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VCDR ALERT – Legislative UPDATE May

Posted on the 23 May, 2018 at 5:57 am Written by in News

Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights – Legislative UPDATE


The Vermont 2017-2019 Legislative Session has ended, with overwhelming support for the budget and tax bills, but the Governor has indicated he will Veto the above bills along with a number of others. He has called for a special session this week beginning on Wednesday May 23rd to deal with the vetoes and new legislation. It is expected that the Republicans will be able to sustain the Governor’s Vetoes.

Legislative leaders called back to the special session have indicated they will meet as a whole on Wednesday, but plan on coming back next week after committees of jurisdiction work on changes to legislation that must be passed before July first of this year.

As you can read in some of the articles below the Governor wants to use the additional revenues (“one time”) to eliminate any increase in property taxes that local voters authorized when passing their school budgets. The Budget bill passed uses those funds to pay down existing debt in teacher’s retirement and reduce property taxes. The Budget passed does restore some of the most dramatic cuts to disabilities and other human services that the Governor originally proposed.

The Governor already vetoed S.40 Minimum Wage increase, and H.196 Paid Family Leave.

Below are a number of news articles about the legislature, links to the budget documents and excerpts, and some selected bills passed by the House and Senate. It generally takes a number of weeks after the session for legislative council to review and summarize all of the legislation past. With the special session and new legislation coming forth, it could be a few more weeks before final results get posted.

VCDR will Continue to publish any updates and a final report when all bills are available.


Scott whips out veto pen before special session

By Elizabeth Hewitt   May 22 2018


UPDATED: Senate leader says no negotiations with Scott behind closed doors By Xander Landen    May 16 2018, 10:46 PM


Scott to call lawmakers back for special session May 23

By Xander Landen    May 15 2018


Vermont Legislature passes tax rate hike despite veto threat, goes home April McCullum, Burlington  Free Press ET May 14, 2018 https://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/politics/government/2018/05/14/vt-legislature-leaves-montpelier-despite-tax-standoff/606770002/

Senate Pro-Tem Letter to Governor  


Budget Passes – Governor will veto



Final tax bill proposes low property tax increases – VTDigger






FY 2019 Budget Web Report: http://www.leg.state.vt.us/jfo/webreports/webreports/Web/FY2019%20Big%20Bill%20Web%20Report%205-12-2018%2012_56_26%20PM.html#id3400001000

Committee of Conference Report (Budget as Passed): http://www.leg.state.vt.us/jfo/appropriations/fy_2019/H__924_-_Committee_of_Conference_Report_Official_Signed_Copy.pdf

FY 2019 Committee of Conference Budget Highlights: http://www.leg.state.vt.us/jfo/appropriations/fy_2019/H_924_COC_Highlight_Floor_Handout.pdf

FY 2019 One-Time Budget Expenditures from FY 2018 surplus & Tobacco Settlement:  



Selected Human Services Sections:

Sec. B.300 AHS Secretary’s Office: Removed Gov’s $500k for dental and home visits, restores $71k proposed reduction to legal aid and 110k to Health Care Advocate

Sec. B.301 Secretary’s office – global commitment: Added $2m state match for MH DA increase for direct care staff pay increases, 2,328,068 federal match.

Sec. B.307 Department of Vermont health access – Medicaid program – global commitment:      No change from the Senate that added 565,670, This funding combined with $1.6m in restored PCCM funding is directed to FQHC and physician base primary care rates and payments

Sec. B.311 Health – administration and support: Agreed to a $170k state and $170k federal increase for clinics for the uninsured

Sec. B.312 Health – public health: Maintains $170k increase for clinics for the uninsured, Federal and state match moved to Sec.B. 311

Sec. B.314 Mental health – mental health: Conference Committee agreed to $200k GF increase for Supportive Housing, provided $4.32m for DA to increase pay for direct care staff, did not fund the warm line, did not fund  discretionary new Rutland supportive housing new program.

Sec. B.318 DCF Child Development: No change from Senate that added $295,000 Federal funds Increase to reflect available federal funding and maintained subsidy levels consistent with FPL level.

Sec. B. 325 Office of Economic Opportunity: Increase $35k for Individual Development Accounts in Base (Matched savings). Micro-Business Development Program “one time” increase of $100k.(C.105.1)

 Sec. B.330 DAIL Advocacy and Independent Living Grants: Conference Committee agreed to $8,484 GF for a %2 meals on wheels increase, 40,925 for a 2% adult day rehab increase, and restores the state funded Personally Directed Attendant Care (PDAC) program for non- Medicaid eligible persons as proposed by Gov.

