Legislative Update: Closing out the 2024 Session

Last Friday 5/10, or rather in the wee hours on Saturday morning, the legislature adjourned, closing out the 2023-24 biennium. They will, however, likely return on June 17th for a veto session where they will try to override any vetoes, including those already anticipated, issued by Governor Phil Scott.

Since this is an election year, we will welcome in a new legislative body in 2025.

Read on for major takeaways from the 2024 session for nonprofits and to learn how the bills we’ve been closely monitoring fared.

Need to catch up on what’s happened so far?

State Grant Reform

Advancing state grant reform was our number one priority this year. Unfortunately, legislation that would have created a working group on state grant processes failed in the final days of the 2024 session.

As a recap, we set out to pass legislation that would create a working group made up of nonprofit stakeholders, members of the administration, and legislators to assess and report on:

  • Current funding levels and identified cola/other inflationary adjustments
  • Current processes and practices across state government, and identified best practices
  • The impact of bridge loans/lines of credit, and identified alternative funding mechanisms
  • When funding should be reimbursable (or not)
  • System improvements to simplify application/reporting processes
  • Ways to ensure consistency between state/federal indirect rates
  • Any other issues that arise

Draft 1.4 of H. 140 best represented what we set out to accomplish, and also included provisions that would have immediate impact including:

  • Creation of uniform grant application forms, agreements, and reporting forms.
  • Implementation of a uniform formula for nonprofits to use to demonstrate a higher indirect rate than the standard 10% de minimis (which is currently not even guaranteed for state grants).
  • Creation of a state funded grant database.
  • Implementation of a 9% interest penalty on late payments.

Despite support from the House Government Operations Committee, and compelling testimony from our nonprofit community, as to be expected, this strong legislation underwent may changes and iterations over the course of the session. Many pieces of the bill were opposed by the administration, so most of the sections that would have had an immediate impact were scaled back to reports before the House Government Operations Committee voted H. 140 out unanimously, with the working group still in tact.

Unfortunately, H. 140 included a minor appropriation for working group stipends, which meant it had to stop in House Appropriations before advancing. Several concerns were raised:

  • The main concerns were focused on the possibility of the indirect funding cap being raised from the standard 10% de minimis. Members of the committee expressed their beliefs around the importance of administrative costs being kept low because they think that allows for the maximum amount of dollars going towards direct impact.
  • The committee seems to think that section 4 of the bill implements a 9% interest penalty on late payments rather than just requiring the Secretary of Administration to report on the estimated fiscal impact after monitoring late payments. There were also concerns about the feasibility of requiring payments to be processed within 30 days, even though Bulletin 5 clearly states this expectation already.  
  • They also expressed the belief that government services should be taking on much of the work being outsourced by nonprofits. They believe this would be a cheaper way of providing service. As we know, shifting away from funding nonprofits would have a huge and negative impact on Vermont.
  • They wanted the bill to be reviewed by the Joint Fiscal Office before moving.

With time running out before crossover, the Committee let the bill stall out. While that could have been the end, thanks to strong stakeholder advocacy and the support of the Government Operations Committee, the working group language was inserted into H. 702 – the government accountability bill – via floor amendment, which passed over to the Senate with the blessing of House Appropriations.

Senate Government Operations was slow to pick up the bill, but in the final weeks of the session, took it up and heard additional testimony from stakeholders. Once again, the clock was not on our side. Despite general support for the working group, concerns about committee size and necessity had been raised and the Administration testified that they were already working on revising Bulletin 5 which governs grant processes. Knowing that the bill would still have to pass out of Senate Appropriations, with just days left before the session end, the Committee downgraded the working group to a report from the Agency of Administration.

In a tight spot, and recognizing that it was better than nothing, CGVT requested a few changes that were incorporated, but even so, H. 702 (see Section 6), as voted out 5-0-1, was far from ideal.

With just a few days left in the session, H. 702 was once again derailed in Appropriations. Concerns were raised both about our grant report section, as well the government accountability committee from the underlying bill. The Committee moved to be relieved of the bill and have it assigned to Senate Judiciary, effectively killing its chances of advancing. Our team sought alternative vehicles to move the grant language forward, but found nothing to be viable.

While this is disheartening, we also recognize that the language we were trying to push through was far from what we set out to accomplish. The silver lining is that we have learned from this experience and can regroup to try again next year at the start of the biennium. We also succeeded in raising awareness and support for this issue in both chambers, setting a strong foundation for moving this work forward.

