Business & Economics Statehouse

Vermont Woodlands Association Legislative Update – Week 4

WEEK 4: INCLUDED IN THIS UPDATE

  • Medical Monitoring 
  • Chlorpyrifos /Glyphosate 
  • Use Value Appraisal Act  
  • ACT 250
  • Paid Family Leave 
  • Minimum Wage from the Retail and Grocers Association
  • Bills of Interest

MEDICAL MONITORING

S-37 An act relating to medical monitoring

  • This bill proposes to hold any person who releases a toxic substance strictly, jointly, and severally liable for any harm resulting from the release. The bill also proposes to establish a private right of action for medical monitoring damages incurred due to exposure to a toxic substance.
  • S-37 was passed by both the House and Senate last year but was vetoed by the Governor.  The bill is now back in play with the Senate trying to override the Governor’s veto.    There  is an “agricultural  exemption”  that  states  for those  spreading pesticides in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations, which would cover most dairy operation.
  • The bill is aimed at manufactures that operate under SCI codes and have ten or more employees. SCI code facilities that impact dairy or forestry include manufacturing of dairy products, ice cream and frozen desserts, grain mills, lumber and wood products, sawmills, chemicals and allied products, agricultural chemicals, and farm machinery and equipment. This is a very short list of all the manufactures covered under SCI codes. So, from this list you can see that both dairy and forestry could be impacted by this bill.   The bill has a very low threshold for liability. There was testimony last year from insurance companies and manufactures that the language in the bill was too strict and if the bill passed and was put into law it might cause some companies to relocate. The language in this bill would be the strictest in the country. At this point it does not seem that the Senate has the 20 votes it needs to override the bill, but I will continue to keep you updated.

CHLORPYRIFOS/GLYPHOSATE

  • S-180 An act relating to prohibiting the use and application of the pesticide chlorpyrifos
  • S-192 An act relating to prohibiting the use of the herbicide glyphosate S-272 An act relating to the use and management of pesticides
  • The Senate Ag committee has taken and will take more testimony on these bills.  S- 272 transfer oversight and administration of the Pesticide Advisory Council from Agency of Ag to the Department of Health. The bill also amends the membership of the Pesticide Advisory Council. The Senate is scheduled to hear from citizens on Friday on S-272.   Senator Starr has requested to hear from the Health Department and pesticide applicators on these bills.

USE VALUE APPRAISAL

  • S-200 An act relating to the definition of house-site for use value appraisals S-310 An act relating to use value appraisals
  • H-562 An act relating to the definition of agricultural land for the purposes of use value  appraisals
  • The Senate Finance and the House Agriculture committee took testimony this week from Doug Farnham, of the Tax Department regarding S-200 and S-310. Doug indicated that the Tax Department would consider allowing up to 5 dwelling within 300 ft of each other on a 2 acre, excluded, house site for current use purposes.
  • Doug was asked to bring back draft language to the House Agriculture regarding this issue. Senate Finance will hear more testimony before deciding how they want to deal with these issues.
  • The House Ag committee also heard from Doug, indicating, that the Tax Department would support H-562 that allows land that is less than .1 acre under a solar array to stay in current use.

ACT 250

The House Natural Resources Committee continues to take testimony on ACT 250. Last week the committee worked from a side by side of the two proposals, deciding what they would keep from the joint proposal and what they would keep from the committee bill. The committee will have a new draft this Tuesday. There is  pressure to get an ACT 250 bill out of committee so that it could make cross-over by mid-March. If an ACT 250 bill does not get to the Senate in time to be reviewed and passed out by the entire Senate this year the ACT 250 process will stay as is.

PAID FAMILY LEAVE

H-107 An act relating to paid family and medical leave 

This bill was vetoed by the Governor on Friday.  Now the leadership of the House needs to see if they have the votes for an override, they will need 100 votes.  H- 107 originally passed the House on a vote of 89 to 58.  The supporters of this bill will be working very hard to convince members, who did not originally support H- 107 to now become supporters.  There were both Democrats and Progressives that originally voted against the bill that might now be pressured into supporting it.

FROM THE RETAIL AND GROCERS ASSOCIATION/ERIN SIGRIST

Senate Passes Minimum Wage

The Senate has passed the minimum wage bill on a vote of 23-6 and it is now headed for the Governor’s desk. S.23 would increase the minimum wage to $11.75 in 2021 and $12.55 in 2022. After he expressed concern surrounding the impact on the rural economy in his weekly press conference, it is unclear whether Governor Scott will veto or sign the bill.

BILLS OF INTEREST

As of 2/02/2020

S-336 An act relating to establishing standards for the sale of hemp seed

As of 1/26/2020

H-830 An act relating to the use of food residuals for farming

H-832 An act relating to the use and management of pesticides

H-852 An act relating to signal lamp permits for farm tractors and farm trucks

H-853 An act relating to discontinued highways, legal trails, and impassable or untraveled highways

S-321 An act relating to miscellaneous fish and wildlife issues

As of 1/19/2020

H-557 An act relating to municipal regulation of livestock running at large

H-562 An act relating to the definition of agricultural land for the purposes of use value appraisals

H-575 An act relating to bears doing damage to agricultural crops

H-581 An act relating to the funding of the Department of Fish and Wildlife

H-584 An act relating to disclosure of cyanobacteria outbreak prior to conveyance of real property

H-616 An act relating to the professional regulation of land surveyors

H-628 An act relating to Cross Vermont Trail directional signs

H-633 An act relating to development and subdivisions above 1,500 feet

H-673 An act relating to tree wardens

H-674 An act relating to clarifying the definition of development used for use value appraisals

H-688 An act relating to addressing climate change

H-759 An act relating to the use of neonicotinoid-treated article seed

H-766 An act relating to the regulation of cannabis

H-794 An act relating to limiting liability for agritourism

H-798 An act relating to the use of biochar

H-828 An act relating to Vermont standards for issuing a Clean Water Act section 401 certification

H-829 An act relating to the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos

S-200 An act relating to the definition of house-site for use value appraisals

S-280 An act relating to forest carbon sequestration programs

S-310 An act relating to use value appraisals

S-315 An act relating to administration and enforcement of agricultural water quality violations

To learn more about any of the bills listed above, visit the Vermont Legislative website at  https://legislature.vermont.gov/ and use the very convenient search tool available.  If you wish us to keep a keen eye on any of the above bills, please let us know by sending an email to info@vermontwoodlands.org

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