Alliance March Legislative/Issue Update

We are about half-way through the ’24 legislative session, and issues on the Alliance's Legislative Agenda are moving through the committee consideration process. What follows is an update on the status of Agenda issues and our collective advocacy.  For a more complete background on the issues and the legislative “asks”, consult each issue’s webpage on the Alliance’s website.

The House continues to work on its version of the FY25 Budget, planning to finalize it by the end of March. Senate consideration will follow. Work on many issues is ongoing in both the House and Senate as committees seek to meet coming deadlines that require bills to move by the end of the month in order to be eligible for final passage this session.

For questions about the policy details or the legislative process, please contact Matt Levin, Executive Director, at


REACH UP: Ending Child Poverty is Within Our Reach

The Governor’s Recommended FY25 Budget unfortunately includes a reduction in funding for Reach Up due to projected decreasing caseloads. This recommendation is in direct contradiction with to the goals outlined in H. 94, the bill passed last year that set a clear policy goal for the State of eliminating the ratable reduction to Reach Up within the next five years.

Advocates are pleased that the House Human Services Committee has recommended to the House Appropriations Committee that Reach Up funding be increased in their FY25 Budget, to take steps towards that elimination. Advocacy will continue in support of this funding increase to eliminate the ratable reduction, increasing the benefit overall and also provide more support for recipients’ housing needs.

LEAD ORGANIZATION: Voices for Vermont’s Children


HOUSING & HOMELESSNESS: Ensure Access to Safe and Affordable Housing

Emergency Housing

A key focus in the first half of the session for advocates and legislators was on how the FY24 Budget Adjustment Act (BAA) would be used to address the pending termination of the state’s largest emergency housing program. While the House and Senate had some differences in their proposals, they agreed that all vulnerable households should be covered through June 2024 and that rates paid to participating hotels and motels should be capped so that funding would be available to provide coverage for more households. This differed from the Governor’s BAA proposal which would have ended emergency housing for over 1,000 households currently housed in hotels and motels by April 1.

The final BAA includes just over $3 million more in funding than the Governor recommended and extends housing in hotels and motels when shelter is not available to most of the currently eligible households through June. Importantly, the BAA broadens the definition of disability to individuals with serious medical conditions and other disabilities. The per night rate paid to hotels and motels is now $80 per night as of March 1, with flexibility when additional services are provided under a contractual agreement.

Looking toward FY25, the House Human Services Committee is developing recommendations for modernizing the state’s approach to providing emergency/interim housing that would likely build on the BAA construct. The Committee has also recommended to the House Appropriations Committee that the FY25 Budget include sufficient funding to provide emergency/interim housing at a level that is much greater than that proposed by the Governor. Details of the proposal are still under development.

Investments in Permanent Affordable Housing Development

The Governor’s Recommended FY25 Budget provides limited funding to spur the development of affordable housing. Beyond recommending full statutory funding for the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) from the Property Transfer Tax of approximately $25 million, it only provides for $4.5 million in one-time funding each for VHCB and the Vermont Housing Finance Agency.

Meanwhile, the House General and Housing Committee has passed H. 829, a bill that would make significant additional investments – over $150 million – in affordable housing, homelessness prevention, and related services and supports. The bill will next be considered by the House Human Services Committee which will have one week to review it and add potential language related to providing services to accompany the housing investments. The Committee will need to pass it out before the March 15 “crossover” deadline so that it can be considered by the House Appropriations Committee before the March 22 “crossover” deadline for financial bills.

LEAD ORGANIZATION: Housing & Homelessness Alliance of Vermont


PARENT CHILD CENTER NETWORK INTEGRATED GRANT: Increase Funding to Reflect Increased Costs

The members of the Vermont Parent Child Center Network (PCCN) are currently implementing changes required by an update made to their enabling state statute, which formalized their structure and partnership with the State of Vermont. The changes have brought additional administrative needs, as PCCN continues this transition. PCCs have also seen significant increases in health insurance costs for their staff.

PCCN is seeking a base funding increase of $721,945 to their Integrated Grant from the State to cover additional administrative costs, increased personnel costs, and move closer to the actual cost of providing services and avoid a reduction in service levels to our communities. The House Human Services Committee has decided to support only the health insurance portion of the PCCN request in their recommendations on the FY25 Budget to the House Appropriations Committee. Advocacy is continuing for the full amount needed in the FY25 Budget to support PCCN as they implement the new statute and stabilize their workforce.

LEAD ORGANIZATION: Vermont Parent Child Center Network


PAID FAMILY & MEDICAL LEAVE: Improving the Health and Well-Being of Vermont Families

The Vermont Paid Leave Coalition is continuing its advocacy for the strong paid medical and family leave program Vermonters need, and urging the Senate to take up the comprehensive Paid Leave bill that passed last year in the House, H.66.

Unfortunately, the Senate has still not given the bill a full hearing. While advocacy in support of the bill continues in the State House, the Coalition is continuing to build support in communities around the state for the leave proposal.

