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Legislative Update March 24, 2019

03/26/2019 6:36 AM | Denis Bourbeau

Act 250

Updated Draft of Act 250 Bill

House Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife continues to lumber along in their testimony of their Act 250 Bill. This week the committee spent a lot of time on changes to the regulation of slate quarries. There was also testimony on the racial equity aspects of Act 250 that will continue next week. It is clear to most that this bill won’t be out for a vote this year.

Paid Family Leave

H.107was voted out of House Ways and Means late Friday afternoon on a vote of 7-4 and will move to the House Floor next week.

This articledoes a good job at explaining the many changes that were made in the last two days. Of particular note, the payroll tax has been decreased from a proposed .93% to .55% and the employer would decide how that cost would be split between the employee and employer. This bill will move on to Senate Health & Welfare and we will make sure HBRA testifies to the challenge of finding temporary skilled workers to replace those who take this leave. 

Residential Building Energy Standards

HBRA was on a call on Friday with the group of associations who support increased efforts to ensure RBES standards are being properly implemented. This is the group who signed on to an RBES Compliance Letter that Jim Bradley delivered to House Natural Resources when he testified to that committee. There are a number of bills being considered that call for expanding efficiency requirements on new and existing home structures. It was decided on this call that we would focus efforts on  getting a work group established in legislation that would call for recommendations on enforcement of RBES. The intention would be that the recommendations that would be created after adjournment would then be drafted by key legislators to be passed into law next session.

Jim Bradley will be testifying in House Energy and Technology and Senate Natuarl Resources about the need for oversight of RBES before expanding more requirements on home builders next week.

Weatherization Bill

S.171 is a new bill in Senate Natural Resources that proposed to address climate change by increasing weatherization and by establishing a statewide system for rating and labelling the energy performance of buildings.

Jim Bradley will testifying in this committee about the need for the aforementioned workgroup and the fact that we have standards in place that are not enforced at this point.

Association Health Plans (AHP)

There is language in H.524that will effectively eliminate AHPs. Currently about 5,000 employees in VT will be affected and will have to go back to the health exchange to purchase their insurance. The committees took a lot of testimony in support of association plans but failed to convince the House of the benefit to these plans. This bill will move on to the Senate next week.

Workforce Development Bill

H.533 is now in House Appropriations. This bill will move on to the Senate and there will be opportunities for HBRA members to testify to the need for this training in our industry.

The Toxins Bill

S.37 - This strict liability and medical monitory bill passed the Senate and is now in House Judiciary

If you have people who would like to testify please let us know.

Contractor Registry Bill

S.163 – Was voted out of Senate Finance and will be on the Senate floor for a vote of the entire Senate next Wednesday and Thursday and then move on to the House. We will continue to monitor this bill to ensure this language remains as HBRA has agreed to.

The Tax Bill – aka:

The House Revenue Bill

This bill will be on the House floor for a vote next week. An easy to read chart with specific details can be found here. This bill proposes to reduce the capital gains exclusion, increase the estate tax exclusion, increase funding for the first-time homebuyers program and downtown and village center tax credit, clarify who pays the property transfer tax, and makes changes to the land gains and fuel tax.

Employee Misclassification

S.108 - proposes to permit the Attorney General to enforce complaints of employee misclassification under the workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance laws.

This has passed the Senate and is now in House Commerce and Economic Development.

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