What’s happening in Committee this week…

by Rob Roper  

HOUSE

Commerce and Economic Development seems to be where all the fun is. This week the folks on the front lines of getting us back to work and restoring prosperity will be considering… H. 208 – An act relating to highly compensated employees business surcharge. This beauty by Rep. Dave Sharpe would be yet another disincentive for anyone to create high-paying jobs or create wealth in the State of Vermont. (See related article above.)

Coming before the committee are H. 254 – An act relating to consumer protection and H.160 – Advertising as a Local Business. This last one is a political hit job against some poor florist in Burlington. You have to read it to believe it. One has to wonder how Governor Shumlin’s desire to redefine “local” as incorporating the markets of New York, Boston and Montreal will reconcile with this bill that defines local as “domiciled” in Vermont. My guess is at the end of the day, the rule of law will be for all intents and purposes abandoned and the principle of you’re local if the legislature likes you will be in effect.

Also coming before the committee and of interest are H. 188 – An act relating to regulating rental-purchase transactions, H. 247 – An act relating to independent contractors sponsored by Rep. Heidi E. Scheuermann, and H. 155 – An act relating to property-assessed clean energy districts.

Government Operations will discuss H. 241 – An act relating to nominations by multiple parties Rep. John Moran. This bit of craziness would allow a candidate’s name to appear on the ballot multiple times if he or she receives multiple nominations from different parties. Rather than “Joe Shmoe (D/P)”, Joe would appear twice on the ballot (more times if Candidate Shmoe managed to pull off the Liberty Union nomination, the Marijuana Party nomination, and the All My Second Cousins Started a Political Party party nomination). On a more serious note, the committee will be marking up and voting on H. 99 – An act relating to vital records.

The Natural Resources and Energy committee will dicsuss H. 258 – An act relating to public participation in environmental enforcement proceedings. This bill proposes to require the secretary of natural resources, the land use panel, or the natural resources board to provide at least 20 days during which an aggrieved person may comment on a draft assurance of discontinuance or administrative order. The bill also requires a draft assurance of discontinuance or administrative order to be published for notice on the relevant website of the secretary of natural resources, the land use panel, or the natural resources board. In addition, the bill would prohibit the environmental division from signing an assurance of discontinuance or administrative order until any additional filings or proceedings are complete, including those filings or proceedings subsequent to a timely motion for intervention. The bill would also allow for public notice and comment on certain environmental tickets issued by the secretary of natural resources.

And, how much money do we have to pay for all this crazy stuff? The Ways & Means will receive a revenue update from Stephen Klein, Chief Legislative Fiscal Officer, Joint Fiscal Office at 9:00 am on Tuesday morning.

SENATE

Not much posted for the senate as of this writing. The Finance committee will be spending a good deal of time on S. 78 – An act relating to the advancement of cellular, broadband, smart grid, and other technology infrastructure in Vermont.

Government Operations is still trying to figure out campaign finance and marijuana.