Legislative Update- January 22, 2024
Friday, January 19, 2024
by: Matt Musgrave

Section: Legislative Update

Week three of the legislative session of 2024 has ended and it seems like priorities might be different among many in the building so the sense of urgency is in the air. Governor Scotts budget address is scheduled to be given on January 23rd and that will definitly stoke up that sense of urgency as we see what policies will be well funded and what sacrafices must be made. After several years of one time Federal funds the "party" is over and the financial committees will have to sharpen their pencils when crafting the budget.

This week the Senate introduced a bill to address building energy standards and how single family residence construction is regulated. A summer study committee that AGC/VT was a member of had released a report that led to the bill S.253 "An act related to building energy codes". The study group report included suggestions that legislators move enforcement of single family energy standards to the Department of Fire and Safety (DFS), consider a statewide residential building code and require contractors to become licensed and complete required certifications. AGC/VT objected to the report and suggested instead of continuing to study the issue going forwards because DFS currently does not have the capacity to take on the additional burden and that proponents of the new "regime" had previously urged the state to adopt the residential contractor registration to solve the issues they aim to cure with the new proposals. The new study committee in S.253 will both allow the existing contractor registration system to do its job and promote/require use of the energy standards but will help create a thoughtful path to improving the marketplace. There are two bills introduced to the House with similar goals. One of the bills is similar to S.253 and the other bill incorporates all of the suggestions from the report and will be opposed by AGC/VT until a proper study of the issue is complete. 

Bill introductions were rapid during the first two weeks of the session and have since slowed to a crawl with one or two daily. Over 250 bills were introduced in the House and over 100 in the Senate. With the priorities of housing, flood recovery, and public safety front of mind for the legislators many of the 1200+ bills will never get anything more than a brief introduction. We will keep you posted as the session continues!