AIAVT Keeps Tabs on Contractor Registry Bill

By Sandy Vitzthum, AIA and Sarah O Donnell

 

In the fall of 2018, the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation (OPR), acting upon complaints filed with the Attorney General’s office, drafted legislation (bill S. 163), which would require contractors working in Vermont to:

  1. Register with the OPR and pay a fee at initial application and biennial renewal: 

    1. Registration for an individual: $75.00.

    2. Registration for a business: $250.00.

  2. Have professional liability insurance coverage.

  3. Write a contract with the homeowner for projects valued at over $1,000.00 (labor and materials).

 

The bill also offered voluntary certification for individuals who pursue special training or education in particular trades.

 

AIA Vermont’s Public Policy Committee tracked the bill throughout this year’s legislative session. AIAVT emailed members several times during the bill’s navigation of the House, Senate, and applicable committees to encourage individual members to contact their representatives in support of the bill. The bill, S. 163, to which language about rental housing was added, passed the Senate and the initial committee of the House (General, Housing & Military Affairs). 

 

The bill was then referred to the House Appropriations, where it passed. It’s possible that the bill was being delayed, because instead of being voted on by the entire House, it was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee, where it was never taken up for discussion. Around this time the rental housing section was stripped out of the bill, appended to another bill, titled “an act relating to rental housing safety” and passed. The homebuilder registration part of S.163 remained and “timed out” without final action in 2019.

 

Because the VT legislature is biennial, S.163 may be taken up next year. It has received quite a bit of support, although there is some unidentified force that held it up. OPR will be leading the effort to finish the bill’s approval this coming session, and AIAVT’s Public Policy Committee will continue to track and support the bill. 

 

Appreciation is owed to our individual members who reached out to their representatives, to the members of the Public Policy Committee for their energy and involvement in the process, and special thanks is due to Sandy Vitzthum, AIA. Sandy was in regular contact with individuals and organizations to track the bill and report back to the PPC, and spoke on behalf of AIAVT at the State House in support of this bill.