Legislative Update- February 22, 2021
Sunday, February 21, 2021
by: Matt Musgrave

Section: Legislative Update

While there still has not been a "business as usual", which is probably good during the remote Zoom call, policy proposals beyond "must pass" bills are taking shape. There have been an average of 12 bills introduced on the floor each day. Many are rewrites of old favorites championed by long time legislators. Those old favorites will likely hang on the wall for at least another year because with only a few week left until crossover and frustrated new members trying to learn the ropes time is running out fast.

The unemployment trust fund and COVID-19 special policies were the main show in the Senate Economic Development committee along side a week long focus on housing. S.10 which will extend certain provisions of unemployment exemptions and policies is becoming close to passage. Discussions about how the commissioner of the department of labor will effectively judge the qualifications of an employer to receive relief from experience ratings are a major part of the S.10 deliberation. At this point they are working towards a presumption for the year of 2020 which does require an employer to rehire or offer a laid off for COVID-19 employee and an application process for 2021 for employers to avoid experience rating points. Among the discussion is also how to deal with the unemployment trust fund and whether a work search requirement should be reinstated.

The House Transportation committee took testimony from VTRANS on many things budget related but of most interest to AGC/VT was the automated speed enforcement pilot program. The program would allow VTRANS to have several projects using license plate reading variable speed signs which will send written warnings to owners of vehicles in violation to see how the program would work for potential future use. This was a proposal from AGC/VT in the prior biennium to adapt to the shortage of uniformed police officer enforcement. The committee seemed much warmer to the pilot program this year but there are many steps left in the process.

If you are interested in joining the AGC/VT Government Affairs Committee please contact matt@agcvt.org or at 802-223-2374.