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VCDR 2020 Weekly Legislative Calendar of Activities – April 6 – April 10, 2020

 

VCDR 2020 Weekly Summary of Legislative Activities,

Committee Agendas and Calendar of Events

 

April 6 – April 10

Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights

 

19

Week Four – Summary of Legislative Action

On Friday, March 13, the VT Legislature adjourned until March 24th due to concerns over the Coronavirus.

Since then, both the House and the Senate have been holding caucuses and rules meetings remotely for the past three weeks. The House and Senate met as bodies two weeks ago, to pass emergency legislation and the House passed resolutions to allow committees to vote remotely and permit the House of Representative to vote remotely as well. The House still needs to hold a remote vote to approve the rule change. The Senate is expecting to meet again this week to authorize remote voting in the Senate.

The two pieces of legislation that have passed are H.742 and H.681. H.681 contains several updates to elections and open meeting laws to ensure local municipal meetings and state elections can be conducted safely in the current public health crisis and H.742 updates the unemployment insurance program and gives greater flexibility to our health care system to meet the unknown needs the State will be facing. Both bills originated in the House and were part of the package passed on March 13, 2020. The Governor signed them into law on March 30th. You can see the content of those bills below. A link to the Federal Legislation passed is also included.

All legislative committees now are live streaming (links provided below), but unfortunately you can no longer just listen in by phone. Senate and House Caucuses and Rules committee meetings can still be accesses by phone call in. These meetings are posted on the Legislative Website home page under “Announcements”.

The House for now is still planning on addressing some key non-COVID -19 and the Legislature will have to pass a FY Budget eventually.

House and Senate committees for the most part are still gathering information about the Federal Assistance (Stimulus bill) that will be coming to the State and how it can be utilized (there are restrictions). They are also taking a look at the economic forecast in the State and the reductions of revenues.

As of Friday March 13th the House Appropriations committee had come close to finalizing the FY 2021 budget, but it is expected now that they will probably have to pass another “Budget Adjustment” to the FY 2020 Budget to deal with lost revenues and the COVID-19 crisis and may pass a temporary FY 2021 Budget5 going forward. This could mean rescissions in this fiscal year and budget reductions in the next fiscal year or both.

The Legislature is working closely with the administration and each department of State. There are links provided in this email to articles, the State Department of Health, and other informational websites.

The Legislation passed by the House and Senate last week will begin to address some of the emergency measures to assisted Vermonters with healthcare, unemployment measures, housing, small business and other and other. Some legislation still being considered will deal with election issues for school budgets coming up, open meeting laws and other (see links below)

Also included in this email are links to the Legislative Website, Committees, VPR, Articles of Interest, and State and National links to COVID-19 information.

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***THIS WEEK***

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR WEBINAR

TUESDAY, APRIL 7

Resources for the Self-Employed

Time: 2:00pm – 3:00pm

Overview: Resources available for self-employed or independent contractors and process they should take to apply for unemployment insurance benefits.

Speakers: Michael Harrington (Interim Commissioner), Joan Goldstein (Commissioner, Department of Economic Development) and Cameron Wood (Director, Unemployment Insurance)

Online Link: bit.ly/VTlaborTownHall_April7

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***LEGISLATION PASSED***

***NEW*** $1200 Stimulus Payment information from VT Legal Aid and VSECU:

https://vtlawhelp.org/coronavirus-economic-impact-stimulus-payments

https://blog.vsecu.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-your-covid-19-relief-check

Joint Fiscal Documents

***NEW***Congressional Stimulus Bill – Formula funding for Vermont

https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2020/WorkGroups/House%20Appropriations/A.%20FY%202021%20State%20Budget/1A.%20COVID-19/W~Stephen%20Klein,%20Chief%20Fiscal%20Officer,%20Joint%20Fiscal%20Office~Congressional%20Stimulus%20Bill%20-%20Formula%20funding%20for%20Vermont~3-26-2020.pdf

SECTION BY SECTION summary of H.742 (passed by House and Senate)

https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2020/WorkGroups/House%20Appropriations/Bills/H.742/H.742~Jennifer%20Carbee,%20Legislative%20Counsel~Section%20by%20Section%20-%20as%20recommended%20by%20Senate%20Committee%20on%20Health%20and%20Welfare~3-25-2020.pdf

H.742 An act relating to grants for emergency medical personnel training, as passed by House and Senate) https://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2020/H.742

H.681 “An act relating to employer registration for unemployment insurance and amendments to the unemployment insurance laws to address the COVID-19 outbreak”, as passed by House and Senate

https://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2020/H.681

FEDERAL BILL: Appropriations summary prepared by the office of the Vice Chairman is available here: https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/download/032520-title-by-title-summary-final

Bill text is available here: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act – Bill Text for Division B

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***LEGISLATIVE PAGES***

Legislature Website: https://legislature.vermont.gov/

Complete Schedule of Legislative Committee Agendas:

https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/weeklyAgendas/2020

All committees can be viewed through you tube LIVE STREAM. You can find the link on the committee’s agenda page.

