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VCDR 2020 Weekly Legislative Calendar of Activities – May 18 – May 22 , 2020

 

VCDR 2020 Weekly Summary of Legislative Activities,

Committee Agendas and Calendar of Events

 May 18 – May 22

Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights

 

 

 Week Ten – Summary of Legislative Action

The Legislature has continued to meet remotely for the past nine weeks. Both the House and the Senate have been holding caucuses and rules meetings. The House and Senate have met as legislative bodies to pass emergency legislation and to authorize the ability to vote remotely both in committees and as legislative bodies remotely during the COVID-19 Pandemic emergency. You can access the COVID-19 response legislation passed by the House and the Senate and the federal legislation in this weekly summary.

All legislative committees continue to have live streaming you can access from the link on the committee agendas. You can also go back and see previous meetings on video. Other meetings (Senate and House Caucuses and Rules committee meetings) are posted on the Legislative Website home page under “Announcements”.

The Joint Fiscal Committee has been meeting on Mondays each week. There is a link to that page below where you can find an agenda and documents from each session. You can find the link to live stream the meeting on the agendas.

House and Senate committees continue to take testimony about key concerns in the State and about the Federal Assistance (Stimulus Bill) that will be coming to the State and how it can be utilized (there are restrictions).There continues to be some adjustments in estimates of the Federal CARES Act grant funding in addition to the $1.25 Billion the State of Vermont will receive. (See the latest Federal allocations below and State revenue forecast under Joint Fiscal below).

On Friday the Vermont House advanced a mid-year budget adjustment bill to address revenue declines brought on by the COVID-19 crisis. The legislation addresses a $195 million hole in the current state budget. A final vote will be taken this week and the bill will be sent to the Senate

The Legislature is expected to pass a three month “Skinny Budget” budget before the end of June to cover at least the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2021 (July 1 – September 30th). Although the Legislature is expected to recess after the “Skinny” budget is passed and come back in the end of summer to pass the remainder of the FY 2021 budget, in discussions in House Appropriations it was clear that Appropriations is expecting that they will need to work in July and/or August to have the time to get the bill through the legislative process before the end of September.

The economic forecast is expected mid-August and the budget would need to be done and signed by governor before the end of September. The committee is discussing options to meet this timeline including extending the Skinny budget to be 4 months instead of three or moving up the revenue forecast.

The Skinny budget being presented to the Legislature is expected to represent an 8% reduction based on the FY 2020 Budget Adjustment (Act 88). The first quarter would be 23% of the FY 2020. Some departments may have a different percentage of the allocation during this time period. (See budget instruction below in selected testimony). The Appropriation’ Committees will basically be starting from the beginning when they complete the remainder of the FY 2021 Budget.

In addition to the Budget Legislative Committees have been meeting and taking testimony from many different groups and the administration on the issues related to the COVID-19 crisis including: remote education; special education; unemployment benefits; childcare for essential workers; food access and shelter; housing; healthcare; essential services for the elderly and those with disabilities; financial support for family caregivers; small business; hazard pay for essential services; personal protective gear for healthcare personnel; evictions; court proceedings; municipal proceedings and a number of other related issues.

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. 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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***ACTION ALERT – 2020 CENSUS***

Please fill out the 2020 Census Forms

The paper form should have been mailed to everyone but there is an online form: www.my2020census.gov<http://www.my2020census.gov>

Phone number to call for the English speaking participants is 844-330-2020.Complete list of languages here:                 https://2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond/responding-by-phone.html

Article about Census: https://www.ndrn.org/resource/an-accessible-2020-census/

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***ACCESS***

VCDR Supports Voting by Mail

It’s Time for Vote-by-Mail in Vermont: https://www.vpirg.org/issues/elections-and-government-reform/time-for-vote-by-mail/

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***THIS WEEK***

All-House Caucus

There will be an All-House Caucus on Monday, May 18, 2020 at 2:00 PM.  There will be another caucus on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 3:30 PM.

To view the House proceedings, go to the following location:

https://legislature.vermont.gov/house/streaming/full-house

 House Session

 The full House will meet Wednesday, May 20th this week.

 To view the House proceedings, go to the following location:

https://legislature.vermont.gov/house/streaming/full-house

Senate Session

There will be a Senate Session on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 9:30 A.M.

To view the All Senate proceedings, go to the following location:

https://legislature.vermont.gov/senate/streaming/full-senate

 Senate Work Groups meeting:

The Senate Workgroup on Transition Challenges

The Senate Workgroup on Lessons Learned

 Legal Aid Website – Town Halls: VLA is hosting a series of virtual town halls on legal issues during the coronavirus crisis. You can attend online or by telephone.

