA's recent systemic changes and admitted to having been skeptical early on about the CRF being a loan system. VEDA's outstanding work around the forgiveness aspects of the loan program has built trust within the business community.
She also pointed to the diversity and inclusion, climate goals, and other efforts as things we need to market as “good things we are doing” as a state to attract people to move here. We need to attract people here, but we also need to retain them to fully capitalize on our efforts. She mentioned some of the work that is being done with H.703. To that end, two years ago the Futures Project found that every student who wanted an internship had one, but only 26% of Vermont jobs need a 4 year degree. This means there is a lot of room for upskilling outside of traditional college.
Also discussed were disincentives around returning to work because of lack of childcare. Bishop acknowledged this, but also pointed to the “inertia in our lives” that will prevent some of these changes. Some workers have become used to staying home.
Austin Davis (Government Affairs Manager, Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce) agreed with her on nearly every point. He was grateful for the overall package (S.226, H.703, etc.). He has lots of respect and confidence in VEDA to administer the flexibility within this bill. This bill, along with workforce and housing issues dealt with in other bills, are "priming the pump" for economic growth in Vermont.
Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) and Main Street Alliance also supported the VEDA program and were excited to see the minimum wage provisions in the bill. However, they asked the Committee to consider creating a replacement for the federal FCCRA program that covered health care and payroll costs related to Covid-19 absenteeism.
The Senate voted in favor of H.159 on Friday, but an amendment is expected to be offered prior to final passage on Tuesday.
April 24th Update - Economic Development Components (H.159)
Originally, H.159 was supposed to go to the Senate floor on Tuesday, but amendments were offered that caused a delay. Senator White requested that all remaining Vermont Yankee economic development funds and loan servicing be transferred to the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation to administer. She believed they could do a better job managing these revolving loan funds because they know Windham County the best.
The second amendment offered was around sports betting. The department of Liquor and Lottery is requesting the creation of this program to "revenue share" with online sports betting. The goal is to replace revenue loss from the lottery system. We cover more of this below.
The bill passed unanimously on voice vote Thursday after Senator Sirotkin withdrew his amendment around sports betting (it seems likely the House will take this up). Both he and Senator Brock introduced anew amendment with a State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction for pass-through businesses incorporated in the state. These sorts of amendments allow business owners to avoid being double-taxed if they operate in multiple states.
After the scramble in the Senate, the House Commerce Committee took up H.159 on Thursday. Wendy Knight (Commissioner, Department of Liquor & Lottery) shared that they were working with Senator Sirotkin and likely the study around sports betting will be replaced with an implementation plan to take advantage of the NFL playoff season. The proposal may become part of H.730 or included in this bill. The Agency of Commerce and Community Development prefers a “revenue sharing” model (like New Hampshire) which captures 51% of net revenue.
Vice-Chair Kimbell reminded the Committee they are simply doing due diligence regarding the issue in case it remains in H.159. They will be coming back to the House for review but may end up as a conference committee topic. Knight provided an overview of pros and cons regarding abuse and addiction as well advertising guidelines which would be adopted by the Department through rulemaking. As with liquor and lottery, there will be education around responsible consumption of these products.
They are anticipating $2M revenue the first year, depending on the final revenue share. Knight noted that the customer base for the sports betting market is completely different than lottery, saying that "lower-middle income folks in a grocery store buy lottery tickets, while the sports betting audience is male and college educated." The lottery revenue stream is currently dwindling after a boom during the Covid-19 lockdowns and she attributes these changes to reductions in “disposable discretionary income” and pointed to the advent of sports betting to help offset these deficits.
The Joint Fiscal Office gave a great overview of the spending items in the bill and their likely economic and fiscal impacts. Some programs, such as the paid sick leave reimbursement, are very difficult to forecast because a new Covid surge could totally blow projections out of the water.
