House Chair to Receive VBSR Legislator of the Year Award
Business Group will Honor Rep. Helen Head for Work in 2016 Session
Burlington, VT – Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) will honor the chair of a Vermont House committee at the organization’s annual Legislative Breakfast on December 15 for her work this year in passing key employment bills.
Rep. Helen Head, (D)-South Burlington, the chair of the House General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee, will be honored for her role in passing Earned Paid Leave and Ban the Box legislation in 2016, two VBSR legislative priorities.
“These two bills will have a significant, positive impact on the Vermont economy,” said Sara Newmark, senior director at New Chapter in Brattleboro and chair of the VBSR Board of Directors. “Rep. Head has been a leader on these issues and worked closely with VBSR to craft legislation that benefits employers and employees.”
As the chair of the House committee of jurisdiction for those two bills, Rep. Head worked closely with the business community and other key constituencies to craft legislation that was fair, balanced, and effective. She led the charge on the House floor to pass both bills.
“Rep. Head recognizes that a strong economy is a sustainable and inclusive economy,” said Daniel Barlow, the public policy manager at VBSR. “The steps the legislature took this year with her leadership will create a much-needed sick day safety net for hard-working Vermonters and expand job opportunities for Vermonters with criminal histories.”
Expanding access to paid time off for Vermont workers has been one of Rep. Head’s goals for more than a decade and she was the co-sponsor of an earlier effort to pass similar legislation in 2006. Her ability to work with a variety of allies, to hold open and informative hearings on legislation, and to, at times, play the long game, has made her a respected and effective legislator.
“I am deeply honored by this award,” Rep. Head said. “A team of legislators, starting with members of my committee, worked tirelessly to pass Paid Leave and Ban the Box. The effort to pass both bills was strengthened by inspiring testimony from business organizations. VBSR played a prominent role.”
Passage of H.187, the Earned Paid Leave bill, and H.261, the Ban the Box bill, were considered “must pass” legislation by VBSR in the 2016 session. The Earned Paid Leave bill created a minimum standard of paid time off for most working Vermonters that can be used for personal or family illnesses. The Ban the Box bill eliminated the criminal history question on most job applications, removing a barrier to employment for Vermonters seeking a second chance with a new job.
Rep. Helen Head will receive the award at VBSR’s 2016 Legislative Breakfast, scheduled for Thursday, December 15 from 8-10 AM at Main Street Landing in Burlington. Registration for that event is now open and space is limited. Tickets are free for VBSR members and elected officials and $10 for non-members. The event is sponsored by Cx Associates, Main Street Landing, WrightJones PLC, and the Three Penny Taproom. For more information, visit www.vbsr.org