May 1 Legislative Update

As we move into the season of May showers our leaders in the Vermont legislature are continuing to delve into the challenges created by the COVID-19 virus, its effects on our economy, and must pass bills. Both chambers of the Assembly have voted emergency rules to allow for remote meetings and voting. This change has presented opportunities and challenges. Committee sessions and floor sessions are now available for the public to view over YouTube. This increases transparency for people who are normally unable to watch the democratic process unfold in real time. For some, the inability to be in a room watching the process has limited abilities to be a part of the process because only people invited are able to participate in meetings and there are no more “hallway chats” with legislators. With the challenges and opportunities good things are still happening.

While the legislators are working on must pass bills and COVID-19 bills your legislative team and association have been striving to get you back to work. AGC/VT staff has been going between multiple online meetings with state groups including the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Department of Health, Agency of Transportation and Buildings and General Services on return to work planning.

The AGC/VT board of directors assembled a task for to design and vet a plan with the ACCD Restart Vermont committee through the beginning of April. The task force included vertical, horizontal, residential builders, suppliers and professionals who met daily to craft the return to work plan. The plan after multiple edits and additions was successfully vetted by Restart Vermont and AGC/VT commenced training under the plan. The course called “COVID-19 Safety Resource Officer Training” was put together and offered at first to only AGC/VT members. The course is a “train the trainer” program designed to create safety officers who would return to provide company wide COVID-19 training and enforce strict adherence to the protocols within the plan.

Part of the AGC/VT plan and training included vetting sub contractor and suppliers for their plan. It became clear immediately that we were way ahead of the curve because no other plans or training existed which presented the problem of what to do with subs… So, AGC/VT decided that we would open up the training beyond membership to any contractor, sub or supplier for free so that we could have a successful construction season. As of the date of this report over 900 people have been trained as CSROs who will give training to an estimated 15,000 people across Vermont. In addition to bringing in our colleagues the Restart committee has been sharing the AGC/VT plan with other business sectors so that they can develop their own.

Your legislative team continues to track bills including the transportation bill, dmv bill and others related to the state budget. One of the biggest discussions taking place at the state house now is how the legislature will appropriate the $1.2 billion received in Federal aid packages. If you have any questions about anything political please contact matt@agcvt.org.