State House Report, February 5th

Bills Based on ESSEX Plan Introduced

VBSR: Focus on economic development potential of combating climate change.

Members of the Vermont House announced last week the introduction of two bills based on the ESSEX Plan, a proposal to use revenue from carbon pricing to lower green electricity rates for Vermonters and Vermont businesses.

Two dozen House legislators announced carbon pricing bill H.791 as part of a coordinated, multi-state effort. This is a companion bill to S.284, the Senate version introduced by Sen. Chris Pearson and Sen. Alison Clarkson earlier this month.

Lead sponsor Rep. Sarah Copeland Hanzas modeled H.791 after the ESSEX Plan by pricing carbon pollution and using the revenue to provide clean electricity rebates to all Vermonters, with additional support for rural and low-income Vermonters.

The roll out of this bill coincides with the announcement of Vermont’s participation in the Carbon Costs Coalition. This nine-state coalition includes legislators in Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, Washington and Oregon, all pushing carbon pricing legislation. Each state is proposing different carbon pricing legislation to best fit their context, but all bills are bound to the shared principles of reducing carbon emissions, ensuring equity, spurring resilience in local economies and improving public health. The Carbon Costs Coalition demonstrates the state-based movement for carbon pricing and climate action at a time devoid of leadership from Washington DC.

Climate change is a threat to Vermont’s economy and way of life. VBSR supports putting a price on carbon pollution and returning that revenue to Vermonters and Vermont businesses in the form of reduced electricity rates as a way to begin moving the state off of fossil fuels. This market-based approach will drive business innovation, create in-state clean energy jobs, and help those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Read the ESSEX Plan – a proposal developed last year by VBSR businesses.

Register Today for VBSR’s 2018 Legislative Reception

Registration for VBSR’s
2018 Legislative Reception
is now open!

Come learn about issues affecting your business and community, and learn what VBSR is doing to further a business voice benefiting people, planet and profit.

Held just down the street from the Vermont State House in Montpelier, this event draws nearly 200 of the state’s most exciting business leaders, policy-makers, and state officials.   This event is free for VBSR members, legislators, and state officials, and $10 for non-members. If you are paying by credit card, please pay at the event.

Event Details:
When: February 15, 2018 5:00 pm
Location: Montpelier Room, Capitol Plaza, 100 State St., Montpelier

Cost To Attend:
Nonmembers – $10
VBSR Members – Free

VBSR’s 2018 Legislative Reception is sponsored by The Alchemist, Bluehouse Group, Green Mountain Power, National Life Group, Paul Frank + Collins, Rights & Democracy, Washington Electric Cooperative, and WrightJones PLC.

Register today!

House Committee Tackles Salary History in Equal Pay Bill

The House Committee on General, Housing, and Military Affairs has held hearings on H.294, an act to prohibit employers from requiring an applicant to disclose his or her salary and benefit history.

The Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs has introduced S.275, a bill that would expand the wage discrimination provisions of the Fair Employment Practices Act to prohibit employers from requesting an applicants history.

H.294 and S.275 would both prohibit employers from requesting potential employees salary history and from going to potential employees past employers. H.294, further, would prevent employers from refusing to interview or hire based on refusal to disclose salary requirements. S.275 aims to prevent some of the ambiguity in the job hiring process – both for employee and employer. The acts do two things: revises equal pay and adds in the prevention of inquiring about salary history.

These bills would help close the persistent gender pay gap. Women typically earn around 10% less than men in their early careers, often due to the fact that women are less likely than men to negotiate for higher pay. This small gap of 10% often increases to 20% later on in their careers. Removing salary history from job applications and the interview process is one small step to working toward equal pay in Vermont.

VBSR Public Policy Manager Daniel Barlow testified in support of the legislation last week, citing feedback from VBSR members that they no longer ask applicants about salary history and instead focus on salary expectations.

Read VBSR’s testimony.

2018 Legislative Session Updates – Week #5

Here are some of the headlines from the State House last week:

TAX CHANGES – Gov. Scott’s administration unveiled recommended changes to the Vermont tax code that will hold Vermonters harmless that are impacted by the recent federal tax changes. (VtDigger)

COMPOST – Legislators are considering rolling back some of the requirements in a 2012 state law that mandates food composting across Vermont. (VPR)

CLEAN WATER – Gov. Scott announced a plan last week to seek plans from the business community for technology and business models that can remove phosphorus from cow manure. Environmental groups said the proposal was a distraction from the bigger pollution problems facing Vermont’s lakes and rivers. (VtDigger)

Interested in VBSR Policy? Get involved today

The voice of socially responsible businesses in public policy debates is now more important than ever.

Part of VBSR’s mission is to support socially responsible businesses and help them succeed. One way we can do that is energize the voice of SR businesses in Vermont and bring that perspective to policy debates at the Vermont State House.

Download VBSR’s 2018 legislative agenda.

Contact VBSR Public Policy Manager Daniel Barlow for more details on how to get involved with VBSR policy.

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS

February 15
VBSR’s Legislative Reception
(Montpelier)  
Registration now open!