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Legislative Update May 4th, 2019

05/08/2019 10:20 AM | Denis Bourbeau

The Legislature is in the home stretch. It is anticipated that the legislative session should be ending around May 18th and Senate Committees are beginning to shut down as they focus on conference committees and finishing up their work for the year. There are still bills in play that affect Home Builders and we are following these closely as things can move quickly during these last few weeks.

Contractor Registry Bill

S.163 – The House General and Military Affairs Committee has been taking a lot of testimony on this bill. Jim Bradley testified in support on Thursday morning. The committee is still considering a few changes to the Senate version, particularly around the dollar level that would determine when a contractor needs to register. Most of the testimony is supportive of the contractor registry and it is anticipated the bill should pass out of committee later next week..

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

The committee stripped strict liability from the bill and it now focuses on medical monitoring. Updated language can be found here S.37.  This language is still a concern as it leaves contractors vulnerable to lawsuits and increased insurance costs. We are still trying to get an exemption for construction materials but haven’t received a lot of support in the committee. A number of insurance industry people have testified with their concerns to the committee but haven’t been able to sway the members either. We’ll continue our work next week with key legislators. 

Paid Family Leave

The Senate Economic Development Committee is continuing to take testimony on this bill. The latest version can be found here S.107.  The committee is trying to pare down the benefits to lower the payroll tax to a 0.2%, split between the employee and employer. More details will be hammered out next week.

The Senate Economic Development Committee is continuing to take testimony on this bill. The latest version can be found here H.107. The committee is trying to pare down the benefits to lower the payroll tax to 0.2% (down from the House version which is 0.55%) split between the employee and employer. More details will be hammered out next week.

Employee Misclassification

Testimony continued last week regarding S.108 which proposes a new process for enabling the AG’s office to investigate cases of alleged employee misclassification. The amended language can be found here. The committee received strong testimony from Diane Bothfeld, Director of Administrative Services, Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. She plainly laid out for the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development how misclassification claims work, defending the current process for the Department of Labor. When asked, “shouldn’t the AG’s office have a role in investigating and prosecuting claims,” her answer was, “absolutely not”. We hope the committee has taken this week’s testimony seriously and realizes there isn’t a need for additional oversight. We’ll be meeting with legislative committee members next week to get their latest feedback.

In other news:

State Still Making Clean Water a Priority

https://vtdigger.org/2019/05/03/pay-clean-water-lawmakers-look-ed-fund/ 

Water Testing for PFAS

https://vtdigger.org/2019/04/15/qa-cassie-polhemus-ceo-veda/

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