It was a slow week on the floor of the House. Only two bills were passed. The first was H. 606, which addresses the law governing self-storage business. The issues being addressed are notification of default to renters, over locking of units in default, notification of an auction of storage unit contents, the need for storage unit owners to conduct a UCC search and notifying lien holders of items that may be in a rent default unit.

The second bill to come before the House was H.143, which proposed to eliminate the requirement that towns elect a town agent and instead give the town’s Selectboard the authority to appoint. The issue before the House, last week, was a proposed Senate amendment to change the effective date of the bill to July 1, 2020 instead of July 1, 2019. The bill was passed out of the House last year, but Senate did not get around to dealing with it until the current session.

As of last Friday, there were 915 bills introduced in the House and 336 introduced in the Senate. A complete listing of all bills introduced by both bodies can be found at https://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/introducted/2020. A listing of all bills passed by the House or Senate can be found at https://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/passed/2020.

The Commerce & Economic Development Committee (CEDC) of which I am a member, had another busy week. We heard testimony on H.705, which deals with promoting tourism and marketing. A number of state officials involved in tourism and marketing testified on this bill, including the economist retained by the legislature. In addition to these state officials, we received testimony from several individuals involved in promoting the Northeast Kingdom, as well as people representing agritourism.

The committee began taking testimony from state officials on H. 641. This bill addresses the need to promote a technology-based economy. We heard testimony about the use of incentives and loan programs to encourage the expansion of Vermont business.

The committee attended a hearing on workforce development. The Vermont Housing and Conservation Coalition spoke of their success in creating new housing for low income individuals, as well as workforce housing.

The committee continued to work on H.1, which deals with employee noncompete agreements. It has proven to be a long and difficult process to strike a balance between the interests of both employees and employers. Barring any new wrinkles, the committee is likely vote next week on sending it to the House for its consideration.

Rep. Robert L. Bancroft

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