This is from the April 16, 2022, update from the Vermont Independent Schools Association.
A bill to address concerns about public tuition payments to religious independent schools appears not to have gained traction in the House Education Committee. After the Senate Education Committee labored on S.219 for several weeks the bill subsequently easily passed the full Senate. After briefly examining the bill House Ed members seemed unenthusiastic about taking it up fully, especially at this later stage in the legislative session. The bill was not on the committee’s agenda this week nor has it (yet) appeared on next week’s agenda. With few weeks remaining, the bill may die from committee inaction.
Cross-Chamber Changes and Veto Pen Propensity Create Adjournment Hurdles
Large gaps remain to be closed between the House, Senate and Administration on several issues, as legislators look to the final three or four weeks of the legislative session. The appearance that things are unlikely to come together is often the case at this stage, but then they do (usually). This year’s political dynamics are particularly challenging.
In each of these instances the House has served up their version, the Senate spent the week responding and the Governor is actively reminding both that their visions do not align with his and that his veto pen means he has the final say.
Budget – the House budget came to the Senate with deficits and no revenue for the child tax credit. This week, the Senate Appropriations Committee worked to curtail some of their chamber’s legislation and continued to lean on the Senate Finance Committee to find more revenue. The Administration from the sidelines has remained adamant that new revenue is not necessary.
Tax Relief – The debate continues on how best to spend $50 million in tax relief. The Senate Finance Committee is still grappling with this discussion. Now the Senate Committee on Finance has been forced to play King Solomon and split the packages.
Tax Revenue – while the House and Senate differ on where to find new revenue and how much to raise, the Governor has said he’s not willing to raise any in a year with record surpluses.
Economic and workforce development packages – Collisions between House and Senate priorities occurred in committees this week. Resolutions have not occurred.
Housing bills – while making their way towards final passage, a committee of jurisdiction decided to retain controversial sections that would make the overall bill a veto target.
New Challenges Around Pupil Weighting – The House has made changes to the per-pupil weighting bill sent to them by the Senate, which are not proving popular since they would recreate the chasm between districts with more English Language Learners (ELL) and the rest of the state.