Closing out Week 14 of the 2023
As we head into week 15 of the legislative session, the House Ways and Means committee is continuing work on determining alternative funding mechanisms for the Senate passed child care proposal. The Senate has proposed eliminating last year’s child tax credit to help fund their expansion of child care subsidies and the implementation of a new parental leave program. Without acknowledging this proposed elimination of the tax, but seemingly rejecting it, the House Ways and Means committee reviewed a proposal that would keep the tax credit in place and add advanced quarterly pre-payments of 50 percent of the tax.
As a substitute to the child tax credit repeal, Ways and Means Chair Emily Kornheiser asked her committee to “pivot” to looking at taxation on services. One possibility that the committee considered is an amendment to S.93 that would remove the current sales tax exemption for all types of software accessed on the cloud: Software as a Service (Saas), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Patrick Titterton, Joint Fiscal Office, testified that removal of the exemption would raise an estimated $18.4 million for the Education Fund, about half of what the child tax credit repeal would raise.
The committee is spending all morning on Wednesday and Thursday further reviewing child care financing options. The House General and Housing Committee took up the S.100, the housing bill as it passed out of the Senate. The committee will focus on housing-specific programs and will not be reviewing any provisions related to municipal zoning and Act 250. Any review of changes to state and municipal bylaws will be done in the House Energy and Environment Committee, a committee not known for being friendly to addressing Act 250 barriers.
What to expect in Week 15
April 10–April 14, 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 S.115, an act relating to miscellaneous agricultural subjects and receive an overview of a few agriculture related bills.
Appropriations – TBD
Commerce and Economic Development – will receive a walk-through of H.81, an act relating to fair repair of agricultural equipment. This bill was voted out of the Agricultural, Food Resiliency, and Forestry Committee on a vote of 9-2-0. The committee will possibly vote on S.95, an act relating to banking and insurance and S.48, an act regulating the sale of catalytic converters. They will continue discussions on S.73, an act relating to workers’ comp coverage for firefighters with cancer and H.121, an act relating to enhancing consumer privacy. The committee decided last week that this bill needs a more comprehensive approach to rewriting the statute post-session before they can move it out of their committee. They will also be considering a rewrite of the apprenticeship statute.
Corrections and Institutions – will spend much of the week on corrections related discussions.
Education – will discuss the Vermont Energy Education Program and Universal Pre-K. They will spend more time on H.409, an act relating to keeping Vermont students safe by restricting the use of restraints and seclusion in schools, S.138, an act relating to school safety, and H.333, an act relating to seizure action plans in public schools and approved independent schools. The committee will also discuss S.133, an act relating to miscellaneous changes to education law. “Miscellaneous” bills can become so-called “Christmas tree bills” towards the end of session, with other bills and provisions being added as amendments, so these bills are followed closely.
Environment and Energy – will continue work on S.5, the bill known as the “Affordable Heat Act” which seeks to create a performance standard for the thermal heating sector that is similar, in concept, to the Renewable Energy Standard. They will also review the House and Senate housing bills, H.68 and S.100. Thursday and Friday’s committee schedule is to be determined.
General and Housing– will continue consideration of H.391, an act relating to creating an eviction diversion program, and conclude their walk-through of S.103, an act relating to amending the prohibitions against discrimination.
Government Operations and Military Affairs – will continue work on a number of charter changes early in the week. They will take up S.32, and act relating to ranked-choice voting for presidential primary elections and work on S.17, an act relating to sheriff reforms.
Judiciary – may vote S.3, an act relating to prohibiting paramilitary training camps, out of committee on Tuesday. They will continue work 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 and S.6, an act relating to law enforcement interrogation policies.
Transportation – will continue their walk-through of S.99, miscellaneous changes to laws related to vehicles. On Wednesday they will be considering the sections on liens against towed vehicles that has risen as a concern for many business sectors. They will receive a walk-through of H.38, an act relating to the use of portable electronic device in non-hands-free mode while operating a motor vehicle. They will also receive an introduction to H.143, an act relating to consumer protections related to the towing and storage of vehicles.
Ways & Means – will discuss S.45, an act relating to the elective pass-through entity income tax and credit, S.94, an act relating to the City of Barre TIF district, and will review child care financing.
Senate Committee Work
Agriculture – will continue discussions related to H.472, an act relating to miscellaneous agricultural subjects.
Appropriations – TBD
Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs – will discuss H.484, a workforce development bill, and potential “Christmas tree” for amendments. They will receive a brief introduction to S.127, an act relating to the creation of new types of cannabis establishment licenses and the provision of cannabis excise tax revenue to the Cannabis Business Development Fund. They will hold a committee discussion on H.127, an act relating to sports wagering and on Thursday they will review H.157, an act relating to the Vermont basic needs budget and H.66, an act relating to paid family and medical leave insurance.
Education – will discuss H.486, an act relating to school construction. The House-passed bill proposes a School Construction Aid Task Force that is very similar in concept and composition to the Senate’s proposal in S.124. Vermont put a moratorium on all state aid for school construction in 2008 and this Task Force would make recommendations on the structure and funding of a new program for state aid of school construction. A key difference between the two bills is that the House bill proposes a pause on the testing of PCBs in schools, and it remains to be seen whether the Senate will object strongly to this pause. The committee will also consider H.165, an act relating to universal school meals and H.461, an act relating to miscellaneous education law. The committee will hear more on H.483, an act relating to the accountability and oversight of approved independent schools that are eligible to receive public tuition.
Government Operations – will hold a committee discussion on Tuesday on Prop1, which is consideration of a Constitutional Amendment regarding qualifications for sheriffs, states’ attorneys and assistant judges to serve in office. They will receive a walk-through of H.305, an act relating to professions and occupations regulated by the Office of Professional Regulations.
Health and Welfare – will take testimony on H.222, an act relating to reducing overdoses and possibly take a committee vote on H.190, an act relating to removing the residency requirement from Vermont’s patient choice at end of life laws. They will receive a walk-through of H.481, an act relating to public health initiatives to address death by suicide. The committee may vote on H.171, an act relating to adult protective services.
Institutions – will review the House’s work on the Capital Construction Bill, H.493.
Judiciary – may take a committee vote on H.41, an act relating to referral of domestic and sexual violence cases to community justice centers and will continue taking testimony on H.89, an act relating to civil and criminal procedures concerning legally protected health care activity. They will hear more on H.230, an act relating to implementing mechanisms to reduce suicide. Closing the week on Friday will be testimony on H.45, an act relating to abusive litigation filed against survivors of domestic abuse, stalking, or sexual assault and more testimony on H.288, an act relating to liability for the sale of alcoholic beverages.
Natural Resources – will consider two committee bills, an act relating to the Renewable Energy Standard and an act relating to the permitting of indirect discharges. They will also take up H.158, an act relating to the beverage container redemption system and H.126, an act relating to community resilience and biodiversity protection.
Transportation – will review H.479, an act relating to the Transportation Program and miscellaneous changes to laws related to transportation (aka “The T Bill”).