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Stories about Vermont

Vermont enacts legislation granting public-sector unions greater access to new employees

Vermont enacts legislation granting public-sector unions greater access to new employees           

On Oct. 12, Gov. Phil Scott (R) into law S254, omnibus legislation that will grant public-sector unions greater access to new employees and facilitate automatic dues deductions.

What does the legislation do?  

The legislation will make the following changes to Vermont’s public-sector labor relations laws effective Jan. 1, 2021: 

  • Requires employers to provide unions with opportunities to meet newly hired employees, either during an employee’s orientation or within 30 days of being hired. 
  • Requires an employer to furnish a union with a list of all the employees within the union’s bargaining unit. This list, which the employer must provide annually, must contain every employee’s name, work location, job classification, and contact information (including home address, personal email address, and home and cell phone numbers).  
  • Grants employees the right to automatic union dues deductions. An employer must begin dues deductions within 30 days of receiving an employee’s written consent. 
  • Modifies the union certification process.

Other enacted public-sector labor bills

State legislatures in three other states have enacted public-sector labor legislation this year: 

  • California AB2850: Specifies that the Public Employment Relations Board has jurisdiction to enforce statutory provisions governing employer-employee relations within the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District.
  • Virginia HB582: Repeals the prohibition against public-sector employee collective bargaining.
  • Virginia SB939: Permits local governments to recognize unions as bargaining agents for public-sector workers.
  • Washington HB2017: Establishes collective bargaining rights for administrative law judges.

Legislative history

Sen. Michael Sirotkin (D) introduced S254 on Jan. 9. On Sept. 4, the Senate approved the legislation and sent it to the House, which passed it with an amendment on Sept. 23. The Senate agreed to the House amendment on Sept. 24 and sent the bill to the governor on Oct. 6. Scott signed it into law on Oct. 12.  

Political context

Vermont has a divided government. A Republican holds the governorship, but Democrats have majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. 

What are the reactions?

Support

  • Heather Riemer, the director of the Vermont chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, said, “It’s basically making sure employers don’t decide they want to make it harder for people to be union members by denying them the right to have their union dues taken out of their paycheck.” 

Opposition

  • Max Nelsen, the labor policy director at the Freedom Foundation, said, “If you happen to make it through that 60-minute orientation and you don’t sign up for union membership, It’s entirely possible that you’ll start receiving phone calls or emails or maybe a visit to your home on a Saturday morning from union organizers trying to get you signed up.” 

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 102 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s) 

Recent legislative actions

No legislative actions have been taken on relevant bills since our last issue.



Molly Gray wins Democratic lieutenant gubernatorial primary in Vermont

Molly Gray defeated Timothy Ashe, Debbie Ingram, and Brenda Siegel in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor of Vermont. With 68% of precincts reporting, Gray had received 45% of the vote. Ashe was second with 32%. Siegel and Ingram each received less than 10%.

Incumbent Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman (D/P) is running for governor, leaving the position open. Gray is an assistant attorney general. Ashe is a state senator and serves as the chamber’s president pro tempore.

The 2016 election was the first time since 2000 that Vermonters had elected a non-Republican lieutenant governor. Vermont Public Radio‘s Peter Hirschfeld, commenting about the office, wrote, “Aside from presiding over the state senate … [the] job doesn’t carry much in the way of constitutional powers. But the statewide post has been an important stepping stone for many ambitious politicians.” Vermont has had six governors since 1980, three of whom had previously served as lieutenant governor.



Zuckerman wins Democratic gubernatorial primary in Vermont

David Zuckerman won Vermont’s Democratic gubernatorial primary on August 11, 2020. With 55% of precincts reporting, he had received 44% of the vote. Rebecca Holcombe was second with 33%. Patrick Winburn and Ralph Corbo received less than 10% each.

Zuckerman is Vermont’s lieutenant governor. He previously served in the state Senate as a Progressive/Democrat from 2013 to 2017 and in the state House as a Progressive Party member from 1997 to 2011. Holcombe was Vermont’s education secretary from 2014 to 2018.

Vermont has a Republican governor and Democratic majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. It is one of 14 states with a divided government. Vermont is also one of four states that voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election and has a Republican governor in 2020. Three election forecasters rate the general election either Likely Republican or Solid Republican.

Incumbent Gov. Phil Scott (R) is seeking re-election and won the Republican primary.



Candidate filing period for state executive and legislative races ends in Vermont and Wyoming

The filing deadlines to run for state-level offices in Vermont and Wyoming have passed. Vermont’s deadline was on May 28, and Wyoming’s deadline was on May 29.

In Vermont, prospective candidates filed for the following state offices:
• Governor
• Lieutenant Governor
• Secretary of State
• Auditor
• Attorney General
• Treasurer
• Vermont State Senate (30 seats)
• Vermont House of Representatives (150 seats)

In Wyoming, prospective candidates filed for the following state legislative offices:
• Wyoming State Senate (15 seats)
• Wyoming House of Representatives (60 seats)

Wyoming is also holding retention elections for two state Supreme Court justices on November 3, 2020.

