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(Off-Session) LCC Advocacy Update: August, 2021

Thank you to this week’s sponsor of our Advocacy Update:

August 24, 2021

The big news of the day is that the FDA has fully approved the Pfizer COVID vaccine. The move from an emergency use authorization to a full approval is the move that many may need to get the shot and certainly was the move that certain national employers needed to start mandating vaccination. Now is the time to push those around you again to get vaccinated. Find resources and more information at the Vermont Department of Health website

In this update: 

Relief for Businesses Still Available

  • Bridge Grants 

ACCD is still accepting applications from organizations that have received prior State or Federal assistance. Under the expanded guidelines, organizations that can demonstrate; 1) a 2020 tax loss; and 2) that the organization suffered a net loss when aggregating the results of their monthly profit and loss statements for the period from March 2020 – April 2021 including the amount of prior state and federal assistance, are eligible to apply. For more information on the program, including a pre-recorded tutorial on how to apply, visit the ACCD COVID-19 Recovery Resource Center.

  • Utility Assistance 

Green Mountain Power (GMP) is reminding customers that $55 million in grant money is available for a limited time to help renters, homeowners, businesses and farms get caught up on overdue utility bills tied to the pandemic. Customers can apply for grants through October 25, and qualified customers can use the money to pay past-due landline phone, electric, natural gas and water service bills. Up to $50,000 is available for businesses. Learn more here

New and relocated worker program launched 

This new relocation program aims to grow the workforce as well as provide support to employers who are struggling to fill vacancies, either due to the low unemployment rates or a disconnect between job requirements and candidate qualifications. Eligible applicants are those who fill vacancies in occupations identified with the most openings. The program offers reimbursement grants for eligible expenses, up to $7,500, to workers in certain occupations who move to Vermont and fill an opening with a Vermont employer. The application portal is now open to applicants who relocated after July 1, 2021. You can learn more about the program, find eligibility information, and apply at: 

Chance to Engage with the Department of Liquor Control’s Deputy Commissioner

LCC will be hosting a listening hour with the incoming Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Liquor and Lottery, Wendy Knight, on Tuesday, September 14th at 3:00 p.m. 

Please follow this link to register and join. 

Please feel free to reach out with any questions or items you’d like to discuss at [email protected]

LCC Seeks Input from Developers and Homebuilders 

Lack of housing represents one of the largest impediments to our economic growth and pandemic recovery. As such, this will be one of the highest priorities for LCC’s advocacy in the coming legislative session.  

LCC will host a roundtable to connect with our members working to develop housing in our region in the coming legislative session on Wednesday, September 29th from noon to 1:30 p.m. If you would like to attend, please register here

If you have any interest in meeting on these issues before September 29th, please feel free to schedule a meeting using this link

Easily Schedule a Call With Our Advocacy Team 

Concerned about a business policy discussion at the local, state, or federal level? Have a policy idea that would further economic opportunity in Vermont?

You can use this link to schedule a time with our advocacy team or simply email [email protected] 

Sponsor an LCC Advocacy Update 

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Employee Misclassification Task Force Seeks Public Input

The Employee Misclassification Task Force will hold two public hearings on the topic of employee misclassification on Thursday, August 26, 2021 and Friday, August 27, 2021 from 11am-1pm (both days). The Task Force invites testimony from labor and/or employees on the 26th and employer testimony on the 27th. The Task Force will hear from anyone on either day if scheduling conflicts so require. 

Hearings will be online (and recorded) and interested parties should email Task Force Chair Chris Curtis, Chief of the Attorney General’s Public Protection Division ([email protected]) to request a Microsoft Teams meeting invitation.

In Act 85, the legislature requested the Task Force provide feedback and possible recommendations including, but not limited to, the following:

(1) potential legislative changes to address shortcomings or difficulties identified by the Task Force in relation to the system of joint enforcement;

(2) potential legislative changes to enable either the Commissioner of Labor or the Attorney General to seek the full, combined range of penalties and remedies that are currently available to them through joint enforcement;

(3) whether to expand the joint enforcement of the laws related to employee misclassification to include additional agencies or departments of the State and potential legislative changes to accomplish such an expansion;

(4) the possibility of creating a private right of action to enforce the provisions of 21 V.S.A. chapter 5, subchapters 2 and 3, and 21 V.S.A. chapters 9 and 17 that relate to employee misclassification; and

(5) the possibility of creating a private attorneys general act modeled on California law for the enforcement of the provisions of 21 V.S.A. chapter 5, subchapters 2 and 3, and 21 V.S.A. chapters 9 and 17 that relate to employee misclassification.

Interested parties may wish to bear these topics in mind when testifying. The Task Force will also accept written testimony or submissions by email to the Chair: [email protected]. Written material will be posted online and made available to the public.

To discuss this further with our advocacy team, contact [email protected] 

Concerned or need to learn more about anything in this newsletter? Email our team at [email protected].

We look forward to working with you.
The Lake Champlain Chamber Advocacy Team