Tentative schedule of upcoming town halls:

    • Thursday, May 7, at 10 a.m.: Rental housing and eviction
    • Thursday, May 14, at 10 a.m.: Debt problems
  • Thursday, May 21, at 10 a.m.: Long-term care including skilled nursing, residential care and at-home care

 

  • Thursday, May 28, at 10 a.m.: Special education and other topics relevant to young people living with disability
  • 30-Minute Town Halls: Join online or by phone:                                                             Attend and ask questions online at https://zoom.us/j/92311866366.                 Listen by phone at 1-888-788-0099 (toll-free) or 301-715-8592 (long-distance call). Use this meeting ID when prompted: 923-1186-6366.                                 Attend and ask questions on Facebook Live at https://www.facebook.com/VermontLegalAid/.

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***JOINT FISCAL INFORMATION***

The Joint Fiscal Committee has been meeting on Mondays each week. Here is a link to that page where you can find san agenda and documents from each session. Joint Fiscal Committee LIVE STREAM link.

**NEW** Joint Fiscal Meeting Page: https://ljfo.vermont.gov/committees-and-studies/joint-fiscal-committee/meetings/2020-05-11

**NEW** STEPHANIE BARRETT, ASSOCIATE FISCAL OFFICER, JOINT FISCAL OFFICE UPDATE

FY 2020 Supplemental Budget:

FY 2020 Supplemental Budget Adjustment – Human Services Ups and Downs

FY 2020 Supplemental Budget Adjustment – Language

FY 2020 COVID-19 Governor’s Supplemental Budget Adjustment – Web Report

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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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***SELECTED TESTIMONY***

**NEW** Administration’s Proposed COVID-19 Relief Fund Spending Plan Published on May 18, 2020 by Susanne Young, Secretary, Agency of Administration

 House Appropriations Monday May 18, 2020

**NEW** ADAM GRESHIN, COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE AND MANAGEMENT

Instructions to Departments on FY 2021 First Quarter Budget

**NEW** House Healthcare – Thursday May 14th

Sarah Squirrell

AJ RUBEN: Disability Rights Vermont Comments
JENNIFER CARBEE:                                                                                           DRAFT – Advance Directive Language for COVID-19 Period
DR 20-0979, Draft 3.1, 5-5-2020 As Recommended by the House Committee on Human Services
House Education S.343 Act 173 Special Education: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/document/2020/10/Date/4-21-2020#documents-section   Act 173 Delay Testimony

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***COMMITTEE HIGHLIGHTS***

HOUSE COMMITTEES

**House Agriculture                https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2020/8

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

On Monday, May 18, the Committee heard testimony from the Department of Finance & Management on the First Quarter FY 2021 Budget and received an update from Joint Fiscal on the Federal Cares act funding. On Tuesday the committee will take up H. 607 – An act relating to increasing the supply of primary care providers in Vermont

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

On Tuesday the Committee will get an update on Federal Unemployment. On Wednesday they will take up Workers Compensation and COVID-19. The Committee will continue their discussion on COVID-19 and economic concerns on Thursday.

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

On Thursday the committee will take up S. 338 – An act relating to justice reinvestment.

S.338 – As Passed by the Senate: https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2020/Docs/BILLS/S-0338/S-0338%20As%20Passed%20by%20the%20Senate%20Unofficial.pdf

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

On Friday the Committee will have a discussion about Proficiency Based Learning and Response to Remote Learning

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

On Tuesday the committee will take up H. 783 – An act relating to recovery residences and Post Covid Housing for the Currently Homeless

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

On Tuesday the committee will take up S. 345 – An act relating to temporary municipal meeting provisions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak

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

On Tuesday House Health care will Review health care portions of Act No. 91 (H.742), Vermont’s response to COVID-19 and on Thursday will hold a joint meeting with Senate Health and Welfare to discuss Patient Access to Health Care Services Delivered Through Telehealth

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

On Tuesday the committee will take up an amendment to H. 611 – An act relating to the Older Vermonters Act, hearing from the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living, the Community of Vermont Elders (COVE), The Association of the Area Agencies on Aging, and the Long Term Care Ombudsman, Vermont Legal Aid (all invited) and others and on Thursday the committee will discuss Justice Involved Youth in Residential Care.

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

On Tuesday the Committee will take up S. 338 – An act relating to justice reinvestment.

**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

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the Committee will discuss H. 942 – An act relating to the Transportation Program and miscellaneous changes to laws related to transportation.

As introduced: https://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2020/H.942

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

On Tuesday the committee will receive a Revenue Update

 

SENATE COMMITTEES

**Senate Agriculture: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2020/22

On Tuesday the committee will take up Farmer Support and COVID-19 Related Agricultural Issues

**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

On Wednesday the committee will have a discussion on Covid 19 Response Update on homelessness; transition to permanent housing; rental assistance and on Friday will discuss the Vermont Rental Registry

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

On Tuesday the committee will discuss Higher education

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

On Tuesday the committee will take up the Administration’s plan for Education Financing and on Wednesday they will take up S. 237 – An act relating to promoting affordable housing and S. 256 – An act relating to creating the New Vermont Employee Incentive Program.

