State House Report April, 2nd

State House Committee Work Continues

Much of the focus last week in the Vermont House and Senate was on various gun control measures. Those topics took up lots of floor time for both chambers, but work continued on the committee level on many proposals that VBSR is tracking this year.

The House General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee began hearings last week on S.40, the Senate-passed bill increasing Vermont’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024. VBSR is scheduled to testify on the bill this week. Meanwhile, the committee will also hold a public hearing on the bill on Thursday, April 5, 2018 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 PM. The hearing will take place in Room 11, located on the first floor of the State House, near the main entrance. Witnesses can start signing up to speak at 5:00 PM.  Witness testimony will be limited to only two or three minutes.  The committee will also accept written testimony. For information about this event, or to submit written testimony, please contact the Committee at 802-828-3559 or e-mail Read VBSR’s testimony to the Senate about increasing the minimum wage.

PAID FAMILY LEAVE – The Senate Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs Committee began hearings last week on the House-passed H.196, which establishes a paid family leave insurance system in Vermont. VBSR testified in support of the bill last week and the committee has now scheduled a public hearing for next week – Thursday, April 10 from 5-7 PM. Anyone interested in testifying or submitting written testimony on the bill should contact the committee at or by calling 802-822-3803.

CARBON PRICING – Chris Miller, the activism manager at Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, had a great editorial in the Times Argus newspaper last week discussing the economic development potential of putting a price on carbon pollution. “The ESSEX Plan is a thoughtful proposal that would greatly benefit our state by delivering clean energy and low electricity rates for all Vermonters,” Miller wrote. Read the rest of the editorial.

PUBLIC RETIREMENT – Vermont Treasurer Beth Pearce will hold a public hearing on the Green Mountain Secure Retirement plan today, Monday, April 2, at 1:30 PM on the second floor of the BCA Center on Church Street in Burlington. This is an important step forward in creating a successful retirement program for Vermonters who don’t get this benefit through their job. Please RSVP to


Feedback Needed on Business Experience in Energy Financing

The Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund and the Public Service Department are interested in finding out more about how businesses use the various clean energy financing products that are available for building  s, vehicles, systems improvements, or equipment.
What are you using? What are you not using? What is working? What is not?

Are there certain products that are missing and if they were made available, would we see more businesses complete more clean energy projects?

We will also be surveying contractors/installers and financial institutions. Ultimately, the information will be compiled into the 2018 Vermont Clean Energy Finance Report and will be repeated in 2019 and 2020.

Please help us by taking about 10 minutes to answer twelve questions on this topic.

Provide your e-mail and you’ll be entered into a raffle for a $100 gift certificate to Small Dog Electronics. Please complete this by the end of the business day on Thursday, April 5.

Save the date – ASBC Webinar on Carbon Pricing in VT and MA

VBSR is proud to work with the American Sustainable Business Council to advance SR policies in Washington, D.C. and to coordinate with business leaders and legislators in other states.

Join the American Sustainable Business Council for a webinar on April 5th 1 – 2 PM ET with two of these champions, Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas of Vermont and Rep. Jen Benson of Massachusetts, both members of the Carbon Costs Coalition. Hear them discuss the details of their proposals to put a price on carbon, the most efficient, business friendly way to reduce emissions, and why there is so much regional momentum around this solution.

Representative Sarah Copeland-Hanzas represents Orange County’s 2nd district in the Vermont state legislature. She owns a small business in Bradford, The Local Buzz Café, and is a former public school teacher. Rep. Copeland-Hanzas was first elected in 2004, and she is the lead sponsor of H.791, a proposal to put a price on carbon refunded through electricity bills, in the VT House.

Representative Jen Benson represents the 37th district in Massachusetts. She was first elected to the legislature in 2008 and is a member of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. She is the lead sponsor of H. 1726, a proposal to price carbon in Massachusetts

Read more about the ESSEX Plan, a proposal created by VBSR businesses to use a price on carbon pollution to lower green electricity rates.