Closing out Week 8 of the 2023
Legislative Session

With only two weeks left until crossover and town meeting break sandwiched in between, many committees spent last week working on bills that they are hoping to get across the finish line this session.

The Senate Committee on Economic Development Housing and General Affairs passed out their omnibus housing bill referred to as the HOMES Act and began preparing for work on several labor and employment bills.

The Senate Natural Resources Committee took up the housing bill and will pay particular attention to several changes to Act 250 intended to ease restrictions on housing development.

Two committees continued work on the Child Care bill – the Senate Committee on Education working on the pre-kindergarten provisions and the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare focusing on the child care provisions. During testimony to the Health and Welfare committee, administration officials shared concerns stakeholders have expressed about moving away from a mixed delivery system, but said that the governor would support expanding weekly pre-k assistance from ten to thirty hours.

The expansive Paid Family Leave bill was taken up by the House Committee on Ways and Means after being passed the previous week by the House Committee on General and Housing. The committee heard from the Department of Taxes that administering a new payroll tax to support the program would require an additional fifteen full-time employees and $2–3 million in IT implementation funding. The total estimate for setting up the program would be $100 million.

In addition to their policy work, the House committees discussed FY2024 budget priorities ahead of the March 1 deadline to submit their recommendation letters to the Appropriations committee.

Public hearing on the Governor’s Recommended Fiscal Year 2024 Budget on February 28 at 5:30 in room 11 or via zoom. For more information regarding pre-registering or watching the hearing see here.

What to expect in Week 9
February 27 – March 3, 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 – The committee will hear from the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets regarding the FY’24 Budget.

Appropriations – will continue their work on the FY’24 Budget. Among the agencies and organizations that will be considered: Office of the State Treasurer. The committee will spend much of the week in general committee discussions.

Commerce and Economic DevelopmentTBD

Corrections and Institutions – will continue their work on the FY’24-FY’25 Capital Budget Proposal. They will also mark-up H.102, an act relating to the Art in State Buildings Program.  

Education – The committee will possibly vote on a miscellaneous education bill on Tuesday. There will be a joint meeting with the Senate Education Committee regarding PCB testing in schools as well as hearings on H.258, an act relating to the provision of state-funded education in districts that do not maintain an elementary or high school. The committee will take up H.314, an act relating to prohibiting firearms and deadly weapons in schools and on school property. They may vote on this bill on Wednesday.

Environment and Energy – will vote out H.126, an act relating to community resilience and biodiversity protection that proposes goals of conserving 30 percent of the land of the State by 2030 and 50 percent by 2050. They also plan on voting on H.158, an act relating to the beverage container redemption system and requiring manufacturers and distributors is also on their schedule.

General and Housing – will continue work on H.276, an act relating to creating a rental housing registry (which also includes a short-term rental registry) and take up H.157, an act relating to the Vermont basic needs budget.

Government Operations and Military Affairs – will vote on a miscellaneous election law bill. They will also consider H.270, An act relating to miscellaneous amendments to the adult-use and medical cannabis program. They will discuss a number of liquor related bills as well.   

Health Care – will discuss the Governor’s proposed budget including drug coverage changes with pharmacy benefits. They will take up H.283, an act relating to initiatives to prevent death by suicide.          

Human Services – will continue work on H.171, an act relating to adult protective services and H.222, an act relating to reducing overdoses.

Judiciary – TBD

Transportation – will continue their work with the Agency of Transportation to build this year’s transportation budget.

Ways & Means – may vote on H.217, an act relating to miscellaneous workers’ compensation amendments. They will discuss H.165, an act relating to universal school meals, and H.66, the paid family leave bill.

Senate Committee Work

Agriculture – will continue with a committee bill relating to protection from nuisance suits for agriculture activities. They will also work on a committee bill relating to miscellaneous agriculture subjects and they will discuss the Impervious Surface Law.  

Appropriations – TBD

Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs – TBD

Education – The committee will work on a school construction bill. They will also consider their own miscellaneous education bill and a draft bill relating to school safety. There will be continued discussion regarding independent schools, and testimony on Pre-K as it relates to the childcare bill, S.56.

Finance – will continue taking testimony related to S.83, an act relating to the creation of a project-based tax increment financing program. They will discuss S.68, an act relating to the deduction for student loan payments, S.65, an act relating to commercial insurance coverage of epinephrine auto-injectors and S.60, an act relating to local options taxes.

Government Operations – TBD

Health and Welfare – will continue working on S.37, an act relating to access to legally protected health care activity and regulation of health care providers. They will also continue hearings on S.56, an act relating to child care and early childhood education along with S.18, an act relating to banning flavored tobacco products and e-liquids.

Institutions – will continue their work on the Capital Budget and learn about State House Expansion. They will also review S.9 relating to the authority of the State Auditor to examine the books and records of State contractors.

Judiciary – will possibly vote out S.4, an act relating to reducing crimes of violence associated with juveniles and dangerous weapons. This week will include consideration of S.16, an act relating to repealing the exception for clergy to report child abuse and neglect, and S.27, an act relating to reducing the imposition of cash bail.

Natural Resources – will begin their work on S.100, an act relating to housing opportunities made for everyone. This bill will occupy the committee’s attention for the entire week. 

Transportation – will consider S.64, an act relating to miscellaneous changes related to vehicles, infrastructure and transportation planning. They will also hear from multiple stakeholders on a mileage based user fee program proposal.

Related Practice Areas

Government Affairs