Legislative Updates/

Legislative Update: June 3, 2019

by Devon Green

As of Wednesday, the legislative session is officially over.  After the House adjourned over an impasse on minimum wage and paid family leave, the Senate was unable to make any progress on a compromise and decided to adjourn until January.  Below is our final bill tracker of the session.  Everything listed will become law except for the items labeled “not moving.”  Keep in mind, just because something is not moving this year, it doesn’t mean the issue is over.  We will very likely see the legislature hit the ground running on issues like minimum wage, paid family leave, and cannabis commercialization next year.  Until then, thank you for reading, and have a wonderful summer!

VAHHS Bill Tracker


ACO and APM Reporting


Passed both chambers

Requires the GMCB to conduct an evaluation of the extent to which social services are integrated into accountable care


H.542 Passed both chambers
  • Rejects Administration's proposal to increase hospitals' and insurers' proportion of GMCB funding Senate Version:
  • Partially reinstates cut to mental health support funding to emergency departments with a $375,000 grant.
  • Expands dental benefit from $510 per year to $1,000 per year plus two preventive visits.


 Cannabis Commercialization






Not moving


Current House version includes advertisement and labeling restrictions, maintaining current medical marijuana regulation, sustainable funding for a prevention 

 Capital Bill






Governor signed 5/30


Includes replacement of Middlesex Secure Residential Recovery Facility with a 16-bed state facility while analyzing the need for interim beds, such as the residential beds proposed by Rutland Regional Medical Center and Rutland Mental Health Services, and allowing the state to negotiate for such beds if needed. Also directs DAIL to allow for emergency involuntary procedures at secure residential facilities



 E-Cigarette Internet Sales 




Governor approved 5/16

 Prohibits sale and shipping of electronic cigarettes and paraphenalia to anyone in Vermont other than a licensed wholesale dealer or retailer.


E-Cigarette Taxation






Delivered to Governor 5/17



Taxes electronic cigarettes as "other tobacco products" 
Health Care Professional on GMCB


Health Care Professional on GMCB


 Not Moving

Requires at least one member of the GMCB to be a health care professional

Healthy Meals


Not Moving Requires restaurants to offer healthy beverage choices as the default for children's meals while preserving the option of other beverages. On Friday, the House used this bill as a vehicle to try to pass the budget, but the Senate agreed to the original budget bill at the last moment.
Insurance Market Stabilization H.524 Passed both chambers Adopts many ACA protections as state law, including insurance coverage by parent for child until age 26 and prohibitions on preexisting condition exclusions—also prohibits new association health plans for 2020.
Minimum Wage S.23 Not moving The House and Senate has adjourned and will likely make minimum wage a top priority for 2020. The version of the bill ready for next session has language for studying the impact of a minimum wage increase on Medicaid providers.
Physician Assistant Licensing S.128 Not Moving Proposes eliminating physician supervision of and liability for PAs-- PAs in a hospital would need privileges for licensure and physicians in the community would need a practice agreement with a physician. 
Plastics Ban S.113 Passed both chambers Bans the use of single-use plastic bags, styrofoam, and plastic straws. Hospitals are exempt from plastic straw ban.
Primary Care Spend  Act 17 Enacted into law
Study to determine current spend on primary care and compare it to current benchmarks and spending in other states as well as the projected spending trend under the APM
Prior Authorizations for MAT
S.43 Governor signed 5/30 Proposes to prohibit health insurance plans from imposing prior authorizations on medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and requires Medicaid to report on its prior authorization processes regarding MAT.
Rural Health Care H.528 Governor approved bill on 5/16 Creates the Rural Health Services Task Force to ensure the sustainability of Vermont's rural hospitals and health care system.
Smoking Age S.86 Governor signed 5/16 Increase the smoking age from 18 to 21 years of age.
Transparency and Health Information Exchange S.31
Passed both chambers Requires hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers to provide information about financial assistance and billing and collections practices. Directs DVHA to consult with stakeholders to incorporate an "opt-out" process for Vermont's health information exchange.
Workforce Development H.533 Passed both chambers Report on workforce training and credentialing for nurse educators and new Americans 
Substance Misuse Prevention S.146 Passed both chambers Combines Tobacco Evaluation and Review Board and Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council into Substance Misuse Prevention Oversight and Advisory Council to focus efforts around preventing misuse of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.