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Legislative Update, April 28, 2019

05/01/2019 6:52 PM | Denis Bourbeau

Contractor Registry Bill

S.163 –House General and Military Affairs will take up the Contractor Registry sections of S.163 on Wednesday and Thursday.

Wednesday the committee will hear from:

Chris Curtis, Attorney General’s office

Gabe Gilman and Lauren Hibbert, Office of Professional Regulation

Matt Musgrave, Associated General Contractors

Dennis Wygmans, Addison County State’s Attorney

On Thursday morning:

Jim Bradley, HBRA

Ward Smyth, Turtle Creek Builders

Sandra Vitzthum, Architect

Brad Cook, Building Performance Services.

Dan Clar of Clar Construction has also been invited but not confirmed.

The Toxins Bill – aka – Strict Liability/Medical Monitoring Bill

S.37 – We coordinated a meeting with Paul Zabriskie, Program Director for the Weatherization Program at Capstone and his associate, Cory Boisvert along with Trey Martin, former Secretary of ANR to discuss contractor concerns as they relate to .37. Paul would be the best person to bring this concern before the House Judiciary Committee. He agreed to talk with committee members after our meeting. We also met with key committee members about language that would address our main areas of concern regarding the release of toxins by a “large facility”. We want to ensure that a “large facility” is actually the manufacturer, not the contractor who uses the product.  

Association Health Plans

The Chamber of Commerce has worked diligently by bringing people in to testify in Senate Health and Welfare supporting these plans and highlighting the benefits for employees. The committee is interested in allowing AHPs now in place to continue. If the majority in this committee votes to support the existing plans there will most assuredly be a conference committee where the House and Senate members will have to come to a compromise. There is also a current federal court case which has challenged the viability of Association Health Plans. Here is a U.S. Department of Labor Q&A regarding this court ruling.

Paid Family Leave

H.107 The Senate Economic Development Committee is continuing to take testimony on this bill. Business groups are asking the members to consider a payroll tax opt out for employees who don’t want to avail themselves of this benefit. The committee’s concern is that this will raise the cost of the program for those who want the coverage. The counter point to this; people will be forced to pay into a program that they won’t use which doesn’t seem appropriate. The deliberations will continue next week.

Employee Misclassification

S.108 – Supporters of this bill continue to push for the Attorney General’s office to share the responsibility for investigating complaints of employee misclassification with the Department of Labor (where these cases are currently reviewed). Solid testimony was presented to House Commerce from the Department of Labor highlighting the work they do with regard to complaints made. They strongly made their case that having the Attorney General’s office share the lead is unlike any other arrangements made with other state departments. If there was a difference of opinion between the two there is no way it could be resolved. We followed up with the most ardent committee members who support the bill and believe they are coming to understand the challenges here and are open to some changes that will be supported by HBRA.

In other news:

Minimum wage voted out of committee:

https://vtdigger.org/2019/04/26/house-committee-advances-15-minimum-wage/

Act 250 Legislation Stalled:

https://www.vpr.org/post/acting-act-250-legislation-stalled-vt-lawmakers-take-long-view-development



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