Government Relations

2018 Washington County Legislative Delegation

Congressional Delegation 2017 – 2018 115th Congress

Check here every week during the legislative session for a Legislative Update from            

Downs Rachlin Martin, PLLC Government Affairs Group.

The Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Positions

Legislative Update- January 15, 2018

The Odd Couple
The 2018 legislative session has the potential for more partisanship than has been seen in the Statehouse for many years. But if history is a guide, party politics will play a backseat to the mundane day-to-day task of legislating in the House Commerce & Economic Development Committee.
Chaired for the last nine years by Rep. Bill Botzow, D-Pownal, Commerce has always been known as a workhorse committee. Its members are assigned based on their willingness to spend long days grinding through massive bills on mundane but critical topics that create the framework for commerce in Vermont.
Sitting by Botzow’s side for the past nine years has been Committee Co-chair Michael Marcotte, R-Coventry. Together, they form an odd couple unlike any other committee leadership pair in recent Vermont history.
Botzow is a tall, lanky, 72-year-old artist from liberal Bennington County. Marcotte is a much shorter, 59-year-old convenience store owner from the conservative Northeast Kingdom. On most afternoons, after the other committee members have left the Statehouse following a long day of testimony, Botzow and Marcotte can been found sitting at the head of the committee table, working through the difficult substantive and political obstacles that face many of the bills that are referred to the committee.
To be sure, some bills are approved by the committee along party lines. But those votes are a rarity, and both Botzow and Marcotte view it as a failure when they are not able to pass bills on a bipartisan – and ideally unanimous – basis.
Underlying the quest for bipartisanship is a desire by both members to get the details right. They are problem-solvers who seem solely motivated by a desire to better Vermont. That means hearing testimony from virtually any person or organization that has an interest in a given bill. It’s the kind of old-fashioned legislating that has virtually vanished from Congress, and that can sometimes be lacking in other Vermont committees.
While the national political discourse breeds an increasing level of cynicism and distrust, the Botzow-Marcotte leadership team embodies the kind of thoughtful legislating that would make most Vermonters proud.

 

Committee Approves Holdover Consumer Protection Bill
The House Commerce and Economic Development Committee unanimously approved a bill this week, H.593, that includes a variety of consumer protection provisions that were considered but not approved last year. Read more

Finance Takes Up Broadband Privacy Bill
The Senate Finance Committee took preliminary testimony on Friday on the Vermont Broadband Internet Privacy Act, S.289. Read more

Panel Considers Regulation of Medical Assistants
The House Government Operations Committee took testimony on Wednesday on H.496, a bill that calls for the regulation of medical assistants. Read more

Committee Begins Prescription Drug Discussion
Senate leaders have identified prescription drug pricing as a priority for this session, and on Wednesday the Senate Health and Welfare Committee reviewed four proposals – S.146, S.164,
S.163 and S.223 – with a goal to develop an omnibus prescription drug bill. Read more

GMCB Outlines Legislative Priorities
Green Mountain Care Board Chairman Kevin Mullin presented the Board’s priorities to the House Health Care Committee on Friday. Read more

Vermont Information Technology Leaders at a Crossroads
Lawmakers during the last session adopted a provision in the tax bill that required the state to conduct a comprehensive review of Vermont’s Health Information Exchange and Vermont Information Technology Leaders. Read more

Secretary of State Proposes Update to Rulemaking Law
The cloudy and arcane process by which Vermont statutes are turned into published rules with the force of law is targeted for an update. Read more

Waste Districts Seek Funding from Makers of Household Products
Manufacturers of household cleaners and other hazardous consumer products would have to pay a fee to sell their products in Vermont and the money would be given to solid waste districts for hazardous waste collection programs if H.560 is enacted as written. Read more

Quick Hearing Advances Extension of Petroleum Cleanup Fund
After 30 years of quietly providing money for the cleanup of leaks and spills from above-ground and underground petroleum fuel storage tanks, the Petroleum Cleanup Fund is up for renewal this year. Read more

DPS and GMP Explain Drivers of Five Percent Electric Rate Increase
Department of Public Service Consumer Advocate James Porter warned lawmakers on Thursday that the same cost factors that led to a 5.02 percent increase in electric rates charged by Green Mountain Power in December would prevail again when the company comes to the Public Utilities Commission in April for another rate analysis. Read more

Senate Committee Begins Hard Look at Minimum Wage
On Thursday, the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs reviewed the Report of the Minimum Wage and Benefits Cliff Study Committee. Read more

Government and Public Affairs Group
Downs Rachlin’s Government and Public Affairs professionals help the state’s critical industries to achieve key objectives involving government, the press and the public.

John Hollar | Trey Martin | Joseph Choquette III | Lucie Garand | Rebecca Lewandoski For more information about this Legislative Update, please contact Tricia Augeri.

 

 

Appropriations Committees Review Small Budget Adjustment Act

Department of Finance and Management Commissioner Adam Greshin visited both the House and Senate Appropriation Committees this week to review the administration’s proposed Budget Adjustment Act for this year.
Read more

Government and Public Affairs Group

Downs Rachlin’s Government and Public Affairs professionals help the state’s critical industries to achieve key objectives involving government, the press and the public.

John Hollar | Trey Martin  | Joseph Choquette III | Lucie Garand | Rebecca Lewandoski

For more information about this Legislative Update, please contact Tricia Augeri.

 

 

 

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