Legislative Update- May 29, 2024
Sunday, April 28, 2024
by: Matt Musgrave

Section: Legislative Update

As we roll into the last few weeks of the legislative session there is an atmosphere of urgency and celebration looking towards the goal of adjournment by May 11th. Members and lobbyists are working hard to make sure their priorities make it through in a year of challenges rocked by an anticipated rise in property taxes from 15-20% and other unfunded liabilities that required other taxes.

These challenges have changed the focus of members of the legislature to some of those key issues. They circle around education, health care and other social programs they wish to fund. This focus appears to be in the opposite direction of voters who in multiple polls suggest that public safety, affordability and housing. All three seem to be stated goals but results by the end of the session may be poor disappointing Vermonters far and wide. AGC/VT and other organizations have worked hard to keep the focus on the three priorities of voters, but have faced an uphill battle. 

This week AGC/VTs lobbying team has a few priorities to get across the finish line or prevent from creating challenges to businesses.

The work zone safety bill S.184 which would allow VTRANS to use automated license plate speed technology in a pilot program on highways to issue tickets for multiple speed violations. This is a project that the lobbying team picked up 5 years ago following the death of James Alger in a work zone. The lobbying team has moved the bill from a "no", to a study, to a small pilot program to what now will be a flagship to show that Vermont legislators care about safety in the work zone. 

The lobbying team will also be focusing on two bills S.9 and S.97 which are bills that have significant changes to contracting protocols within the state. The lobbying team has already negotiated S.9 which would allow the state auditor more access to files provided to state agencies as a part of the contracting process. Satisfied by a new version that will be introduced protecting contractors from compounding processes the team should support passage of the bill. S.97 is a bill that was originally written with huge implications for employers was negotiated to a study of state employees and how a lack of over 1200 positions relates to completing necessary state work.

The team is also watching taxes. Taxes are the major challenge Vermonters at large will face as a result of this session. AGC/VT recommends that contractors contacts their legislators as soon as possible and ask them what are they doing to make Vermont more affordable, the public safer and increasing affordable housing for our workforce. You can CLICK HERE to search for your legislators to ask them these questions. If you do, please email matt@agcvt.org with the results of the conversations.