We want to express our deep appreciation for our nonprofit and legislative allies without whom, this effort would not have moved as far as it did. We are not giving up and look forward to continuing to collectively advance grant and contract solutions. Onwards!

Interested in engaging this work and/or receiving updates? Please email [email protected].

H. 121, An act relating to enhancing consumer privacy

H. 121 creates important data protections for consumers. While Common Good VT supported this bill and its intention, we did advocate for provisions that would focus its impact on large companies and data brokers rather than impose unnecessary requirements and expenses on small nonprofits. Many of our concerns were shared by the small business community.

As passed by the House, our concerns around applicability and the Private Right of Action (PRA) were not addressed. The Senate was receptive to our suggestions and passed a version that we supported. However, last minute negotiations between the two chambers resulted in some of the improvements being stepped back:

  • Applicability: The applicability threshold will be incrementally lowered to cover more nonprofits over the next few years.
    • In 2025 – Businesses or nonprofits that “controlled or processed the personal data of not fewer than 25,000 consumers in the previous year (or controlled or processed the data of not fewer than 12,500 consumers and derived more than 35% of the person’s gross revenue from the sale of personal data.)
    • In 2026 – threshold reduced from 25,000 to 12,500 consumers and if a person derived more than 20% of their gross revenue form personal data, reduced from 12,500 to 6,250 consumers.
    • In 2027 – threshold reduced from 12,500 to 6,250 and if a person derived more than 20% of their gross revenue form personal data, reduced from 6,250 to 3,125 consumers.
    • Consumers are Vermont residents.
  • Private Right of Action: After being a reduced to a study by the Senate, the final bill includes a PRA but limits it to consumers harmed from violations by “data brokers” (business, or unit or units of a business, separately or together, that knowingly collects and sells or licenses to third parties the brokered personal information of a consumer with whom the business does not have a direct relationship) and “large data holders” (a person that during the preceding calendar year processed the personal data of not fewer than 100,000 consumers). The PRA will not be available to consumers until 2027 and sunsets in 2029.

The full text of the bill as passed is not yet available but can be found here when it is posted. It will now head to the Governor’s desk. In a press conference yesterday, Governor Scott noted that he had concerns, suggesting a possible veto.

As this legislation will impact an increasing number of nonprofits in the coming years starting in 2025, please stay tuned for information and guidance to support compliance with Vermont law. In the meantime, we encourage organizations to begin evaluating their current data collection and management systems and practices. This article is a good place to start.

H. 704, An act relating to disclosure of compensation in job advertisements

H. 704, which would require employers to disclose compensation ranges in job advertisements to prospective employees, passed and is now headed to the Governor’s desk.

If enacted, it will go into effect July 1, 2025.

In anticipation, Common Good Vermont now requires compensation ranges for submissions to the Nonprofit Jobs Board. This is already a common best practice within the nonprofit sector, and a win for equitable hiring!

S. 96, An act relating to privatization contracts

After the Senate turned S. 96 into a study, House Government Operations reinserted pieces from the original bill that would require contractors to disclose information about wages and benefits for each position and comply with employment practices. It would also require the contracting agency to provide the union with a statement about the nature of the contract and ensure the prevailing wage for the contacted position is not lower than the equivalent bargaining unit position.

While this is not great news for contractors, the committee also clarified that “privatization contracts” are contracts for service valued at over $25K/year which are substantially similar to and in lieu of services currently (instead of previously) provided by state employees, or that will substantially replace the duties of a vacant position in state government. Also, importantly, Section 4 clarifies that “It is the intent of the General Assembly that a privatization contract shall not be required for a contract for services when there is no permanent, classified State employee position to perform the equivalent of such proposed contracted services, which includes health services and capital construction.” This exempts most nonprofit contracts from this provision.

This draft was passed by the House on 5/9, and messaged to the senate on 5/10 – the last day of the session. The Senate has not yet concurred so it hasn’t passed yet, but since the calendar continues to advance during the Veto Session, there is still a chance that it could be passed in June.

2024 Session Highlights

Budget & Yield Bill

The FY25 budget totals $8.6B, $2.2B of which are general funds. The budget fills all statutorily required reserves, meets all pension obligations, and makes essential investments in housing, workforce, economic development, human services, and the environment (see Budget Highlights here). The Governor has signaled he could sign the budget bill. More budget information:

The Yield Bill sets property tax rates for the following year, and this year, it would increase property tax rates 13.8% on average. The Governor has already said he will veto the bill.


