Legislative Update- May 6, 2024
Sunday, May 5, 2024

Section: Legislative Update

The Kentucky Derby ran on Saturday, May 4th and its the first event that marks the beginning of summer. The horses, the hats, the people and tradition are a kickoff to the summer. This year the races precede another race to the finish line at the Vermont Legislature. All bets are on a planned adjournment on May 11th where the lawmaking ends for the season and we turn to the elections to take place in November. There will be an expected return to the state house in June for a veto session as many are betting that the governor will be using his veto pen on several bills.

H.687 which passed out of the House as a "conservation bill" disguised as a "housing bill" depending on the advocates you spoke with. The original version created some expansions to Act 250 by creating a three tier district program. The bill also made some changes to the Act 250 process, appeals process and tribunal jurisdiction to a new panel. The Senate Committee on Natural Resources added contents of the Senates "BeHome" act as proposed by their Economic Development Committee which would further work on some Act 250 density changes. The bill has the eyes of Vermonters far and wide but some are skeptical it will find passage or a veto. The Senate vote did not carry enough "yeah" votes to sustain a veto although it is to be seen whether that could be mustered.

S.96 which is a bill related to privatization contracts is still active in the House. The bill which intends to give the Vermont State Employees Association the ability to label more state contracts "privatization" which would apply additional requirements to contract winners eventually passed the Senate as a study is receiving heavy lobbying from the union. The VSEA is asking that the House change the bill to keep the study but reinsert a portion that radically changes the definition of a privatization contract. VSEA has assured everyone that their definition request will not impact AGC/VT or VIECA contractors but AGC/VT is scheduled to testify in opposition to the changes and request a specific exemption. Even if the exemption is applied there is heavy opposition from the Governors administration so a veto is likely.

The budget is now in the hands of the House. It will end up in a committee of conference and legislators will be "racing" to Saturdays adjournment hoping their bills will come to pass. Keep an eye out of the post session report from your lobbying team which will be released when the dust settles. The quick answer is that your lobbying team including the Government Affairs Committee had a successful year representing the needs of AGC/VT and VIECA.