Closing out Week 15 of the 2023
The front door of the state house was opened wide at the end of this past week, signaling the advent of warm weather and the quickly approaching end of the legislative session. With likely less than five weeks remaining in this first session of the biennium, legislators are attempting to finish work on proposals, or are tacking them back up on the wall until January of 2024.
In the House Commerce and Economic Development, members have decided to use their deliberations on the Attorney General Office’s (AGO) proposed data privacy bill as an educational exercise and will be working (when time permits) during the rest of the session and over the summer on a new comprehensive consumer data privacy proposal. Chair Mike Marcotte has stated that he’d like his committee to be ready with a new proposal, crafted with input from stakeholders and the AGO, that’s ready for introduction at the beginning of the next session.
The heavy-lift bills that continue to be on the move for this session include S.5, the controversial “affordable heating” bill, S.100, the housing bill, and S.56, the early childcare bill (how to fund this costly program remains undecided in the House).
What to expect in Week 16
April 17–April 21
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. They will have a “cannabis background” discussion and take up H.467, an act relating to outdoor recreation.
Appropriations – TBD
Commerce and Economic Development – will continue work on H.81, an act relating to fair repair of agricultural equipment, H.434, an act relating to creating the Vermont Office of Film and Creative Media, 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 will possibly vote out of committee S.95, an act relating to banking and insurance and, S.48, an act regulating the sale of catalytic converters.
Corrections and Institutions – will spend much of the week reviewing ARPA funds that have been obligated and those that have been spent.
General and Housing – will take time for H.132, an act relating to establishing a homeless bill of rights, and continue consideration of H.391, an act relating to creating an eviction diversion program, H.21, an act relating to landlord notice of utility disconnections and S.103, an act relating to amending the prohibitions against discrimination.
Government Operations and Military Affairs – will continue work on S.32, an act relating to ranked-choice voting for presidential primary elections, 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 – will possibly vote on S.47, an act relating to the transport of individuals requiring psychiatric care. They will take testimony on S.65, an act relating to commercial insurance coverage of epinephrine auto-injectors, and H.263, an act relating to emergency medical services.
Human Services – will devote most of their week to S.56, an act relating to child care and early childhood education possibly voting the bill out of committee on Wednesday or Thursday. On Friday they plan to take up H.72, an act relating to a harm-reduction criminal justice response to drug use.
Judiciary – TBD
Ways & Means – will discuss child care financing all week. A miscellany of new tax proposals will be the topic of consideration.
Senate Committee Work
Agriculture – will possibly vote out of committee H.205, an act relating to establishing the small farmer diversification and transition program. They will also receive a cannabis update on H.270, regarding the sections of the bill that discuss a new propagator license.
Appropriations – will be reviewing H.494, the state budget bill, all week. Their goal is to vote the bill out of committee on Friday.
Education – will continue work on H.486, an act relating to school construction, H.461, an act relating to miscellaneous education law, and H.483, an act relating to the accountability and oversight of approved independent schools that are eligible to receive public tuition.
Finance – will receive a walk-through of H.127, an act relating to sports wagering, hear an overview of the impact of increased home values in Stowe, and continue work on H.110, an act relating to extending the Section 248a sunset.
Government Operations – will hold a committee discussion on Tuesday on H.291, an act relating to the creation of the Cybersecurity Advisory Council. They will receive walk-throughs of various charter changes and hold a committee discussion on Prop 1 on Wednesday.
Health and Welfare – TBD
Institutions – will review the House’s work on the Capital Construction Bill, H.493.
Judiciary – will hear more on H.230, an act relating to implementing mechanisms to reduce suicide and H.127, an act relating to sports wagering. They may vote out of committee H.288, an act relating to liability for the sale of alcoholic beverages.
Natural Resources and Energy – 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 continue work on 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), possibly voting the bill out of committee on Wednesday.