Closing out Week 13 of the 2023
The Senate voted out S.100, the Omnibus Housing Bill. A widely anticipated floor fight over an amendment that would have increased the threshold that triggers an Act 250 permit to 25 units did not materialize. The current threshold that triggers a permit is 10 units. Instead, the Senate moved the question of increasing to a 25 unit threshold anywhere in the state to a study committee report due December 31, 2023. The Senate did approve an amendment for a temporary 3-year threshold of 25 units, but limited to small designated areas in and around the state’s downtowns and village centers.
The housing bill also makes significant changes to municipal zoning and bylaws, allowing duplexes anywhere that currently only permits single-family homes, effectively banning single-family zoning. In areas served by public infrastructure—water and sewer—triplexes and quadplexes would also be allowed, and municipalities would also need to allow at least five units to be built per acre. The bill now moves to the House.
The Senate also advanced S.56, the child care bill that expands subsidy benefits and provides a 12-week parental leave benefit, while the House advanced their $8.5 billion budget proposal.
What to expect in Week 14
April 3–April 7, 2023
Note: The Legislative Committee Agendas are updated frequently throughout each day. The latest committee schedule can be found on this link. A list of weekly hearings for all committees can be found here.
House Committee Work
Agriculture, Food Resiliency, & Forestry – will continue their work on H.81, an act relating to fair repair of agricultural equipment with a possible vote out of the committee on April 4th. On Thursday they will pick up H.274, an act relating to agriculture and nutrition education.
Appropriations – With the budget passed in the House on a vote of 98-34 the House Appropriations committee’s schedule should be a bit lighter this week. They will receive a pension presentation on Thursday from Chris Rupe, Senior Fiscal Analyst from the Joint Fiscal Office.
Commerce and Economic Development – will continue work on H.121, an act relating to data privacy. They will hear from representatives in banking, insurance, credit unions, healthcare. and close with testimony from a policy analyst from Consumer Reports. The committee will review S.48, an act relating to regulating the sale of catalytic converters and H.160, an act relating to minimum reimbursement rates for labor related to automotive insurance claims. They will do a walk-through of H.434, an act relating to creating the Vermont Office of Film and Creative Media, on Thursday. Friday will close with an introduction to S.73, an act relating to workers’ compensation coverage for firefighters with cancer.
Corrections and Institutions – TBD
Education – will get an introduction to the following bills:
- H.348 – an act relating to requiring licensed athletic trainers at secondary school athletic events and practices.
- H.278 – an act relating to postsecondary opportunities for Vermont career technical education students.
- H.333 – an act relating to seizure action plans in public schools and approved independent schools.
- H.319 – an act relating to postsecondary schools and sexual misconduct protections.
- H.208 – an act relating to childcare and early childhood education.
- H.409 – an act relating to keeping Vermont students safe by restricting the use of restraints and seclusion in schools.
Environment and Energy – will spend the week on S.5, the consequential bill termed the “Affordable Heat Act,” which proposes to create a marketplace for greenhouse gas reducing activities in the thermal sector. They will close on Friday with a hearing on the Trapping Rule and reviewing a report on “Best Management Practices.”
General and Housing– will discuss H.391, an act relating to creating an eviction diversion program, H.132, an act relating to establishing a homeless bill of rights and prohibiting discrimination against persons without homes, and H.184, an act relating to exempting an owner of rental housing from renovation, repair, painting and maintenance licensing requirements. The committee will receive bill introductions on the following: H.364 – An act relating to prohibiting discrimination based on immunization status, and H.363 – an act relating to prohibiting discrimination based on certain hair types and style.
They will close the week with a walk-through of S.103, an act relating to amending the prohibitions against discrimination.
Government Operations and Military Affairs – will consider a number of charter changes early in the week. On Thursday they will get an introduction to S.42, an act relating to divestment of state pension funds of investments in the fossil fuel industry and S.17, an act relating to sheriff reforms.
Health Care – Is dedicating the week to S.37, an act relating to access to legally protected health care activity and regulation of health care providers.
Human Services – will devote most of their week to S.56, an act relating to child care and early childhood education.
Judiciary – will spend most of their week on S.36, an act relating to permitting an arrest without a warrant for assaults and threats against health care workers and disorderly conduct at health care facilities.
Transportation – will continue their walkthrough of S.99, miscellaneous changes to laws related to vehicles.
Ways & Means – TBD
Senate Committee Work
Agriculture – will continue discussions related to protections from nuisance suits for agricultural activities.
Appropriations – TBD
Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs – TBD
Education – will receive an overview of H.165, an act relating to school food programs and universal school meals. They will also hear from House Education chair, Rep. Conlon, regarding Independent Schools and Public Schools.
Finance – will continue work on S.139, an act relating to the modernization for public safety communications in Vermont on Tuesday and the rest of the week remains TBD.
Government Operations – will receive introductions to the following House passed bills:
- H.178 – an act relating to commissioning Department of Corrections personnel as notaries public.
- H.465 – an act relating to regional emergency management committees’ meeting quorum requirement.
- H.125 – an act relating to boards and commissions.
- H.291 – an act relating to the creation of the Cybersecurity Advisory Council.
- H.305 – an act relating to professions and occupations regulated by the Office of Professional Regulations.
- H.476 – an act relating to miscellaneous changes to law enforcement office training laws.
- H.482 – an act relating to Vermont Criminal Justice Council recommendations for law enforcement officer training.
- H.429 – an act relating to miscellaneous changes to election laws.
On Thursday the committee will hold a hearing regarding Prop 1—which is consideration of a Constitutional Amendment regarding qualifications for sheriffs, states’ attorneys and assistant judges to serve in office.
Health and Welfare – will take up H.190, an act relating to removing the residency requirement from Vermont’s patient choice at end of life laws. They will receive an overview on the following House passed bills:
- H.171 – an act relating to adult protective services.
- H.222 – an act relating to reducing overdoses.
- H.473 – an act relating to radiologist assistants.
On Friday they will hold a general budget discussion with multiple advocates.
Institutions – will review the House’s work on the Capital Construction Bill, H.493.
Judiciary – will continue work on H.41, an act relating to referral of domestic and sexual violence cases to community justice centers and H.89, an act relating to civil and criminal procedures concerning legally protected health care activity. They will spend time on H.227, an act relating to the Vermont Uniform Power of Attorney Act, possibly voting that out of committee on Wednesday. They will begin work on H.230, an act relating to implementing mechanisms to reduce suicide. Closing the week on Friday will be a review of H.288, an act relating to liability for the sale of alcoholic beverages.
Natural Resources – TBD
Transportation – will review H.479, an act relating to the Transportation Program and miscellaneous changes to laws related to transportation (aka “The T Bill”).