Vermont’s primary is scheduled for August 11, and Wyoming’s primary is scheduled for August 18. The general elections in both states are scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Vermont’s statewide filing deadline was the 39th and Wyoming’s deadline was the 40th to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide filing deadlines are on June 1 in Alaska, Kansas, and Wisconsin.

Wyoming has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Vermont has a divided government where no party holds a trifecta.

Additional reading:



Filing period ends for congressional offices in Vermont, Wyoming

The major-party filing deadlines to run for elected office in Vermont and Wyoming passed on May 28 and May 29.

Candidates in Vermont filed for the state’s At-Large Congressional District seat.

Candidates in Wyoming filed for the following offices:
  • U.S. Senate (one seat)
  • Wyoming’s At-Large Congressional District (one seat)

U.S. Senate incumbent Mike Enzi (R) announced on May 4, 2019, that he would retire in the fall of 2020.

The primary in Vermont is scheduled for August 11, and the primary in Wyoming is scheduled for August 18. The general election in both states is scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Vermont and Wyoming’s major-party congressional filing deadlines were the 39th and 40th to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next major-party congressional filing deadlines are on June 1 in Alaska, Kansas, and Wisconsin.

Entering the 2020 election, the Democratic Party holds the At-Large Congressional District seat from Vermont, and the Republican Party holds the U.S. Senate and At-Large Congressional District seats from Wyoming.

The U.S. Senate has 45 Democrats, 53 Republicans, and two independents who caucus with the Democratic Party. Only 33 out of 100 Senate seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 51 seats. The U.S. House has 233 Democrats, 196 Republicans, and one Libertarian. All 435 seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 218 seats.

Additional reading:


Candidate filing period to run for state executive and legislative races to end in Vermont and Wyoming

 

The statewide filing deadlines to run for state-level offices in Vermont and Wyoming are approaching. Vermont’s deadline is on May 28 and Wyoming’s deadline is on May 29.

In Vermont, prospective candidates may file for the following offices:
• Governor
• Lieutenant Governor
• Secretary of State
• Auditor
• Attorney General
• Treasurer
• Vermont State Senate (30 seats)
• Vermont House of Representatives (150 seats)

In Wyoming, prospective candidates may file for the following offices:
• Wyoming State Senate (15 seats)
• Wyoming House of Representatives (60 seats)

Wyoming is also holding retention elections for two state Supreme Court justices on November 3, 2020.

Vermont’s primary is scheduled for August 11, and Wyoming’s primary is scheduled for August 18. The general elections in both states are scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Vermont’s statewide filing deadline is the 39th and Wyoming’s deadline is the 40th to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide filing deadlines are on June 1 in Alaska, Kansas, and Wisconsin.

Wyoming has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Vermont has a divided government where no party holds a trifecta.

Additional reading:



Congressional major-party candidate filing deadline to pass in Vermont, Wyoming

The major-party congressional filing deadlines to run for elected office in Vermont and Wyoming are on May 28 and May 29, respectively.

In Vermont, prospective candidates may file for the following office:
  • Vermont’s At-Large Congressional District (one seat)
In Wyoming, prospective candidates may file for the following offices:
  • U.S. Senate (one seat)
  • Wyoming’s At-Large Congressional District (one seat)

The primary in Vermont is scheduled for August 11, and the primary in Wyoming is scheduled for August 18. The general election in both states is scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Vermont and Wyoming’s major-party congressional filing deadlines are the 39th and 40th to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next major-party congressional filing deadlines are on June 1 in Alaska, Kansas, and Wisconsin.

Entering the 2020 election, the Democratic Party holds the At-Large Congressional District seat from Vermont, and the Republican Party holds the At-Large Congressional District seat from Wyoming.

The U.S. Senate has 45 Democrats, 53 Republicans, and two independents who caucus with the Democratic Party. Only 33 out of 100 Senate seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 51 seats.

The U.S. House has 233 Democrats, 198 Republicans, and one Libertarian. All 435 seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 218 seats.

Additional reading:


Tully appointed to Windham-3 District in Vermont House of Representatives

Gov. Phil Scott (D) appointed Kelley Tully to the Windham-3 District seat in the Vermont House of Representatives last week. Tully assumed office on April 11. The seat was vacated when Matt Trieber, who had served in the legislature for nine years, resigned in February to focus on his job as a youth counselor.

Tully worked as a nurse for 25 years and is the president and vice president of two fuel and transportation companies. Scott cited Tully’s experience in the business and healthcare sectors as a motivating factor for the appointment, indicating these skills would be useful in the legislature during the current coronavirus pandemic.

Tully will serve the remainder of Trieber’s term, which ends on January 6, 2021. She is one of the five state legislators filling a 2020 vacancy who has not filed to run for re-election, but there is more than a month left before Vermont’s May 28 statewide filing deadline. Tully is one of 95 Democrats in the Vermont House, who hold a majority over 43 Republicans, seven members of the Vermont Progressive Party, and five independents. With her appointment, there are zero vacancies remaining in the state legislature.

Additional reading:
Matt Trieber
State legislative vacancies, 2020



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