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VCDR 2020 Weekly Legislative UPDATE JULY – Legislature Recessed until August

 

VCDR 2020 Weekly Summary of Legislative Activities, Committee Agendas and Calendar of Events

 June 26 – LEGISLATURE RECESSED

Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights

 

The Legislature finished its preliminary work on Friday June 26th and is recessed for the month of July schedules to come back in late August to complete their business for the remainder of the session before the end of September. Appropriations committees are expected to come back earlier than the end of August.

The Legislature has met remotely for the past fifteen weeks. The majority of their work has been focused on passing a three month Quarter 1 Budget  (July 1 – September 30th) and a number of bills that spend the federal Coronavirus Relief Finds (CRF) that have come to the states to assist state and local government, businesses, state colleges, non-profit providers, and individuals impacted by COVID-19.

There is over one billion dollars in Coronavirus relief funds that have been allocated by the legislature to assist the State of Vermont, business and individuals. There is an additional $250 million (possible) that the legislature has held back for when they come back in August. The money from the federal Government in the CARES Act must be spent by December 30th of 2020.

The Legislature also passed a number of other “policy” bills including: health care regulations; excessive use of force by police, elections, climate change and other. A number of these spending and policy bills are still awaiting the signature of the Governor as they were passed by both the House and Senate on Friday the 26th.

It is the intent of the Legislature to come back in August to receive the latest economic forecast, and the Governor’s proposed remainder of the FY 2021 budget. The Governor had originally proposed an 8% cut in the budget starting with a 2% reduction in the Quarter 1 Budget (Q1). The Legislature based the Q1 on the FY 2020 budget and did not make that reduction in the first three months.

Revenues are expected to be down and it is unclear if there may be additional Federal aid and/or more flexibility on the use of the Coronavirus Relief Funds from the CARES Act that are still available. The Legislature will need to pass a budget before the end of September.

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COVID RELIEF FUNDS ALLOCATIONS

Final COVID-19 Relief Fund – June 26, 2020  – CRF fundin H.961; H.966; H.965; H960; S.350 https://ljfo.vermont.gov/assets/Uploads/0ab5819219/Floor_Doc_Version_of_Senate_Final_CRF-v5.pdf

Additional CRF Funds were allocated in H.953 – An act relating to fiscal year 2020 supplemental budget adjustments

SELECTED FUNDING HIGHLIGHTS: 

  • 14M Childcare, Family Supports, Vulnerable Populations: Child Care restart & summer camps and after school programs; Parent Child Centers; Reach-Rp, GMSA; VCIL; VABVI; recovery centers; children’s integrated services, new Americans and other
  • 228M in Business and Non-Profit Assistance: recovery grants; farm assistance; help for minority and women–owned business; the arts; local government and other.
  • 85 M in Housing Assistance: housing initiatives; rental assistance; support for the homeless; Legal Aid; foreclosure protection and other
  • 367M in Health Care: healthcare stabilization; hazard pay for essential workers; suicide prevention; warm line peer support and other
  • 21M Food Security: Meals on Wheels; summer meals; Foodbank; restaurant food program and other
  • 50M in Education: education stabilization; local educational agencies; and other
  • 27M in Technology: broadband and other
  • 39 M in the Budget Adjustment (2):  University of Vermont; State Colleges; Emergency Management Systems and other

 

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**UPDATED ** LEGISLATION:

H.961 – An act relating to making first quarter fiscal year 2021 appropriations for the support of State government, federal Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) appropriations, pay act appropriations, and other fiscal requirements for the first part of the fiscal year – Signed by the Governor June 30th

https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2020/Docs/BILLS/H-0961/H-0961%20As%20Passed%20by%20Both%20House%20and%20Senate%20Unofficial.pdf

H.965 – An act relating to health care- and human services-related appropriations from the Coronavirus Relief Fund – Signed by the Governor July 2nd

https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2020/Docs/BILLS/H-0965/H-0965%20As%20Passed%20by%20Both%20House%20and%20Senate%20Unofficial.pdf

