2021-2022 Biennium Begins
Sunday, January 10, 2021
Section: Legislative Update

The 2021-2020 legislative biennium kicked off last week for what will be another unprecedented session overshadowed by the ongoing challenges due to COVID-19. The House and Senate met over Zoom meetings with one exception of one in person Senate session. The Vermont House and Vermont Senate as well as the many committees are available over Youtube stream.

The House and Senate started the week with their normal ceremonies electing officers and selecting committees. Its rumored that there are over 300 House bills being drafted and over 150 Senate bills but to date only 50 House bill have been posted to the website. The bills range in purpose but many are rewrites of previously drafted. Both sides quickly passed a joint resolution condemning actions at the US Capitol this week.

"As I’ve said from the start, by working together, we can come out of this stronger than we went in." said Governor Phil Scott in his 2021 Inagural Address, "To do so, we must remember many of the challenges we had before the pandemic are still with us." Other state leaders including both incoming leaders Senate Pro Tempore Becca Balint and Speaker of the House, Jill Krowinski seemed to make similar indications in press discussions that focus on the pandemic will be priority but that they would move non pandemic policy if possible.

The Associated General Contractors of Vermont signed on to a joint letter with over 20 other business trade associations and member groups urging leaders to stick to the basics while they are unable to meet in person. The groups asked that the legislature focus only on health and financial recovery due to COVID-19 and only other "must pass" bills that keep government operational. The letter included five major policy requests including prioritizing critical need, direct resources to relief & recoverym, address price shocks, dont add burdens that would weaken recovery and plan for recovery & growth.