Editor’s note: The following is from the Campaign for Vermont April 3 newsletter.
Friend, what is the legislature going to pass this year? Now that the dust is settling on the legislature’s crossover deadline, we can say with a little more certainty.
If a bill does not make crossover it will likely have to wait until next year for final passage. That being said, making the crossover deadline does not guarantee a bill will pass or that it won’t change significantly before it does. So, now that that’s out of the way. What bills have already made crossover you ask? Here is a breakdown.
Passed by both chambers:
S.14 – An act relating to deed restrictions and housing density
H.138 – An act relating to fiscal year 2021 budget adjustments
S.9 – An act relating to extending certain workers’ compensation amendments related to COVID-19
Extends worker compensation to employees who contract Covid-19
Makes frontline workers families eligible to compensation in the event of death
H.48 – An act relating to authorizing alternative procedures for 2021 annual municipal meetings in response to COVID-19
H.81 – An act relating to statewide public school employee health benefits
S.110 – An act relating to extending eligibility for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
The House has passed:
H.10 – An act relating to permitted candidate expenditures
Allows campaign funds to be used for the care of dependent family members of the candidate
H.18 – An act relating to sexual exploitation of children
H.20 – An act relating to pretrial risk assessments and pretrial services
H.46 – An act relating to miscellaneous provisions of mental health law
H.87 – An act relating to establishing a classification system for criminal offenses
H.88 – An act relating to certification of agricultural use for purposes of the use value appraisal program
H.89 – An act relating to limiting liability for agritourism
Protects farmers from liability related injury or death from being near or around farm animals or equipment
Requires signage near the entrance of facilities where agritourism takes place
Requires participants in agritourism to sign a waiver
H.101 – An act relating to the implementation of 2018 Acts and Resolves No. 173 by providing grant funding to build systems-driven, sustainable literacy support for all students with measurable outcomes
H.104 – An act relating to considerations in facilitating the interstate practice of health care professionals using telehealth
H.106 – An act relating to equitable access to a high-quality education through community schools
H.108 – An act relating to Vermont standards for issuing a Clean Water Act section 401 certification
H.122 – An act relating to boards and commissions
H.127 – An act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the Town of Barre
H.128 – An act relating to limiting criminal defenses based on victim identity
H.133 – An act relating to emergency relief from abuse orders and relinquishment of firearms
Allows law enforcement to remove firearms from the possession of a defendant in the event that a relief from abuse order is issued
H.135 – An act relating to the State Ethics Commission
Moves required disclosures for executive officers and commission members from every two year to every year.
Staggers terms on the Ethics Commission so that no more than two seats expire in a given year.
Allows the Executive Director to hire staff deemed necessary by the Commission.
Limits who can request advisory opinions to just those persons covered by the code of ethics in order to avoid misuse.
Prepares the Commission to introduce an official state code of ethics next year.
H.145 – An act relating to amending the standards for law enforcement use of force
H.149 – An act relating to modernizing statutes related to the Vermont National Guard
H.151 – An act relating to vital records, mausoleums and columbaria, and emergency health orders
H.152 – An act relating to education property tax
Projects average homestead property tax rate at $1.523 (about a 1% decrease from current year)
Projects average homestead income tax rate at 2.5% (even with current year)
Sets statewide non-homestead property tax at $1.612 (about a 1% decrease from current year)
H.153 – An act relating to Medicaid reimbursement rates for home- and community-based service providers
H.154 – An act relating to the failure of municipal officers to accept office
H.159 – An act relating to community and economic development and workforce revitalization
Creates Better Places program for community green spaces that can attract economic development
Establishes a trade representative in Canada
Increases state’s tourism marketing budget by $1.5M
H.171 – An act relating to the governance and financing of Vermont’s child care system
H.177 – An act relating to approval of an amendment to the charter of the City of Montpelier
H.183 – An act relating to sexual violence
H.195 – An act relating to use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement in cases involving sexual exploitation of children
H.199 – An act relating to validating legal instruments used in connection with the conveyance of real estate
H.210 – An act relating to addressing disparities and promoting equity in the health care system
H.218 – An act relating to the sale of unpasteurized raw milk
H.289 – An act relating to professions and occupations regulated by the Office of Professional Regulation
H.313 – An act relating to miscellaneous amendments to alcoholic beverage laws
H.315 – An act relating to COVID-19 relief
“Prefunds” the state employees pension and other post-employment funds with an additional $20M.
Re-allocates $15M in unallocated reserves for school air quality measures.
Creates $10M in business grants administered by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.
Gives the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board an additional $10M to combat homelessness.
Bolsters mental health services with an additional $5.3M.
Offers New Americans, refugees, and immigrants $700k in translation, telehealth, Covid-19 testing, and vaccination programs.
Appropriates an additional $1.3M for families in the Reach Up program.
Adds an additional $1.4M in funding for the Vermont Food Bank.
Puts an additional $2.2M towards the Covid-response line extension program and customer assistance programs for broadband.
Other various program enhancements related to pandemic response totaling $13.3M.
