Vt. lawmakers working on coronavirus bills

Published: Mar. 22, 2020 at 6:53 PM EDT
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Vermont lawmakers are mulling over a package coronavirus related measures aimed at expanding unemployment benefits and bolstering the number of medical workers, but questions remain about self-employed and independent contractors who don't pay into unemployment.

Federal law says states can't expand benefits to people who don't pay in, but New Hampshire is already taking steps to expand benefits to self-employed workers. Vermont lawmakers say they'll explore every possibility to help out workers who are losing work opportunities as a result of the coronavirus.

"We will be, and I'm sure everybody is looking for other pots of money. And it may be possible to administer a new source of funds through the already established trust fund mechanism," said Sen. Michael Sirotkin, D- Chittenden County.

One of the bills also gives more resources to Vermont's medical workforce and allows more doctors to administer care over telemedicine. Lawmakers are planning on voting on the bills on Tuesday.