There was some interesting discussion about minimum wage. It was pointed out that inflation can actually decrease minimum wage, although these impacts tend to average out over a few years. While there are no definitely numbers, minimum wage increases will push some low-income workers off of federal benefits which may create a net-decrease in their income. JFO also predicts a net decrease in federal aid dollars coming into the state. However, the delay in getting census data prohibits them from forecasting an actual number. Because inflation is so high, we may actually hit the 5% inflationary cap on the CPI adjusted minimum wage and we would reach the $15 per hour threshold just as fast as if we artificially raised it.
Also hotly debated was the controversial worker relocation grants. JFO and other economists stated that they did not have clear data to evaluate ROI on these programs, but that the highest income earners (who net the state the most tax revenue) do not participate in relocation programs. Doug Hoffer (state Auditor) repeated his skepticism of the meaningful effects of the program. Relocated workers are not building new homes so it is displacement, not replacement, substitution not addition and their incomes should be seen as similar if they afford the same homes (essentially we are just replacing people who leave the state, not adding new workers). He would eliminate about $10M in spending between this program and the Tourism & Marketing budget.
Tom Kavet (state economist) favors the unspent federal Covid-19 relief dollars being structured as “forgivable loans” that act like grants. He doubts they will see it “oversubscribed” because the many recovered areas in the economy include recreation & tourism services. He hopes these will provide a lifeline to these few who have not bounced back as of yet. The advantage of having VEDA administer them is that their existing guidelines should allow them to administer this program and remain responsive.
Hoffer also voiced his regular concerns about TIF districts (there is a project-based TIF program in this bill that was debated last year and is now included here). Aside from accountability concerns, he argued that “a project based TIF system” is not simple and requires a great deal of staff time (both for the municipality and his office as well). If the legislature adopts a different approach, like a revolving loan fund as he proposes, he is happy to help and thinks it will save the state money.
Later on in the day Abbie Sherman (Executive Director, Vermont Economic Progress Council) defended TIFs and showed the Committee a map with existing TIF districts, along with Towns that have shown interest and also some projects she has identified that would possibly benefit from project-based TIFs (AKA mini-TIFs). One of the major benefits of TIFs is that they allow for grant program matches while also accessing revolving loan funds (the TIF doesn't count as either).
The scale of the project-based TIF program is much smaller than a TIF district and they can be manageable for smaller towns that wouldn't be able to take advantage of a full TIF district. She suggested amending the bill to only require two audits instead of three to limit cost and complexity for municipalities. She also rejected the revolving loan fund idea because it would lead a radical rise user fees that TIF's can help offset because it isn’t a simple loan program.
As the Committee was resuming testimony in the afternoon, they received word that the Senate had passed the bill - hearing that Sirotkin had withdrawn his sports betting amendment but that SALT amendment had passed.
The Committee briefly discussed the worker relocation program and the consensus was that if there was pushback on the House floor or in the conference committee with the Senate they would likely drop that provision. No one felt strongly about defending it. However, that was a sentiment that we should be gaining insights around why folks leave, maybe even commission a study of that.
They moved on to discuss the $4.2M in funding for regional concierge services for workforce development and recruitment. There was concern that the funds may not be enough set up an entire statewide system and perhaps they would be better used to create services in regions that have none currently. There was additional concern that these programs may have little to show in the form of data to evaluate performance.
Chairman Marcotte expressed uncertainty around why we even need look at minimum wage again because the markets are adjusting it already; he is afraid we are only adding more challenges for small businesses on top of the inflationary pressures and potential upcoming recession. The Committee was split, but seems in favor of leaving it in the bill even though there isn't a strong push for it.
Before adjourning, the Committee decided to axe the Film & Media Task Force and a few study committees they didn't feel were necessary.
May 1st Update - Workforce Development Components (H.703)
When the Senate Economic Development Committee took up H.703 on Tuesday, they expressed frustration at the lack of direction in the overall system (something CFV has pointed to for years). Senator Clarkson called it an "octopus without a head" and an "orchestra with no conductor." While they are impressed with the Department of Labor (DOL) stepping up to coordinate many of these new programs, they still feel a "conductor" is needed at this time.