H.337 – An act relating to the printing and distribution of State publications
H.338 – An act relating to reapportionment proposal deadlines
H.360 – An act relating to accelerated community broadband deployment
Directs $200M in federal funds towards fiber broadband buildout
Creates new oversight board to direct funds
Establishes workforce training program for fiber infrastructure
H.366 – An act relating to 2021 technical corrections
H.420 – An act relating to miscellaneous agricultural subjects
H.421 – An act relating to animal cruelty investigation response and training
H.426 – An act relating to addressing the needs and conditions of public school facilities in the State
Asks the Secretary of Education to produce recommendations for financing school construction and renovation
Authorizes $2.5M for the initial scoping of some projects and upgrades related to Covid
Creates a new temporary position in the Agency of Education to assist with construction projects
H.428 – An act relating to hate-motivated crimes and misconduct
H.430 – An act relating to expanding eligibility for Dr. Dynosaur to all income-eligible children and pregnant individuals regardless of immigration status
H.431 – An act relating to miscellaneous energy subjects
H.433 – An act relating to the Transportation Program and miscellaneous changes to laws related to transportation
H.434 – An act relating to establishing the Agricultural Innovation Board
Creates a board responsible for agricultural practices
Moves some responsibilities of the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets to this new board
H.435 – An act relating to miscellaneous Department of Corrections-related amendments
H.436 – An act relating to miscellaneous changes to Vermont’s tax laws
The Senate has passed:
S.1 – An act relating to extending the baseload renewable power portfolio requirement
Loosens the definition of baseload renewable power
Extends the SPEED program and requires a report from baseload renewable providers on the efficiency of their plants
Asks the Secretary of Commerce to report on contingency plans in the event of a baseload renewable plant closing
S.3 – An act relating to competency to stand trial and insanity as a defense
S.7 – An act relating to expanding access to expungement and sealing of criminal history records
S.10 – An act relating to extending certain unemployment insurance provisions related to COVID-19
S.11 – An act relating to prohibiting robocalls
S.13 – An act relating to the implementation of the Pupil Weighting Factors Report
Creates task for to study the implementation of the weighting factors report from 2019
The task force is expected to make recommendations back to the legislature by January, 2022
Sets expectation that the legislature will pass new weighting formulas during the 2022 legislative session
S.14 – An act relating to deed restrictions and housing density
S.15 – An act relating to correcting defective ballots
Makes changes to election laws to support universal mail-in voting for all general elections
S.16 – An act relating to the creation of the Task Force on School Exclusionary Discipline Reform
S.18 – An act relating to limiting earned good time sentence reductions for offenders convicted of certain crimes
S.20 – An act relating to restrictions on perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances and other chemicals of concern in consumer products
S.22 – An act relating to health care practitioners administering stem cell products not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
S.25 – An act relating to miscellaneous cannabis regulation procedures
S.30 – An act relating to prohibiting possession of firearms within hospital buildings
S.33 – An act relating to project-based tax increment financing districts
Makes TIF’s available to smaller communities for specific projects without the complex financial analysis needed for a geographical project
S.36 – An act relating to modifications to the use of certain Coronavirus Relief Fund appropriations
S.39 – An act relating to the Judicial Branch fee report and electronic filing fees
S.42 – An act relating to establishing the Emergency Service Provider Wellness Commission
S.45 – An act relating to earned discharge from probation
S.47 – An act relating to motor vehicle manufacturers, dealers, and warranty or service facilities
S.48 – An act relating to Vermont’s adoption of the interstate Nurse Licensure Compact
S.51 – An act relating to the persons authorized to make contributions to candidates and political parties and to political committee names
Requires disclosure of affiliate organizations that contribute more than $1k to a political committee
Bans corporate donations to political campaigns
Creates a committee to study universal public financing of campaigns
S.53 – An act relating to exempting feminine hygiene products from the Vermont Sales and Use Tax
S.60 – An act relating to allowing municipal and cooperative utilities to offer innovative rates and services
S.62 – An act relating to creating incentives for new remote and relocation workers
Combines two existing programs into a single administration to provide incentives for remote workers moving to the state AND relocation of workers to be employed by a Vermont employer
Covers expenses between $5k and $7.5k
S.66 – An act relating to electric bicycles
S.78 – An act relating to binding interest arbitration for employees of the Vermont Judiciary
S.79 – An act relating to improving rental housing health and safety
S.86 – An act relating to miscellaneous changes to laws related to vehicles and vessels
S.87 – An act relating to emergency provisions for the operation of government
S.88 – An act relating to insurance, banking, and securities
S.97 – An act relating to miscellaneous judiciary procedures
S.101 – An act relating to promoting housing choice and opportunity in smart growth areas
S.102 – An act relating to the regulation of agricultural inputs for farming
S.107 – An act relating to confidential information concerning the initial arrest and charge of a juvenile
S.114 – An act relating to improving prekindergarten through grade 12 literacy within the State
S.115 – An act relating to making miscellaneous changes in education laws
S.117 – An act relating to extending health care regulatory flexibility during and after the COVID-19 pandemic and to coverage of health care services delivered by audio-only telephone
S.124 – An act relating to miscellaneous utility subjects
The Legislature has been quite productive the last two weeks, not only have key pieces of legislation passed but efforts have become much more substantial. One example of this is H.159, which really came together within the last week. We still have some misgivings that only two or three bills have anything to do with economic recovery from the pandemic but at least there are some positive steps being made.
One bill not on this list, and is big question mark, is the pension bill being worked on by the House. There has been significant push back, and yesterday the House Speaker backed away from the proposal that would have asked both taxpayers and employees to contribute towards the solution. It seems they may now be considering a study committee and punting a solution another year down the road.