Year to date the lobbying team is pleased with the results of ours/your efforts and know what we are working with for the second half of the session.
Decisions are required in the legislature to move key policies forward.
The week of February 6 was evidence that time is running tight leaving only a few working weeks prior to crossover.
Last week the legislature was in full tilt working on its priorities and releasing bills that had been long speculated.
As we close the first month of the 2023 Vermont Legislative session bills are being introduced and the hard work of its members begins.
Here we are in the third week of the 2023 session and as they say "we are off to the races"
The second week at the Vermont legislature has come to a close. The state house building hallways were very quiet with few advocates visiting due to the subject nature. AGC/VT and a few other groups were in the building all week
The legislature opened its doors and the session began on January 4th following a long vacation break preceded by a historic election season.
“This is a year of great change in Vermont state government,” said Paul Heintz, editor-in-chief at VTDigger. “We haven’t seen this much transition in statewide office-holders since the 1960s.”
The Government Affairs Committee at AGC/VT will be very active during the month of December setting the association up for the legislative session.
The effort to regulate residential contractors was supported vigorously by the Vermont Home Builders and Remodelers Association (VHBR), Vermont’s Attorney General, Secretary of State and the climate advocates.
Governor Phil Scott, the Vermont Department of Labor (VDOL) and the McClure Foundation announced the release of Vermont’s Most Promising Jobs
Over the next few weeks Vermonts Agency of Natural Resources will be travelling around the state for public comment on updates to their wetlands rules.
Perhaps one of the most significant take-aways I had at the AGC National Chapter Leadership Conference as a government affairs director was the keynote address from
America’s rural transportation system is in need of repairs and modernization to support economic growth and improve traffic safety, but the US faces a $180 billion backlog in funding for needed repairs and improvements
With a record number of Vermont House and Senate seats open—more than 40—we have an opportunity to elect leaders who will champion the construction industry.
The Biden administration Aug. 19 released a proposed rule requiring the use of project labor agreements (PLAs) on direct federal construction projects valued at $35 million or more.
The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and Department of Environmental Conservation have been hard at work developing rules on several issues.
Vermonts primary election for the 2022 midterm elections took place last Tuesday, August 9th and the results are in (mostly).
Wow the first gathering of the 2022 AGC/VT Burgers and Brew Tour was a great success.
AGC/VT and other groups have been tracking multiple new rules that state agencies have presented to reduce fossil fuel emissions to attempt to achieve the standards set out by the Global Warming Solutions Act
The AGC/VT lobbying team and Government Affairs Committee has already begun preparing for the upcoming election.
Off to the races; no pun intended.
AGC calls for a thoughtful study of existing supply chains, opportunity for public comment on draft standards and sufficient time for education of federal, state and local officials who will be charged with enforcement.
Well now that the legislature has adjourned with some real progress in some areas and people left wanting for more in others whats a Government Affairs Director to do??? Well, I am switching gears
The first week of April had a similar feeling to the last week of the legislature which usually occurs at the end of May.. Rumors were floating around the state house that the legislature was seeking to adjourn by May 6th.
On Friday, April 1st AGC/VT delivered a discussion on cost drivers in commercial building with Anne Minor (PC Construction) and Pete Kelley (DEW Construction Corp) representing the building committee with some other friends.
Matt Musgrave and Shawn Rouleau returned to the statehouse in person for the first time in 2 years to meet with members of the House Commerce Committee, governors’ administration, CTE directors and Vermont Housing and Conservation Boards (VHCB) Gus Seelig to discuss a new workforce idea.
The House Commerce Committee spent a lot of time last week on the workforce development bill H.703 which includes many provisions that would fund education institutions including the CTE programs and Vermont State Colleges.
AGC/VT was called in this week to discuss the lighted flagger paddle pilot program which began in the summer of 2021
The Vermont General Assembly is successfully moving forward with policy again this week despite challenges due to a hybrid meeting format.
Its week four of the 2022 legislative session and legislators are busy in committees trying to craft bills in time to make crossover which is only a month away.
We have, within our grasp, the chance to combine good ideas, thoughtful legislation and unprecedented financial resources into a better, brighter future
Week two was a busy one with legislative study report presentations, moving through a bill to allow municipalities to operate town and other municipal meetings with COVID protocols, and on Friday the House spent 3 hours debating a resolution to come back in a hybrid session while Omicron was still peaking.
The Vermont General Assembly recovened on Tuesday, January 4th to start the 2022 legislative session. This was not a normal start to a session
The Associated General Contractors of America and two of its chapters, the Dallas-based TEXO chapter of the association, and the statewide AGC of Texas chapter, filed suit today in federal court to block the Biden administration’s effort to impose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on federal contractors and subcontractors.
On Monday, November 22nd the Vermont Legislature convened a special session to address their concerns with the states response to COVID-19 outbreaks.
We are a little over a month away from the return of the Vermont Legislature to the statehouse (or some hybrid form) for the 2022 session. Todays headlines shout out about a rare return to the statehouse today, Monday 11/22.
Congressional Democrats continue to take things out and put new things into their AGC-opposed(link is external) human infrastructure bill—formally titled the Build Back Better Act.
Since then I've spent some time visiting members job sites with Richard Wobby and have seen first hand what its like to have an excavator digging out a trench on one side and cars moving by as fast as they are allowed on the other. But on August 23, 2019 I took a phone call I will never forget.
AGC/VT is closely monitoring two different rule making processes that the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation has begun. Its normal for the department to make "technical corrections" to policy to align with Federal rules and its also normal that the department brings existing rules to current or updated state standards often triggered by legislative action.