Kendal Smith acknowledged their concerns and noted that the House also suggested a similar concept previously. She asked the Committee to be more specific about the goals and outcomes they want to see prioritized by the new programs offered in the bill. She and others in the Governor’s office coordinate directly with DOL and others involved.
Clarkson argued we should have seen these needs before and we should “be setting goals and pulling these people all together to address this workforce shortage." She is concerned that “there is no one holding peoples toes to the fire except [the legislature] and we only have 4-1/2 months per year." We agree with this, there seems to be little to no accountability for all the workforce dollars we spend and programs we offer.
Chairman Sirotkin strongly agreed. He almost gave up on workforce efforts because of the "potpourri" of programs. He asserted that “if the private sector had all this money they would find a way to maximize these dollars and these people." He feels very strongly they need an appointed directed person or entity who that can get this straightened out (yes!).
Senator Brock also agreed the lack of accomplishment is difficult but worried that “adding another body to this circus of confusion… will just add to it.” His preference is for the administration to appoint someone to oversee this better, perhaps even a professional consultant, but it is incumbent on the Administration to further this.
Smith agreed the Governor could do that under current laws and executive authority. The funds come and go, so consistency has been hard to come by. The Administration would prefer the funds be used adequate flexibility to ensure they can be used effectively under changing conditions. She suggested that the burdens come from the legislature and that they need to step up the staffing behind their demands for results. Currently Sara Buxton is leading the Administration's workforce development efforts and Dustin Degree is deputy Commissioner of DOL.
While it is well known that medical professionals, such as nurses, are in short supply, last week EMS providers also raised the alarm about dwindling ranks. They are asking for additional funding for training programs because despite the nearly $1M allocated last year they still lost over 100 EMS providers statewide. Additionally they want more supplemental operating funds for EMS services as most operate a loss. They are asking the legislature for $1.2M in training funds, plus supplemental wages for EMS workers.
Christine Hallquist (Executive Director, Vermont Community Broadband Board) pitched the Committee on a revolving "pay it forward" workforce development fund that they initially developed for fiber technicians, but could be used in a number of workforce development areas. The Committee did not have time for discussion on Wednesday but wants to come back to this concept.
May 8th Update
The Accessory Dwelling Unit language that was in the bill is now in S.234 and the section on wastewater connection permits was removed entirely, the Committee is trying to insert those provisions into S.11 in the Conference Committee.
In a last minute move, the House rolled large sections of both H.703 and H.159 into a bill that had been sitting on the wall - S.11. Weird things happen at the end of the legislative session...
The bill as passed by the House on Tuesday and the Senate called for a Conference Committee, which began meeting during the second half of the week.
A useful side-by-side analysis was put together by legislative counsel, but here are the highlights:
- The House version of the bill did not include CTE funding and governance (currently in H.703)
- A study looking at governance structures for CTE was removed by the House (Currently in H.703 and S.287)
- The Senate version of the bill has an Educator Workforce Development report included (not anywhere else currently)
- The House included a Secondary Student Industry-Recognized Credential Pilot Program (not anywhere else currently)
- The Vermont Trades Loan Reimbursement Program was introduced in the House version of the bill
- An EMS outreach program, coordinated through several state agencies, was introduced in the Senate version of the bill
- The House included a section on early childhood education
- The Senate included a section requiring the Agency of Human Services to catalog all education program made available to its employees
- A forgivable loan program for mental health professionals was introduced in the Senate version of the bill with $1.5M in funding
- A program for training in the Agency of Human services and Designated Agencies was introduced in the Senate version with $2.5M in funding
- The House version requires a report from the Office of Professional Regulation about barriers to mental health licensure.
- New relocated worker incentives was introduced in the Senate version of the bill that would allow up to $7500 in moving expenses to be reimbursed
- The Senate version of the bill includes a project-based tax increment financing proposal that narrowly missed getting approval last year.
There also changes in the Senate bill for EMS, CTE, and nurses that were cut in the Senate version of the bill (noted above).
