ADVOCACY

The following are some highlights of the many issues on which AIV is currently engaged.  This information is updated periodically, most recenty in December 2017.  For more recent updates and for more information about these or other issues AIV is working on or that you would like addressed, don't hesitate to email us at info@aivt.org.


ACTION ALERTS


Survey Requests. AIV is surveying Vermont employers on a number of key issues that will see action later this year and next.  These surveys are important to both raise awareness among employers but also help inform rulemaking and legislative debates heading into next year.  Please take a moment to consider the surveys noted below.

LEGISLATIVE ISSUES


Energy Costs for Manufacturers and Others.  In 2014, AIV convinced the legislature to require a report from the Department of Public Service and the Agency of Commerce on policy options to reduce the cost of electricity for Vermont manufacturers and other energy intensive businesses.  AIV is continuing to work with these departments on the development of concrete proposals that build on and go further than ideas addressed in the report.

On a related front, AIV is currently working on a separate track with the Department and Agency on stakeholder input for overhauling options for self-administered energy efficiency programs that allow companies to use their own Energy Efficiency Charge funds to make them more flexible and useful.  To see the recent report and recommendations stemming from this effort, click here.

AIV will be working with our Energy Task Force on these issues.  If you are interested in more information about this issue, report, or our task force, please contact us at info@aivt.orgWe are also collecting input and interest through the survey linked below -- we hope you'll take a moment to complete it.

Click here for the survey.


Independent Contractors and Employee Classification.   As many employers are aware, the Vermont Department of Labor has been determining that independent contractors must be classified as full employees at an increasing rate in recent years.  This can have significant implications for UI and workers' compensation costs and other issues affecting an employer's bottom line and business model.  There is growing consensus that legislative reform is needed, but the scope and details of any potential fix remains extremely contentious.

During the 2016 legislative session, AIV helped lead a successful effort to get effective reform legislation, H.867, passed unanimously out of the House Commerce Committee with the support of the Department.  However, upon the urging of organized labor representatives, the House leadership sidelined and ultimately killed the bill. 

AIV is now continuing to work with coalition allies to gather input and support from employers across the state and across sectors on this issue as we prepare for a new round of legislative debate while working with the Administration to promote more rational administrative policies that provide more sensible clarity and fairness for independent contractors and their client companies.  If we are to succeed in achieving reforms that will benefit all employers and business models, it is critical to get feedback and input from as many employers as possible -- we hope you'll take a moment to complete a survey that will be posted in the next few days.  If you would like to discuss this issue further, please don't hesitate to contact us at info@aivt.org.

Check back soon for an updated survey.


Drug Use and the Workplace.  

Recently the Governor signed H.511 into law. The bill, which was passed by the Legislature earlier in January, legalizes possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivation of two mature marijuana plants and four immature plants. The bill falls short of more aggressive proposals to legalize and regulate the sale and purchase of marijuana and consumption in public. Nevertheless, this step forward in legalizing marijuana will continue to be an important issue for manufacturers and other employers. Among the many issues raised by this question are workplace safety and hiring challenges facing Vermont employers. This is especially acute for manufacturers and companies relying on government contracts.

Of particular concern, proposals under discussion to date have failed to address significant problems with Vermont's workplace drug testing laws.

The question of reforming workplace drug testing is part of the ongoing charge of the Governor’s Marijuana Advisory Commission, particularly in the report and recommendations due this coming December. For more information on the commission, contact us at info@aivt.org.

AIV is conducting a confidential survey of employers to ensure that these issues are part of the ongoing debate on further steps and to identify additional issues. Responses to this survey will be used only in the aggregate.

We encourage you to complete this confidential survey, and please don't hesitate to contact us at info@aivt.org if you want to discuss this matter further.

Click here for the survey.


Complying with Mandatory Paid Leave. Legislation mandating most Vermont employers provide paid leave was enacted in 2016. AIV is working with employers and the Vermont Department of Labor to address implementation and compliance issues and questions. We are also working with employers interested in potential amendments to the law next year.

AIV is also actively engaged with the new legislation pending action in the Senate next year to enact a much broader paid leave law.

If you have interest in any of these areas, we encourage you to contact us for more information.


REGULATORY ISSUES


Broad New Chemical Regulations and Legal Liabilities.  Legislation has been introduced in both the House and the Senate to enact a number of new chemical and product reporting and other regulatory provisions, as well as impose a number of new legal liabilities on manufacturers and other companies. AIV successfully forestalled this legislation in 2017 and is leading efforts to do so again this coming year while coordinating engagement between manufacturers and the newly created Interagency Committee on Chemical Management to develop more rational and helpful reform of chemical regulations.

All manufacturers, retailers carrying chemical or consumer products, and related businesses are strongly urged to contact us at info@aivt.org to learn more about how these proposals could impact your company and different opportunities to stay informed or get engaged.

Check back soon for a related survey.


Chemicals in Children's Products. In 2014, Vermont enacted a new law governing chemicals present in products marketed for children.  The law has extensive reporting requirements and provides for potential restrictions or bans on specific chemicals or products.  Proposals to expand the law beyond children's products and initial chemicals have been introduced and will likely be debated in 2018 (see chemical issue above). 

AIV successfully worked for legislation enacted last year that extended the intial reporting deadline to January 1, 2017.  However, several implementation issues remain in question.

AIV is leading a coalition of Vermont employers and national trade associations in engaging on implementation of the current law and preparing to address any legislation expanding it or making related changes.  We encourage all manufacturers to contact us at info@aivt.org to learn more about the law, whether they are currently covered, and how they might be impacted by any expansion in the future.

Check back soon for a related survey.