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PO Box 490, St. Albans Bay, VT  05481

Phone: 802.876.6200



VBRA Lobbyist Report 02/20/23

03/30/2023 2:38 PM | Denis Bourbeau (Administrator)

Closing out Week 7 of the 2023 Legislative Session

The House Committee on General and Housing passed out H.66 Thursday, which would create the most generous paid family and medical leave program in the United States. Employees who have been employed with the same employer for a period of six months, during which time they averaged 20 hours a week, would be eligible. The bill provides employees with up to 12 weeks leave for their own health, maternity/parental, family care, safety, and bereavement (bereavement would be only two weeks), and provides a wage replacement of 100% up to the state’s average weekly wage of $1,135 per week. The program would be paid for by a 0.55% payroll tax split between the employer and the employee.  The Committee heard from the Office of the Treasurer that administering this program would double the size of their office, and they would need upwards of $100 million to stand up the program.

The House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development continued their conversation this week around H.10, which seeks to make major changes to the Vermont Employment Growth Incentive (VEGI) program that would render it inoperable.  The Committee walked through a counter proposal from the current director of the program with the new name “Think Vermont Investment Program.” which would simplify the program by providing an annual cash award of $5,000 for every qualified job created and an enhancement of $7,500 for each job created in economically disadvantaged areas over a period of three years instead of the current five year period. 

The Senate passed S.3 banning paramilitary training camps. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Baruth, D-Chittenden-Central said, “There haven’t been adequate levers for the state to intervene or prevent such a camp from forming. This bill gives the state the authority it needs to protect Vermonters from fringe actors looking to create civil disorder.”

After weeks of testimony, the Senate Natural Resources Committee advanced S.5 creating a Clean Heat Standard for the thermal heating sector on a 5-0 vote. The bill requires fossil fuel heating companies to acquire “clean heat credits.”  They could do so through incentivizing greenhouse gas emission-reducing actions such as weatherization, electrification through heat pumps, or fuel switching to their customers. The fuel companies could also buy clean heat credits to fulfill the obligation from organizations that deliver such clean heat activities. Many are concerned the program - initially intended to cover “heating” and “thermal” use -  could pull in all fuels, including “process fuels,” which will add cost to sectors such as farming, construction, and manufacturing. 


Public hearing on the Governor’s Recommended Fiscal Year 2024 Budget on February 21 at 3:00 and February 28 at 5:30 in Room 11 or via zoom.

For more information regarding pre-registering or watching the hearing see here.

What to expect in Week 8 – February 20 - February 24, 2023

Note: The Legislative Committee Agendas are updated frequently throughout each day. The latest committee schedule can be found on this link. A list of weekly hearings for all committees can be found here.

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