The Senate version modified the Capital Investment Grant Program significantly, with guidelines and oversight that differs from the House version. Policy goals are not dissimilar but they removed the data modeling from the Joint Fiscal Office and put implementation in the hands of agencies.
The most substantive addition is that municipalities with stagnant or declining grand list values and can access these funds to help reverse that trend with infrastructure development. The Vermont Economic Progress Council (VEPC) would be involved and the qualifications would mirror TIF and VEGI programs that are already in place. Policy-makers believe towns will be competing at a high level for these monies.
VT Film & Media Task Force was not included in House bill. This will be a point of discussion for the Conference Committee.
There were some technical changes with the Paid Leave Grant Programs between the two versions. The program would partially reimburse employers who provide paid leave to employees who are out of work because of Covid. More significantly, the Senate version included a minimum wage increase to $15 by January 1, 2024. It's debatable whether or not this would actually be an increase because if they had left wages tagged to the consumer price index it might actually hit sooner than that. This "increase" may actually have the opposite effect of slowing down the growth in minimum wage.
May 15th Update
The Conference Committee met all week on S.11, the "new" omnibus economic and workforce development bill. There was some disagreement about what the State and Local Tax deduction (SALT) amendment from the Senate would cost, but generally projections are in the $8-9M range. The Tax Commissioner presented a slide that framed the problem well. His solution was to offer a 90% credit so the state doesn't lose revenue but the taxpayer still gets a break on federal taxes.
The bill would appropriate $19M in General Fund revenues and $65.5M in ARPA funds. There are over 30 line item expenditures, but a full list can be found here.
The Senate felt that the need for paid leave related to health care was overstated so they asked to put that money into the Capital Investment Program. They also the cut the “Everyone Eats” program supporting restaurants and farmers to help feed the hungry. They agreed that it’s a good program and gets 100% federal matched, but they heard almost no testimony supporting the current need for it.
By Monday evening the Committee began marking up the bill.
- The House struck out the section on CTE funding and governance. Not interested in compromising?
- House struck out educator workforce development program
- The House preferred a task force instead of a new state office to manage workforce development programs
- The House agreed to keep the senate's Work-Based Training program, but also wanted to keep their Secondary Student Credential Pilot Project
- The House wanted to keep their trades loan reimbursement program with a $500K appropriation
- The Think Vermont regional recruitment effort was struck by the House but the Senate wanted to keep the program
- The House also wanted to get rid of the project-based TIF provisions that failed to pass last year
They agreed to delete the UI benefit bump that was in the bill because there is still $100M allocated from last year that hasn't been spent yet. They reshuffled the $8M from that into various other programs in the bill. The $15M for Career and Technical Education that was in the House Version of the bill held (a win!).
There was an adjustment to the VEDA Short Term Forgivable Loans that are meant to backfill small business cashflow lost due to the pandemic. The qualification threshold was set at a 22.5% reduction in adjusted net operating income (NOI). This will also be the basis for calculating the loan amount that businesses are eligible for. The loss in NOI must be due to “the COVID 19 public health emergency.”
The Committee finally got to the original content of the bill, which dealt with robocalls (as a reminder, they rolled H.703 and H.159 into this bill last week). The Administration wanted more time to review the recent SCOTUS decisions so they could implement the bill more seamlessly. Senator Brock offered that an effective date for one year out would allow for the administrative adjustments early in the next legislative session.
There were also questions about automatic dialing equipment usage as it seemed those devices might be prohibited under the bill. Legislative counsel is working on language to address that.
The bill appeared on the House Floor Wednesday where the Conference Committee members shared the updates and changes agreed upon with the Senate. The fiscal note was distributed to members, detailing the $99.5M in appropriations. It also re-appropriates $25.5M in ARPA revenues.
One member was frustrated by the "glaring omission" of no raise in the minimum wage. But others were happy that the bill "does in fact support all Vermonters as we emerge successfully from this pandemic." The bill was adopted by voice vote.
The Senate also voted to adopt S.11 on Wednesday and the bill will now be sent to the Governor for signature.
The bill is currently pending delivery to the Governor
Page last updated 6/1/2022
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