In addition to H. 704, the compensation disclosure bill, here are some other bills impacting nonprofit employers:

  • S. 102, An act relating to expanding employment protections and collective bargaining rights prevents employers from holding “captive audience” meetings (a strategy often used in union-busting). Specifically, the employer cannot “discharge, discipline, penalize, or otherwise discriminate against, or threaten to discharge, discipline, penalize, or otherwise discriminate against, an employee” because the employee declines to, or as means of requiring an employee to, attend, view or participate in meetings or communications communicating the employer’s opinion about “religious or political matters.”
  • PR. 3, Declaration of Rights; right to collectively bargain: The legislature took the first step to amending the Vermont Constitution to protect collective bargaining rights. Now that it is been passed by one legislature, it will need to be passed by both chambers following the next election. If passed by the new body, it will then be voted on by voters in the following stateside election. There seems to be a new trend in VT of using constitutional amendments to protect citizen rights.
  • H. 55, which included the Baby Bond Pilot Program and changes to unpaid leave statute, did not make it through in time.

New Employer Requirements/Programs for 2024:

  • Vermont Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FMLI): While not a new bill, the voluntarily program for employers with 2 or more employees launched in February. With Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FMLI) from The Hartford (the partner chosen by the state), an employee is able to have a portion of their income replaced — while they take the time needed to care for a child, spouse, parent, or themselves. In 2025, self-employed workers / employers with fewer than two employees will also be eligible. Learn more here.
  • Unemployment Insurance: As of July 1, 2024, ALL nonprofit entities, regardless of size, that have paid any amount of wages, will be required to be registered with the Vermont Department of Labor to participate in Unemployment Insurance. These requirements include filing quarterly wage and contribution reports, paying any associated contribution amount, and reporting newly hired employees within 10 days of their employment. Learn more here.
  • Child Care Payroll Tax: The 2023 Childcare Bill, Act 76, expands access to and funding for childcare. It also imposes a .44% payroll tax that will go into effect July 1, 2024. Employers may elect to cover the tax in full, or split it with employees – 0.33% paid by the employer and 0.11% paid by the employee. More information can be found from Let’s Grow Kids, as well as the State. Learn more at these webinars:


Housing is a significant challenge for Vermont, and impacts the nonprofit workforce, as well as the communities we serve. Some measures passed this year include:

  • H. 687, An act relating to community resilience and biodiversity protection through land use, makes significant changes to Act 250, shifting to tiered place-based jurisdiction. Most municipalities could fall into tiers 1a and 1b, with the least jurisdiction, while most “critical resource areas” would fall into tier 3, which would trigger Act 250 jurisdiction as it does today. Tier 2 is everything that falls somewhere in the middle, likely similar to current Act 250 jurisdiction. The final bill is not yet posted but will be found on the page linked above.
  • Housing Appropriations:
    • $16.5 million to the Department of Children and Families for Emergency Housing 
    • $1 million to extend 10 DCF positions to support Emergency Housing 
    • $1 million to the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) for the Manufactured Home Improvement and Repair Program
    • Contingently appropriates depending on revenues:
      • $20 million in Emergency Housing 
      • $2 million DHCD for the Vermont Housing Improvement Program (VHIP) 
      • $4 million to DEC for the Healthy Homes Initiative 
  • Tax Changes:
    • H.546, a miscellaneous tax bill, increases the Renter Credit and expands eligibility. It would also allow towns to levy a 1% local option tax with approval from the legislature, which could alleviate further property tax increases.
    • H. 687 also implements a 3.4% property transfer tax on second homes.


  • S. 183, An act relating to reenvisioning the Agency of Human Services: The purpose of this bill is to “create a meaningful process through which the Agency, its departments, and the individuals and organizations with whom they engage most can collaborate to identify opportunities to build on past successes and to make improvements for the future.” Given the number of organizations who are funded through the agency/one of the six departments it’s composed of, any changes made to the Agency’s structure could have an impact on our work. We would encourage organizations to reach out to the Agency, and/or Common Good Vermont, with their input. We will look for and share any updates or engagement opportunities.
  • S. 310, An act relating to natural disaster government response, recovery, and resiliency, establishes a new mechanism to distribute funds for hazard mitigation projects and seeks to improve the government’s response to disasters. Funding is included for municipalities which can be used to partner with organizations for mitigation projects.