Roll Call! Senate Passes Contracting Registration/Certification and Housing Safety Regulation (19-11), 2019

PASSED
in the State Senate on April 3, 2019 by a vote of 
19-11 
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Purpose: To further regulate maintenance standards for rental housing and require residential contractors to register with the state, purchase insurance, and to encourage voluntary certification.
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Analysis: The bill creates a licensing program for Vermont’s residential contractors. It authorizes an online database for rental homes that have passed or failed inspections, allowing the government to assess penalties for owners who fail inspections. Additionally, subsidies will be given to rental housing owners for improving the quality of their homes for residents. Finally, the bill asks the State Treasurer to lay out financing options for subsidizing 1000 additional housing units in Vermont over the next decade, to be considered by the legislature in 2020.
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Those voting YES believe rental housing in Vermont needs to be more affordable and of a higher quality, and that home owners need more legal protections when they hire contractors.
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Those voting NO tended to have issue with the contracting license portion of the bill. They believe home owners already have the legal recourse necessary to hold contractors accountable in small claims court, with Vermont’s Consumer Assistance Program and through mediation. They note that while homeowners statewide may have disputed over a half million dollars for poor service, contractors received $200 million from homeowners without a hitch in 2017, indicating that this is a rather small problem. Given the lack of consumer friendly websites run by Vermont’s government, it is doubtful that residents will be any better informed. Adding a registration and fee requirement will lower the disposable incomes of residential contractors, and/or the cost of compliance will be passed along to consumers, without bringing any level of increased work quality to residents.
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Senate Journal, Wednesday, April 3, 2019“There being a tie, the Secretary took the casting vote of the President, who voted “Nay”.Thereupon, third reading of the bill was ordered on a roll call, Yeas 19, Nays 11.” (Read the Journal, p. 528-530)
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Related:
Rep. Mark Higley discusses what the this bill would mean for contractors (VT Digger)
4800 Vermont Workers Face Mandatory Registration and Fees (Blog)
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How They Voted

Timothy Ashe (D/P-Chittenden) – YES
Becca Balint (D-Windham) – YES
Philip Baruth (D-Chittenden) – YES
Joseph Benning (R-Caledonia) – NO
Christopher Bray (D-Addison) – YES
Randy Brock (R-Franklin) – YES
Brian Campion (D-Bennington) – YES
Alison Clarkson (D-Windsor) – YES
Brian Collamore (R-Rutland) – NO
Ann Cummings (D-Washington) – YES
Ruth Hardy (D-Addison) – YES
Cheryl Hooker (D-Rutland) – YES
Debbie Ingram (D-Chittenden) – YES
M. Jane Kitchel (D-Caledonia) – NO
Virginia Lyons (D-Chittenden) – YES
Mark MacDonald (D-Orange) – YES
Richard Mazza (D-Chittenden-Grand Isle) – NO
Richard McCormack (D-Windsor) – NO
James McNeil (R-Rutland) – NO
Alice Nitka (D-Windsor District) – NO
Corey Parent (R-Franklin) – YES
Chris Pearson (P-Chittenden) – YES
Andrew Perchlik (D-Washington) – YES
Anthony Pollina (P/D/W-Washington) – YES
John Rodgers (D-Essex-Orleans) – NO
Richard Sears (D-Bennington) – NO
Michael Sirotkin (D-Chittenden) – YES
Robert Starr (D-Essex-Orleans) – NO
Richard Westman (R-Lamoille) – NO
Jeanette White (D-Windham) – YES

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