Vermont Public Radio – Online Streaming: https://www.vpr.org/online-streams#stream/0

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***COMMITTEE HIGHLIGHTS***

HOUSE COMMITTEES

**House Appropriations: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2020/9

On Wednesday the committee will take up COVID-19 Unemployment Insurance

**House Commerce and Economic Development: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2020/11

Bills in Committee:

H.641 Draft 12.1 https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2020/WorkGroups/House%20Commerce/Bills/H.641/Drafts,%20Ammendments%20&%20Summaries/H.641~David%20Hall~%20Draft%2012.1,%203-25-2020~3-25-2020.pdf

**House Corrections and Institutions: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2020/17

The Committee will meet remotely Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday and take up S.388 – Justice Reinvestment. On Tuesday they will hear about Racial Disparity

**House Committee on Education: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2020/10

On Tuesday the committee will take up S.164 – An act relating to miscellaneous changes to education law and on Friday they will take up the education response to COVID-19

**House General, Housing, and Military: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2020/13

**House Government Operations: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2020/14

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the committees will meet and take up COVID-19 Response Legislation

**House Health Care: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2020/15

**House Human Services: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/agenda/2020/531

House Human Services will meet remotely on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss COVID-19 updates and on Tuesday hear from Legislative Council on COVID-19 Federal Fiscal Assistance Related to Health & Human Services

**House Judiciary: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/agenda/2020/291

On Tuesday the Committee will take up Covid-19 Impact on Judicial System hearing from Justice for All (11:30 AM), ACLU of Vermont (11:40 AM) and Vermont Legal Aid (11:50 AM). On Thursday and Friday they will take up Judiciary Proposed Emergency Legislative Changes.

**House Committee on Natural Resources, Fish, and Wildlife: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2020/12

**House Transportation: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2020/20

**House Ways and Means: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2020/21

On Wednesday the committee will discuss Education Financing in the current year.

SENATE COMMITTEES

**Senate Appropriations: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2020/23

No agenda at this time.

**Senate Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2020/32

The committee will meet remotely Monday and discuss COVID-19 Response Committee Discussion on the Eviction and Foreclosure Bill. On Tuesday they will discuss Workers Compensation and Unemployment Insurance and Hero Pay, and On Thursday will take up State and federal housing programs and assistance.

**Senate Education: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2020/24

On Tuesday the Committee will take up a Possible Act 173 Delay and Default Educational Budget Language

Act No. 173. An act relating to enhancing the effectiveness, availability, and equity of services provided to students who require additional support.

https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2020/WorkGroups/Senate%20Education/Act%20173/Drafts,%20Amendments%20and%20Summaries/W~James%20DesMarais~Act%20173%20As%20Enacted~4-2-2019.pdf

**Senate Finance: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2020/25

Senate Finance will meet remotely on Tuesday and Thursday at 1:30 PM this week.

**Senate Government Operations: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2020/26

On Tuesday the Committee will take up COVID-19 Committee Discussion on the Law Enforcement legislation and Emergency Management Systems. On Thursday the committee will hear about Emergency Voting Protocol for communities at risk.

**Senate Health and Welfare: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2020/27

On Tuesday the committee receive Update on Federal Support Package and the COVID-19 Response for Setting Priorities for Designated Agencies and Specialized Service Agencies. On Thursday the committee will discuss COVID-19 Response Updates on Childcare and on Friday they will discuss the implementation of H. 742 – An act relating to Vermont’s response to COVID-19 hearing from the Secretary of Human Services.

