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What’s left on Vt. Legislature’s to-do list before adjournment

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 5:51 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont lawmakers are entering what’s slated to be their last month of a legislative session like no other.

Perhaps the biggest issue of the session has dealt with how to spend the massive influx of cash from the American Rescue Plan.

House and Senate Democrats will reconcile their spending plans in the next few weeks. The Senate passed its budget last week.

But it’s unclear if the governor will support how and when Democrats are spending this money.

His own spending plan earmarks about $1 billion in different initiatives to be spent over the next three years.

We also heard this session about a fight on how best to fill a $5 billion hole in retirement benefits.

Democrats in the House ended up pulling back their plan instead of punting the issue to a summer study committee.

Instead this session, lawmakers are only moving forward with a bill that reforms the governance structure-- who decides where the funds get invested and when.

That proposal cleared the House and is now in front of a key Senate committee.

Lawmakers are also debating expanding Vermont’s bottle bill and putting a vote-by-mail system into law.

The bottle bill expansion would bring the refund up to 10 cents and would expand it to juice and wine bottles.

That bill is in the Senate but it’s unclear if it will make it across the finish line this session as Gov. Phil Scott says he’s opposed to the measure.

The measure creating a universal mail-in voting system for our general election has been in a key House committee for the last two months.

However, the House will pick it up this week and is poised to send it to the governor’s desk.

Lawmakers are set to adjourn in two or three weeks but the question of allocating the federal cash and getting bills across the finish line will make for a packed few weeks.

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