Legislative Update Week 11
- Hospitals statewide are bracing for a tsunami of patients with a shortage of beds, emergency equipment and staff. ACEDC put out an appeal for N95 masks on behalf of Porter hospital.
- Layoffs are starting to occur beyond the hospitality/food sector. Several local manufacturers have begun layoffs as sales decline. The Department of Labor usually processes 400 unemployment claims each week; there were 4000 processed through the department's new online form on Wednesday alone.
- The state’s general fund is facing a $200 million loss in the next three months. The State has reserves in place, but not enough to cover a prolonged disruption in revenues.
- With all schools and child care centers closed, the state is in the midst of a child care crisis.
- Vermont's request for an emergency declaration was approved late Friday. Vermont businesses may now apply for SBA Disaster Assistance Loans.
- The Senate returns on Tuesday to consider a House-passed emergency unemployment compensation bill, H.681.
- Five House committees will begin meeting next week, perhaps through videoconferencing. They will first focus solely on COVID-19 response legislation, but then move to bills left pending.
- The Senate Committee on Government Operations deliberated this week on temporary amendments to Vermont’s Open Meeting Laws to allow for deliberations that are consistent with health and safety protocols required by COVID-19. The amendments would expire once the crisis subsides.
- Gov. Phil Scott ordered the dismissal of PreK through 12 schools starting Wednesday. The order specified that during the initial two-week period of school closure, the districts would focus on developing new systems of food pickup and delivery, create continuity of education plans, and provide continuity for students who struggle and special education. School Districts are deploying school buses to deliver food to students.
DRM Update here
Lake Champlain Chamber update here