Slow Start to New Legislature but Significant Issues Expected; Employer Engagement will be Critical

The Legislature spent its first full week of the new session and biennium primarily receiving introductions from key legislative staff, administrative agencies and non-governmental stakeholders.  However, work on legislation impacting Vermont’s employers and economy is expected to start in the coming week, and employers are strongly encouraged to contact us to provide point persons we can reach out to on issue areas to keep you fully informed about developments and potentially assist in engaging legislators on key issues of concern and interest to you.

Already introduced is S.5, legislation revisiting the Clean Heat Standard program that was vetoed last year.  This proposal, which will be discussed in greater detail in a future post, primarily targets fossil fuels used for heating.  AIV will be engaging on this bill with particular attention to whether and how it might impact heating costs for employers but also any potential cost impacts on processing fuels.

Another significant issue, mandatory paid family leave, is expected to have legislation introduced in the House in the coming week.  Reports are that the bill will mandate up to twelve weeks of paid family and medical leave, provide for 100% wage replacement, and impose a 0.58% payroll tax (split evenly between employees and employers) to pay for the benefit.  More details and issues will be addressed when legislation is introduced.

Other issues expected to be taken up, either this year or next, include changes to the state’s renewable energy requirements, new restrictions or other regulations on chemicals in products and packaging, new costs on manufacturers to pay for product and packaging waste streams (particularly household hazardous waste, paper, and packaging), potential changes to labor laws in several areas (including workplace discrimination, unemployment insurance, and others), and new taxes to pay for new and expanded childcare programs.

We hope you’ll consider contacting us at to let us know who on your team we should provide updates and reach out to regarding key issues including:

  • Taxes
  • Energy
  • Human Resources/Labor Issues
  • Transportation/Logistics
  • Environmental Compliance
  • Product/Process Regulation
  • Other issues you are particularly interested in