Governor Phil Scott announced today that Vermont has received 50% of its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund.
The two-page, high-level infrastructure framework agreed to by President Biden and a bipartisan group of 22 senators is encouraging to see. However, we know that infrastructure bills generally include thousands of pages of legislative text (and the devil is always in the details).
Lawmakers returned to Montpelier (virtually) this week to respond to Governor Scotts veto of three bills.
Congressman Peter Welch was our special guest at last weeks Mid Week Meet on Wednesday. There were over 20 contractors on the GoToMeeting stream and a great conversation was had with the Congressman.
As I am writing this update I am listening to the last day of the 2021 legislative session. Hampered by COVID-19 restrictions causing us to have to meet with state leaders and other advocates remotely we are seeing the fruits of our labor cross the finish line.
Unemployment insurance and the bill S.10 remained front of mind this week as we look forward to a hopeful May 22 adjournment. The House committees on Commerce and Government Operations held a public comment period regarding unemployment Tuesday, May 11.
Its clear adjournment is not far away and everyones happy about that. Legislators, advocates and the public have been more active in the past 16 months than usual.
Before we get to politics: during Tuesdays address by Governor Phil Scott he announced the reinstatement of the work search requirement for all employees except those sick with COVID or dependent issues. This came as a great surprise to the AGC/VT lobbying team who has been working diligently to get this reinstated.
"Since I've been with this organization I find it remarkable how much employers care about their people and I find it extremely hard to sit here and listen to someone saying otherwise publicly", Matt said with great pride in the Association.
As of Friday businesses, lobbyists and politicians alike are wondering the fate of bill H.315 which is intended to distribute COVID-19 financial relief to many sectors. The bill which includes $60 million of appropriations which Vermont has yet to receive from the Federal government includes an important provision linking up the 2020 tax year which includes not taxing companies who's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgiven loans but omits 2021.
The legislative week was dominated by discussions surround the $1+ billion Vermont will received through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). H.315 an act related to COVID-19 relief which appropriates money in the form of grants, loans or financing to multiple areas of the state. Part of the bill includes what is known as "link up" language which tied Vermonts taxation to Federal taxation of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) grants for the year of 2020.
After the first thunderstorm of the season which did include a category EF 1 tornado touching down in Middlebury caused the Vermont Senate to adjourn prior to passing S.10 they returned on Tuesday and passed out the bill. The bill passed out with no real fix to the "2020 problem" which will increase unemployment insurance premiums and added another benefit for parents of $50/week.
Front and center this week was the discussions surrounding bill S.10 which was originally introduced to extend certain unemployment provisions due to COVID. As reported in previous weeks the bill expanded and two additional benefits were added with no real relief to employers who were facing a 60-300% rise in their unemployment insurance premiums. Despite massive efforts by over 20 business organizations the committee doubled down on one of the benefits which would add a $50/week child benefit but did not address key concerns of the business community.
The week of 3/15 was crossover week for money bills and one bill was the main focus of the business community: S.10. As we all were aware the massive layoffs due to COVID-19 have eaten up almost $300 million out of the unemployment trust fund. This has triggered an automatic rate changed schedule to take place in the beginning of FY2022. Employers with the lowest experience rating will see their rates triple and those with the highest experience ratings like seasonal businesses including construction will see a 60% increase if nothing is done.
The first week of crossover went amazing fast and legislators were working hard to try to understand complex bills and craft policy. There was little time available for testimony and legislators found themselves working long frustrating hours without the ability to interact in person which makes these weeks easier. Speculation has begun amongst
Legislators did not meet this week as it was town meeting week. Instead Vermonters convened in person and some voted by mail for town budgets, leaders and other municipal policy. Burlington reelected Democrat Mayor Miro Wienberger by a slim margin and a vote to reinstate "ranked choice" voting means next election there is much at stake for the small city as it significantly favors third parties and in Burlingtons case that means Progressives.
The week of February 22nd was the last full week of committee work before the policy crossover deadline which is the deadline to pass bills from one chamber to the other with time to finish before adjournment. It was a busy week with each committee trying to put the finishing touches on multiple policies including a COVID relief bill, must pass budgets, COVID UI/Workers Comp provisions and miscellaneous other policies.
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
Another week has drawn to a close at the Vermont legislature inching closer and closer to "crossover". Crossover is a time scheduled with the Vermont legislature that bills should be voted out of either the Senate or House chamber allowing the other side time to complete their work vetting proposals and voting before the close of the session.
The first week of February carried with it the distraction of two controversial situations. First was a data breach by the Vermont Department of Labor. A major error occurred in the distribution of 1099s for people in the unemployment insurance programs. The error involved mixing data in printing. Addresses, social security numbers and personally identifiable information
We have now finished the first month of the new session and there are policy proposals, a new executive order regarding Act 250 and the Governors budget address to report. The committees seem to have settled in and are new members are becoming acclimated with their surroundings. During the ramp up to engaging committee work business groups have continued to message legislative and statewide leaders
The third week of the 2021 legislative session has come to an end. The majority of the past two weeks included training of new legislators, multiple training sessions for the whole assembly and this week state agencies gave their reports on activities from the past year. The main character of the discussion is the COVID-19 pandemic challenges.
On Jan. 5, lawmakers began their work like many Vermonters: remotely. Moving to a virtual legislative session that relies on Zoom to host meetings and hearings and YouTube to broadcast them, was the best decision that legislative leaders could make to protect the health and safety of Vermonters.
The 2021-2020 legislative bienium kicked off last week for what will be another unprecendented session overshadowed by the ongoing challengens due to COVID-19. The House and Senate met over Zoom meetings with one exception of one in person Senate session.