H.966 – An act relating to COVID-19 funding and assistance for broadband connectivity, housing, and economic relief – Signed by the Governor July 2nd

https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2020/Docs/BILLS/H-0966/H-0966%20As%20Passed%20by%20Both%20House%20and%20Senate%20Unofficial.pdf

H.960 – An act relating to miscellaneous health care provisions – Signed by the Governor July 6th https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2020/Docs/BILLS/H-0960/H-0960%20As%20Passed%20by%20Both%20House%20and%20Senate%20Unofficial.pdf

 S.350 – ACT 115 – An act relating to creating emergency economic recovery grants – Signed by the Governor June19 https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2020/Docs/ACTS/ACT115/ACT115%20As%20Enacted.pdf

H.953 – ACT 109 – An act relating to fiscal year 2020 supplemental budget adjustments – Signed by the Governor June 9th https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2020/Docs/ACTS/ACT109/ACT109%20As%20Enacted.pdf

S.219 – An act relating to addressing racial bias and excessive use of force by law enforcement As passed by the House and Senate https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2020/Docs/BILLS/S-0219/S-0219%20As%20Passed%20by%20Both%20House%20and%20Senate%20Unof                                                                                                            

S.348 – An act relating to temporary elections procedures in the year 2020 – Allowed to go into law without Governors signature July 2nd
https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2020/Docs/BILLS/S-0348/S-0348%20As%20Passed%20by%20Both%20House%20and%20Senate%20Unofficial.pdf

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ARTICLES of INTEREST:

Gov. Scott allows vote-by-mail bill to become law without signature – Associated Press Published 12:47 p.m. ET July 3, 2020 https://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/07/03/gov-scott-allows-vote-mail-bill-become-law-without-signature/5371908002/?utm_source=burlingtonfreepress-Daily%20Briefing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_briefing&utm_term=hero

Absentee Ballot Requests Surge in Vermont

POSTED BY PAUL HEINTZ ON FRI, JUL 3, 2020: https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2020/07/03/absentee-ballot-requests-surge-in-vermont

 Feds: Vermont ‘needs intervention’ to meet special education law By Lola DuffortJul 1 2020

https://vtdigger.org/2020/07/01/feds-vermont-needs-intervention-to-meet-special-education-law/

Legislature Doles Out $577 Million in Aid, Adjourns Until August POSTED BY PAUL HEINTZ ON SAT, JUN 27, 2020

https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2020/06/27/legislature-doles-out-577-million-in-aid-adjourns-until-august

Inside Vermont’s newest homeless shelter — the South Burlington Holiday Inn By Grace Elleston

https://vtdigger.org/2020/06/28/inside-vermonts-newest-homeless-shelter-the-south-burlington-holiday-inn/

Lawmakers send $600 million Covid-19 aid bills to Scott’s desk By Xander Landen Jun 26 2020

https://vtdigger.org/2020/06/26/lawmakers-send-600-million-covid-19-aid-bills-to-scotts-desk/

What to watch as Legislature prepares to adjourn By Xander Landen and Kit Norton Jun 26 2020,  

https://vtdigger.org/2020/06/26/what-to-watch-as-legislature-eyes-adjournment/

Vermont Legislature Passes Police Reform Bill

POSTED BY COLIN FLANDERS ON FRI, JUN 26, 2020

https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2020/06/26/vermont-legislature-passes-police-reform-bill

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LEGISLATIVE WEBSITE: https://legislature.vermont.gov/

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JOINT FISCAL PAGE: https://ljfo.vermont.gov/

**NEW** FY 2021 Restatement of the Governor’s Recommended Budget Instructions https://ljfo.vermont.gov/assets/Uploads/7f5505c62a/FY-21-Restatement-Gov.-Rec.-Instructions-6-26-20-final.pdf

**NEW** COVID-19 Relief Fund – House and Senate side-by-side https://ljfo.vermont.gov/assets/Uploads/db5b9ba3d1/CRF_House_and_Sen_side_by_side.pdf

**NEW** H.965 An act relating to health care- and human services-related appropriations https://ljfo.vermont.gov/assets/Publications/House-Bills/289d234b4d/H.965-Final.pdf

 

 

Submitted by Karen Lafayette, VCDR Coordinator

kmlafayette@aol.com