Legislative Update- January 30, 2023
Sunday, January 29, 2023
by: Matt Musgrave

Section: Legislative Update

As we close the first month of the 2023 Vermont Legislative session bills are being introduced and the hard work of its members begins. The introductions have finished and legislators have been reacting to the Governor’s budget address and incoming bills. The tenor in the building is still cooperative and a pace has been set for the days from committee meetings to floor sessions. The halls of the building have quieted down and the work begins now.

Much of the week was spent listening to the specific budget items proposed by each agency. AGC/VT has been monitoring specifically the VTRANS and BGS budgets.

The VTRANS 2024 budget request shows another higher than normal year of spending but is approximately 4% lower than the record year of 2023. With a lower paving budget and bridge program it is expected that less jobs will be introduced this year due to the challenges of the budget and inflation. Although traditional paving and bridge programs are down there are opportunities in other areas of programming.

The BGS budget came in around $65 million with many projects in the hopper ranging from court houses, stormwater and other general building repairs. The total capital budget which includes many other departments is requested at approximately $200 million. One of the challenges pointed out in the Governors budget address was that it is the wrong time to borrow money so protecting these budgets will be in the front line for the AGC/VT lobbying team.

There have been several bills related to employer mandates introduced over the past week. A bill was introduced that would add the term “injury” to the family and medical leave law which could mean any injury that medically prevented a worker from performing their duties. Another bill that required a schedule delivered to employees 2 weeks in advance and would require full payment by the employer regardless if the employee worked or was sent home early. Another bill expands access to unemployment insurance for non work related challenges like child care, sexual assault, recovery from domestic assault and other reasons. Another policy introduced requires employers to display the range of salaries or hourly rates for employees in their companies. The AGC/VT lobbying team and government affairs team are monitoring these bills and will become involved if they get traction.