Photo Credit: Vermont General Assembly - click to see more...

Photo Credit: Vermont General Assembly - click to see more...

We recently hosted our annual Legislative Luncheon at the Career Development Center with the Vermont Chamber of Commerce (thank you to Jaime-Lynn Schmidt and the great students who put together an amazing meal!).  We always like pairing up with the Vermont Chamber as they are key partners keeping us in tune with important initiatives and legislation as it pertains to our businesses, members and community.

If you were unable to attend, here is a quick breakdown of what they shared with us as we begin the 2018 session:

1.     Vermont needs about 11,000 new workers each year to keep up with the rate of growth. In 2010-2015 Vermont’s in-migration was about +297 people. 

2.     The minimum wage study committee will make a recommendation to the legislature on the $15/hour minimum wage.

3.     The Senate is poised to take up paid family leave this coming session, which passed the House last session with six weeks of leave at 80% wage replacement, funded through an employee payroll tax of 0.141%. 

4.     The Vermont Chamber supports continued investments in tourism marketing to maintain Vermont’s competitive market share and additional investment to market Vermont as a great place to live, work and build a business. 

5.     Rural Development Caucus is taking testimony November 7th at the State House from 5-7 pm.  If you are unable to attend, you may submit testimony via email to caucus member Rep. Charlie Kimbell.

6.     The Vermont Chamber will continue its Grounds for Discussion initiative throughout the year, encouraging businesses to invite their legislators for a tour and discussion to create a stronger foundation for decision-making on laws to help businesses grow. If you are interested in participating, please contact

7.     The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is required to adopt an updated storm water management rule under Act 64 of 2015 by January 1, 2018. Beginning in 2018 the DEC will require a General Permit for existing sites with three or more acres of impervious surface. The DEC anticipates that there are roughly 1,000 sites statewide that will require retrofits.

8.     The House Commerce Committee will take testimony November 9 and 14 in four locations in Vermont to discuss issues related to privacy and data security breaches. The Committee will hear from the public regarding their questions, experience with breaches, concerns, and suggestions, including the recent Equifax breach impacts on businesses and individuals.  

9.     Do you rent out a room on Airbnb, VBRO, or other host sites? If so, be aware that the Legislature will explore a report they will receive next session from the Short-Term Rental Regulation Working Group, examining the impact of short-term rentals in Vermont's hospitality industry, health and safety concerns, insurance coverage, legal implications and different models already in place elsewhere.

10.  With the ever-changing environmental policies occurring at the federal level, do not be surprised to see the legislature raise concerns regarding climate change, carbon taxation, toxic chemicals, and clean water. 

Looking to get more involved as a Chamber member with what’s going on in politics and at the state level?  Make sure you mark your calendar for these upcoming dates for local engagement:

Shires of Vermont Fall Caucus: Setting a Regional Voice for the Future
Where: Fisher Elementary (504 E Arlington Rd, Arlington, VT) 
When: Wednesday, November 15 (6pm - 7:30pm)
Why: To bring together both North Shire and South Shire delegation, stakeholders and concerned citizens to develop a legislative voice for the area

Legislative Breakfast 2018
Where: Hampton Inn, Bennington
When: Monday, January 8 (7:30am-9am)
Why: With the Southern Vermont Supervisory Union (local education), a breakfast to gather members of the Chamber together to discuss issues and create the "ask" for the State based on the needs of the area

Day Under the Dome
Where: State House, Montpelier
When: Tuesday, January 30th  - Snow date Tuesday, February 6th
Why: To present the Shires of Vermont Caucus at the State House and learn more about the inner activities of our State.

Part of the membership benefit of belonging to the Bennington Area Chamber is our direct line of communication with the Vermont Chamber and their team of business lobbyists.  We’ve also helped members navigate key laws, changes and challenges with the assistance of the Vermont Chamber, our connections with the Attorney General’s office and other advocacy-based agencies.  To learn more visit

Always Onward,
Matt Harrington