Policy Update: Nonprofit Lobby Day & 2023 VT Veto Session

While the legislature may have adjourned a month ago, we are back with a policy update reviewing the record setting veto session that took place on Tuesday, and to share about Common Good VT’s recent trip to the nation’s capitol to participate in the 2023 Nonprofit Lobby Day hosted by the National Council of Nonprofits.

Veto Session

On Tuesday, June 20th, VT lawmakers returned to Montpelier for what was scheduled to be a 3-day Veto Session to determine the fate of the eight bills vetoed by the Governor after the session adjourned. Governor Scott has issued the most vetoes of any governor, but throughout Vermont’s history, only 14 vetoed bills have been overturned. To overturn a veto, both the House and Senate must vote the bill through again with a 2/3 majority. With super-majorities in both chambers, however, lawmakers were able to overturn an impressive five out of the eight vetoes, and still adjourn on day one shortly after 5 pm. The bills that made it through are:

UPDATED 6/29: Also during the veto session, S. 103, An act relating to amending the prohibitions against discrimination, passed out of the Senate and was delivered to the Governor. This bill expands and clarifies the definition of harassment and expands equal pay protections for additional groups. On June 28, Scott signed the bill into law. Read more here.

Nonprofit Lobby Day

Morgan Webster & Emma Paradis of Common Good Vermont met with Representative Balint to discuss nonprofit priorities.

On June 14th, Common Good VT represented Vermont nonprofits on Capitol Hill by participating in 2023 Nonprofit Lobby Day hosted by the National Council of Nonprofits. Thank you to Representative Balint and Senator Sanders’s staff for meeting with us to discuss priorities for the nonprofit sector. We urged our congressional delegation to support policy solutions that provide nonprofits with the representation and resources they need to help our communities not just survive, but thrive.

Specifically, we asked for their support on three key bills:

  • Volunteer Driver Tax Appreciation Act of 2022 (H.R. 3032)
    • Increases the Charitable Mileage Rate for nonprofit volunteer drivers delivering people or products on behalf of nonprofits to the standard business rate, currently set at $65.5/mile.
    • Eliminates taxation of mileage reimbursements up to the business rate.
  • The Charitable Act (H.R. 3435/S. 566)
    • Provides a non-itemizer deduction of up to one-third of the standard deduction (approx. $4,600/individual and $9,200/couple).
    • Available in 2023 and 2024.
  • Nonprofit Stakeholders Engaging and Advancing Together Act (H.R. 3245)
    • Establishes a White House Office on Nonprofit Sector Partnership, an Interagency Council, and Federal Advisory Board, giving nonprofits a voice in federal policy.
    • Creates a commission to promote enforcement of nonprofit protections in the OMB Uniform Guidance, requires BLS to issue quarterly nonprofit jobs/wages reports, and promotes volunteerism.

In addition to discussing the impact these bills would have on the sector, particularly in the context of a workforce shortage, we also tied our conversation back to challenges with government grants and contracting and a lack of sector specific data. It was great to connect with our national leadership and strengthen our relationships. We look forward to returning to Nonprofit Lobby Day in 2024!