Legislative Update- May 13, 2024
Sunday, May 12, 2024
by: Matt Musgrave

Section: Advocacy News

The gavel fell around 2am on Saturday morning, May 11th for the 2023-2024 Vermont legislative biennium. It was a week of constant floor sessions followed by committee meetings to decide on recommendations for amendments to the dozens of bills the legislature intended to pass by their self imposed deadline. Though all of the must pass bills and many priority bills passed the session many remained un-passed which means they are dead unless future legislators revive them. The AGC/VT lobbying team will be releasing an end of session report soon it will be pending changes because a planned veto session in late June could revive bills that did not pass the finish line although its unlikely.

S.96 which was a bill related to privatization contracts did not manage to make the finish line. The bill originally introduced to the Senate Government Ops Committee sought a radical change to the definition of privatization contracts that would allow all state contracts to be considered as such. A privatization contract is a state contract that eliminates a position within state government for doing the same job so there are certain requirements attached to the awardees. This is an uncommon practice and doesnt involve the work that building contractors generally practice. The lobbying team sought to change the bill to not wrap unintended parties in and language was added after passing the Senate to the House that explicitly gave contractors specific exemption. The bill which was highly opposed by many did not come to pass.

H.81 which was a bill designed to allow agriculture and forestry equipment owners and independent repair dealers access to tools, manuals and diagnostic tools only available to authorized dealers also did not pass. AGC/VT members, farmers, and equipment representatives worked to create language in the bill that would create a logical program without injuring the public, Vermonts authorized dealers and owners. The time it took to find compromise still caused the bill to run out of time before adjournment. 

In the positive category S.184 which creates a pilot program installing license plate reading technology with speed radar at some interstate work zones. The program would allow for installation and initiation of a program that would first send a warning to someone exceeding 10 mph over the speed limit in the well warned with signs work zones. This is the accumulation of 5 years of lobbying for safer work zones since the death of a flagger in Fair Haven, VT. 

But, its not over yet for sure. Most of the bills passed at the last minute will have to be vetted by the Governor and he will decide which to sign, veto or let pass. Be on the lookout for a detailed bill run down and podcast with your lobbying team.