Legislative Update- May 15, 2023
The gavel fell around 8:30pm on Friday, May 12th for the 2023 legislative session. Time has run out on the regular session and yet several issues remain top of mind for the coming weeks. A "veto session" has been scheduled for June as it it considered by many that its likely that Governor Phil Scott will be vetoing one or more bills including the state budget as passed by the House and Senate.
The sticking points in the budget appear to be widespread increases to taxes in fees across the board. A new tax to pay for child care, 20% increases to DMV fees , licensing/certification fees rising and even an increase in marriage licenses to pay for a program to stop enforcing traffic ticket fines are a few of the new bills that Vermonters recovering from the COVID pandemic economy and inflation are dealing with.
The Senate won this year passing a child care bill instead of the Houses priority of a paid family and medical leave program. The bill passed after much debate about the funding system which landed on a modest (for now) payroll tax.
Record budgets were passed with the help of the lobbying team in both the transportation and the building programs at state government. These wins will keep projects moving and recognize the challenges of inflation and other construction challenges. Your association stood with VTRANS and BGS to get these record budgets passed and it will benefit members and their staff for years.
There were multiple employer mandate bills introduced that would have negatively impacted the workplace. The lobbying team and a coalition of other industries stood together and strong to defeat the bad mandates while supporting common sense measures to protect workers.
A bill that would've allowed the State Auditor unfettered access to state contractors books, payroll and returns was introduced and testimony from your lobbying team helped improve the bill to limit exposure to proprietary and bid related information. The language your team introduced limits the audit to a strict standard of performance creates boundaries already recognized by state agencies and will preserve the closed bidding system. Although the bill has not passed due to other opposition the AGC/VT lobbying team has recommended several other changes if the bill is revisited next year.
Several other bills including an attempt at expanding housing and workforce development have passed and there is more information to come. The AGC/VT lobbying team is preparing a town hall (also virtual) discussion for member to join in the coming weeks. Keep an eye on your inbox for the invite and we will lay out the wins of the lobbying team in 2023.