Legislative Update- February 27, 2023
Sunday, February 26, 2023
by: Matt Musgrave

Section: Legislative Update

As the legislature moves forward crafting must pass bills like the transportation and capital budgets time is now available to preview bills introduced that didn’t make the leadership priority list. Other bills which had minimal attention gained attention and comment from advocates.

The “Affordable heat act” which had passed the Senate Natural Resources committee which will require heating fossil fuel dealers to reduce their customers usage of their fuels or pay an estimated 70+ cents per gallon surcharge (tax) which would go to companies with the ability to either reduce usage or purchase “credits” from other firms. The Vermont Fuel Dealers Association has been the lead on the lobbying of Senators and Representatives to oppose the bill or add a “look back” provision that would require the legislature to approve any increase in fees paid by rate users. Multiple groups and the Governors administration have been rallying to oppose the bill without the “look back”.

Having passed out the omnibus housing bill labelled “housing opportunities made for everyone” which would create exemptions for Act 250 jurisdiction for projects in designated or priority districts the Senate Economic Development and Housing committee was able to look at other bills. As were introduced in the House many employer/employee bills were introduced now in the Senate which the lobbying team will pursue. The “right to repair” bill was reintroduced in the Senate which is opposed by several associate members and the lobbying team will seek exemptions to construction and agriculture equipment similarly to other states that have passed the bill.

The lobbing team will be monitoring the over 40 bills the association is tracking over the coming weeks to see what will get attention and what will stay on the wall. With only 8 more working days until the required crossover of bills to the other side of the building it will likely be left to committee chairs to maintain momentum on priorities and avoid distractions of other randomly introduced policy.