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

On Tuesday the committee will take up H. 948 – An act relating to temporary municipal proceedings provisions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and H. 558 – An act relating to exempting the Victims Compensation Board from the Open Meeting Law and discuss Election Issues

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

On Wednesday the committee will take up a number of bills and on Thursday the will health insurance coverage for telehealth and telephone services and hold a joint meeting with House Committee on Health Care to discuss Patient Access to Health Care Services Delivered through Telehealth

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

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

On Wednesday the committee will discuss Criminal & Juvenile Justice Funding for 2nd Budget Adjustment and CARES ACT and on Friday take up H. 936 – An act relating to sexual exploitation of children.

**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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***COVID-19 LEGISLATION***

S.333 – An act relating to establishing a moratorium on ejectment and foreclosure actions during the COVID-19 emergency

S.333 As passed by Senate https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2020/Docs/BILLS/S-0333/S-0333%20As%20Passed%20by%20the%20Senate%20Unofficial.pdf

Last Monday the Senate passed S.343 – An act relating to delaying Special Education changes due to the COVID-19 state of emergency and House Education will take it up at noon in committee. (Delay of Act 173)

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

Other legislation in stages of being passed:

House and Senate Passed:

 340 – Treasurer’s request re: expanded timeline for inter-fund borrowing

  1. 341 – Allows the Tax Dept. to share info with DOL for self-employed unemployment claims
  2. 741 – Background checks on contractors who work in state owned buildings
  3. 316 – Allows virtual execution of wills during state of emergency.
  4. 114 – Extended timelines for court operations

 

Senate passed bills: 

S.342 – An act relating to temporary workers’ compensation amendments related to COVID-19

S.343 – Delay of Act 173 Implementation (special education)                                                 S.344An act relating to temporary municipal tax rate provisions in response to COVID

The Legislation passed by the House and Senate continues to address some of the emergency measures to assisted Vermonters with healthcare, unemployment measures, housing, small business, judicial, and other.

SECTION BY SECTION summary of H.742 (ACT 91)

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, (Act) 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” (ACT 92):

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

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***DISABILITY SPECIFIC COVID INFORMATION***

 

WCAX – VSILC – Public Service Announcement – Emergency Plan – People with Disabilities

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_MDFVwc-0w&feature=youtu.be

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

 

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***Articles of Interest***

**NEW** Low-income workers face higher coronavirus exposure By Anne Wallace Allen May 18 2020, 12:53 PM                                       https://vtdigger.org/2020/05/18/low-income-workers-face-higher-coronavirus-exposure/?is_wppwa=true&wpappninja_cache=friendly

**NEW** Lawmakers prepare to work on pre-pandemic priorities By Xander Landen May 17 2020                                                           https://vtdigger.org/2020/05/17/lawmakers-prepare-to-work-on-pre-pandemic-priorities/?is_wppwa=true&wpappninja_cache=friendly

Groups press Scott to back general election mail-in voting plan By Kit Norton May 8 2020: https://vtdigger.org/2020/05/08/groups-press-scott-to-back-general-election-mail-in-voting-plan/

Scott announces ‘gradual reopening’ of retail will begin on May 18 By Colin Meyn May 11 2020,: https://vtdigger.org/2020/05/11/scott-announces-gradual-reopening-of-retail-will-begin-on-may-18/

Vermont Childcare Centers Can Reopen June 1; Summer Camps Allowed POSTED BY COURTNEY LAMDIN ON FRI, MAY 8, 2020

https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2020/05/08/vermont-childcare-centers-can-reopen-june-1-summer-camps-allowed

Vermont Senate Approves $60 Million in Hazard Pay Grants POSTED BY KEVIN MCCALLUM ON FRI, MAY 1, 202

https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2020/05/01/vermont-senate-approves-60-million-in-hazard-pay-grants

VPR – Vermont Edition COVID-19 Raises Health Concerns For Vermonters With Disabilities, Older People By JANE LINDHOLM & EMILY AIKEN  APR 19, 2020 (LISTEN)

https://www.vpr.org/post/covid-19-raises-health-concerns-vermonters-disabilities-older-people

Disability Rights, state settle suit alleging ‘dangerous conditions’ at Woodside By Alan J. Keays Apr 19 2020

https://vtdigger.org/2020/04/19/disability-rights-state-settle-suit-alleging-dangerous-conditions-at-woodside/

Remote schooling ‘an impossible situation’ for kids with special needs By Lola Duffort Apr 8 2020 |

https://vtdigger.org/2020/04/08/remote-schooling-an-impossible-situation-for-kids-with-special-needs/

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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/

COVID-19 Coronavirus: Legal and Benefits Updates for Vermonters https://vtlawhelp.org/coronavirus-updates

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

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.

 

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

Vermont Tax Dept.m: https://tax.vermont.gov/coronavirus

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.