Sec. B.333 DAIL Developmental Services: Conference Committee agreed to restore $4,328,067 to fund existing developmental services, and fully funds the caseload increase for developmental services ($2m-GF).

Sec. C.105.1 Fiscal Year 2018 One-time Transfers and Appropriations from Tobacco Litigation Settlement: Conference Committee appropriated $100k for Micro-Business Development Program, $1m for to be used for renovation and fit up at the Brattleboro Retreat to provide a minimum of 12 beds, including level 1 beds, and $500k to UVM. Conference Committee appropriated $100k for DCF to analyze how Vermont’s families make early care and education arrangements and $100k for AOE to conduct a Pre-K study.

Sec. C.106 Substance Use Disorder: Conference Committee appropriated $7m in one time funds to support systematic changes to how CHINS proceedings are conducted.

Sec. C.106.1 Substance Use Disorder Response Fund Working Group: Changed to “Expanding workforce for substance use disorder treatment and mental health professionals”

Sec. C.106.2 Substance Use Disorder Response Initiatives: Conference Committee appropriated $2.5m for one time or self-sustaining substance use disorder initiatives relating to prevention, intervention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery as determined by AHS.

Sec. E300.2 Funding for the office of the health care advocate: Funded the Health Care Advocate at $1,457,406.

Sec. E.323 Reach up; ratable reduction report

Sec. E.324 Expedited crisis fuel assistance

Sec. E.324.1 LIHEAP and weatherization

Sec. E.325.1 Individual development savings program

Sec. E.326 DCF OEO weatherization assistance

Sec. E.330 Personal Directed Attendant Care Services: Charged AHS with continuing the PDAC program for FY19



TOP TEN BILLS PASSED THIS YEAR, per vtdigger https://vtdigger.org/2018/05/15/top-10-bills-approved-vermont-legislature-2018/


SUMMARY of BILLS PASSED THIS YEAR, from VPR http://digital.vpr.net/post/5-minute-wrapup-what-got-done-during-5-month-long-legislative-session?mc_cid=fb4b9e6560&mc_eid=b0c46436d5#stream/0



Bills of Interest as passed by the House and the Senate


H.897 An act relating to enhancing the effectiveness, availability, and equity of services provided to students who require additional support


S.229  Independent Schools – Passed by Senate –   Incorporated into H.897


H.911 An act relating to changes in Vermont’s personal income tax and education financing system – As passed by House and Senate


Summary of Changes H.911:



H.911 Tax Changes and Education funding

Working well into Saturday evening, the House and Senate finalized versions of the tax and budget bills.

The Legislature used $9.8 million in surplus tax receipts to fill the education fund reserve and raised property tax rates. They rejected Scott’s plan to use $58 million of one-time money to buy down the rates and carry forward deficit spending in the education fund.

Instead, they approved a 2.5 cent hike in residential property tax rates and a 5 cent hike in non-residential rates. This represents a last-minute compromise reached by a conference committee. The House had originally proposed an income tax surcharge and the Senate had proposed higher property tax increases to cover the gap.

The property tax hikes face an all but certain veto from the governor, who opposes increases to property tax rates.


S.40 Minimum wage – As passed by House and Senate


The Legislature passed the minimum wage bill, S.40 last week. The bill would gradually raise Vermont’s minimum wage from $10.50 an hour to $15 an hour by 2024. Proponents have said that increased wages will boost Vermont’s economy as workers will spend more money at local businesses and send more tax dollars back to the state’s coffers.

Opponents of the bill, including Gov. Phil Scott, say if the higher wage becomes law, workers will lose jobs as businesses look to shed employees with higher salaries. The governor has said he will veto the bill when it comes to his desk. The bill passed by a narrow margin in the House; a number of Democrats joined Republicans in opposing the minimum wage hike.


  1. 196 Paid family leave –  As passed by House and Senate


The House gave final approval to the paid family leave bill on Friday, but a veto from the governor is expected. H.196 relies on a new payroll tax to enable Vermont workers to take up to 12 weeks of paid parental and family leave, with a cap on six weeks of family leave per year.

Employees would pay a 0.136 percent payroll tax for a parental and family leave insurance program. Workers who take the benefit would receive 70 percent of their income during the leave period.

Supporters of the bill say that paid family leave will reduce stress for families and attract young people to Vermont who want to start families. The bill has faced opposition from Republicans and some Democrats, who say working Vermonters cannot afford to pay a tax for a program they may not use. Scott, who opposes any new taxes, has vowed to veto the legislation.


S.203 An act relating to systemic improvements of the mental health system



 H.912  An act relating to the health care regulatory duties of the Green Mountain Care Board


Submitted by Karen Lafayette [email protected]