• Vermont Legislative Update 2023: Week 1

    Welcome to a new legislative biennium. LCC’s advocacy team each week pulls together disparate notes from the State House’s many committee meetings and hallway conversations to cut through the static and give you a holistic picture of what is happening under the Golden Dome.

    For this first update, we want to set the stage. These are some statistics to remember as you read legislative updates for the next four to five months.

    As we look ahead in 2023, four fractions will come to define legislative outcomes;

    • One-third of the legislators are new to their position – the largest new cohort in history. The loss of institutional memory and a need to learn the ins and outs of state government cannot be understated. In the first week, the message was “things will start slow,” and there is a lot of training planned and many opportunities in the coming weeks for new members to learn.
    • Two-thirds of the Chairs in the House are new. As if things haven’t been shaken up enough, even the leadership is new in committees. While there are some familiar faces and talented folks in the chairs, they’ll need to prove their mettle in the circumstances less ideal than their predecessors.
    • More than two-thirds of the Legislature is comprised of members from one party, giving that party the ability not to accommodate the desires of the Executive Branch if they so choose. The veto not having such a prominent role means that intra-party differences matter more; think back to when one party had control of the Legislature and the Executive Branch. Finally, caucuses will be particularly important this biennium, so keep an eye out for the long-established “climate caucus” and the newly well-organized “rural caucus” to try to make their mark.
    • Upwards of three-quarters of a billion dollars in spending has been promised or promoted by that party with complete control of the Legislative Branch, while storm clouds appear in budget forecasts for future years. Not all that has been proposed can happen, making difficult decisions.

    This update is a short one, as the week was short and filled with a great deal of pomp and circumstance. In this week’s update:


    This update is courtesy of the Lake Champlain Chamber for distribution by Downs Rachlin Martin