**Senate Institutions: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2020/28

**Senate Judiciary: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2020/29

On Tuesday the committee will take up Emergence Judicial Response to Covid-19 Health Emergency Section 5 1 (A) and (B) and hear from Jack McCullough, Director of Mental Health Law Project, Vermont Legal Aid; the Chief Superior Judge, Vermont Judiciary and the Deputy Commissioner, Department of Mental Health. On Tuesday there will also be a Corrections Update and a discussion about Alternative to Woodside and Substitute Care

**Senate Natural Resources: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2020/30

**Senate Transportation: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/agenda/2020/539

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***DISABILITY SPECIFIC INFORMATION***

Vermont Center for Independent Link to COVID-19 Link to Information

http://www.vcil.org/resources/what-you-should-know-about-the-coronvirus

Persons with Disabilities Guide to Stimulus Checks

https://howtogeton.wordpress.com/will-disabled-people-get-stimulus-checks/?fbclid=IwAR1vzo4jKhl0QNkej92dg94WtmTZc6ZMYkuzfXzTRwenft9d__jib_5p0bY

Green Mountain Guide for Emergency Planning HTTPS://WWW.UVM.EDU/SITES/DEFAULT/FILES/DEPARTMENT-NAME-HERE/GRNMTNGUIDEFOREMERGPLAN_FORPRINT.PDF

ARTICLES OF INTEREST

Vermont to Receive $2B From Coronavirus Bill Backed by Leahy, Sanders POSTED BY PAUL HEINTZ ON THU, MAR 26, 2020 AT 10:36 AM

https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2020/03/26/vermont-to-receive-2b-from-coronavirus-bill-backed-by-leahy-sanders

Non-coronavirus legislation on pause, but still in play this session, lawmakers say By Xander Landen and Elizabeth Gribkoff March 29

Non-coronavirus legislation on pause, but still in play this session, lawmakers say

Vermont Faces ‘Staggering’ State Budget Shortfall

POSTED BY PAUL HEINTZ ON SAT, MAR 21, 2020 https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2020/03/21/vermont-faces-staggering-state-budget-shortfall

Vermont Lawmakers Mull Eviction Moratorium During State of Emergency

POSTED BY KEVIN MCCALLUM ON SAT, MAR 28, 2020

https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2020/03/28/vermont-lawmakers-mull-eviction-moratorium-during-state-of-emergency

Lawmakers mull unemployment compensation for self-employed

By Anne Wallace Allen Mar 27 2020

https://vtdigger.org/2020/03/27/lawmakers-mull-unemployment-compensation-for-self-employed/

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INFORMATIONAL LINKS

VT Department of Health – COVID -19 Updates: https://www.healthvermont.gov/

VT Digger State Coronavirus Updates: https://vtdigger.org/coronavirus/

UVM Health and Wellbeing: http://infomc.uvmhealth.org/index.php/email/emailWebview

Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living: https://dail.vermont.gov/novel-coronavirus-information

Department of Mental Health: https://mentalhealth.vermont.gov/coronavirus-and-our-mental-health

Resources for Education Agency of Education Guidance to Schools: https://education.vermont.gov/news/covid-19-guidance-vermont-schools

Judiciary: https://www.vermontjudiciary.org/news/information-regarding-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-1

Department of Children and Families – Child Care: https://dcf.vermont.gov/cdd/covid-19

CHILD CARE STABILIZATION GRANTS:

https://dcf.vermont.gov/sites/dcf/files/CDD/Docs/COVID/COVID-Private-Tuition-Payments-Stabilization-Guidance.pdf

Department of Labor: https://labor.vermont.gov/

Department of Labor FAQs for Employers and Employees: https://labor.vermont.gov/covid19/covid-19-frequently-asked-questions

Specific Guidance for Employees: https://labor.vermont.gov/covid19/employees Employee Assistance (Unemployment Claims): 1-877-214-3332.

AGENCY OF COMMERCE RESOURCE/REQUEST PAGE: https://accd.vermont.gov/covid-19-guidance

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE CLAIM FORM: https://vermont.force.com/DOLClaim/s/

VT LEGAL AID SERVICES UPDATE: https://vtdigger.org/press_release/vermont-legal-aid-service-update/

Taxes: https://tax.vermont.gov/coronavirus

Public Utility Commission Temporary Moratorium on disconnections https://publicservice.vermont.gov/sites/dps/files/documents/COVID-19%20VT%20PUC%203-18-20%20Order%20Granting%20Temporary%20Moratorium%20on%20 Service%20Disconnections.pdf

Information on COVID-19:

Vermont Department of Health: State agency providing updated information on matters of public health, including disease outbreaks.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Federal agency with up-to-date information on health and security.

Office of Governor Phil Scott: Press releases from the governor’s office, including details on the state’s efforts to address COVID-19.

The University of Vermont Health Network: Provides updated information from the health network, including preventative measures and current cases.

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Submitted by Karen Lafayette, VCDR Coordinator

kmlafayette@aol.com