LEAD ORGANIZATION: Vermont Paid Leave Coalition


INFORMATION AND REFERRAL: Ensuring a Strong and Accessible Vermont 211 Information and Referral System

The Governor’s Recommended FY25 Budget includes $1.3 million in base funding to support the operations of Vermont 211. This funding level would allow Vermont 211 to provide information and referrals at the current level of service, which does not include overnight coverage. In their support for the program, advocates have described the need for the round-the-clock coverage and its benefits to families seeking assistance. The Governor’s proposal would stabilize operations by including all the funding in the base budget, in contrast to the current fiscal year that relies on a combination of one-time and base funding.

The House Human Services Committee has supported the Governor’s proposal and recommended to the House Appropriations Committee that they consider adding an additional $332,000 to the FY25 Budget, to allow Vermont 211 to return to the 24-hour/7-day service level they provided until July 2023. Advocacy supporting that expanded recommendation will continue, though it is not clear if funding will be available to meet that need.

LEAD ORGANIZATION: Vermont Early Childhood Advocacy Alliance


STATE TAX CREDITS: Expand Vermont Tax Credits to Help Vermonters Meet Their Basic Needs

The House Ways and Means Committee has received a preliminary introduction to H. 701, a bill that would increase Vermont’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and make other changes to the tax code that would assist low-income filers. The Committee has also taken background testimony on the EITC and the Child Tax Credit (CTC).

Advocates are continuing to seek opportunities to raise the issue in legislative committees, and additionally are working to increase outreach to ensure that every eligible Vermonter receives the credits.

LEAD ORGANIZATION: Public Assets Institute


FAIR SHARE FOR VERMONT: Build a Vermont that Works for Everyone

The House Ways and Means Committee has discussed two strong, progressive bills that would increase state revenues while addressing wealth inequality by increasing taxes on the wealthiest Vermont residents, so we can build a Vermont that works for everyone who lives here. H. 827 would institute a tax on unrealized gains for wealthy Vermont taxpayers with over $10 million in assets. H. 828 would institute a 3% personal income tax surcharge on personal annual income over $500,000. That proposal would raise between $70 and $100 million in revenue annually.

Discussions are continuing in both the House and the Senate about the broad outlines of the Legislature’s FY25 Budget and revenue package, and funding options for a number of policy initiatives. At this time, legislators are showing more interest in utilizing some version of H. 828 to support their spending plan. Fund Vermont’s Future is supporting these discussions and will continue to advocate for both H. 827 and H. 828 as negotiations intensify in the coming weeks.

LEAD ORGANIZATION: Fund Vermont’s Future Campaign


ACCESS TO DOULA COVERAGE: Medicaid Coverage for Community Doula Care

In January the Senate Health and Welfare Committee took up S. 109, a bill that initiates the steps necessary to bring doula care into the state’s Medicaid system. The current version of the bill requires the state’s Office of Professional Regulation to work in consultation with stakeholders to determine the appropriate form of regulation for doulas, and the Department of Vermont Health Access to develop a Medicaid reimbursement plan. While the bill’s language has been substantially changed since it was originally introduced last year, the Vermont Doula Access Coalition strongly supports the current version of the bill, and thanks Sens. Gulick, Hardy, and Lyons for their active support of the proposal.

The full Senate will consider the bill next week, and advocates are hopeful it will pass. House consideration will follow, and champions there are expected to work hard to secure passage. If the bill does become law, Medicaid coverage of doula services will likely be considered by the Legislature in the 2025 legislative session.

LEAD ORGANIZATION: Vermont Doula Access Coalition


PERINATAL LOSS: Funding to Strengthen Peer Support for Pregnancy & Infant Loss

With active support and advocacy from Empty Arms Vermont, the House Human Services Committee has recommended to the House Appropriations Committee that their FY25 Budget include $40,000 in one-time funding to support peer counseling services for families experiencing perinatal loss.

The Appropriations Committee will be working to finalize their budget proposal over the coming weeks, and advocacy will continue in support of this proposed allocation.



EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION: Act 76 Implementation: Deliver on the Promise

After the historic passage of Act 76, the 2023 Child Care Bill, last year, state agencies and partners began working quickly to begin implementation. By fall of ‘23 DCF began sending out Readiness Payments and the first Child Care Financial Assistance Program (CCFAP) reimbursement rate increase went into effect ahead of schedule in December. The next big steps will be expansion of income eligibility for CCFAP in April, with an even bigger expansion in October. Building Bright Futures, Let’s Grow Kids, Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children, First Children’s Finance, and other partners have been working to gather information and inform implementation as Act 76 continues to roll out.

The FY25 Budget is being developed in a challenging fiscal context. While the Governor’s Recommended FY25 Budget funds most Act 76 implementation costs, it proposes to cut $9 million from base funding for CCFAP, anticipating that CCFAP take-up will be lower than was projected in Act 76. Legislators immediately expressed concern about this proposal and have indicated that they do not want to reduce funds before Act 76 has been fully implemented. To that end, the House Human Services Committee has recommended to the House Appropriations Committee that their FY25 Budget reject the $9 million cut to CCFAP. The Governor is also recommending a one-time reduction in funding to CCFAP of $10 million in the current year's budget, since CCFAP eligibility expansion won't happen until near the end of this fiscal year. Legislators are less concerned about this proposal, given that Act 76 implementation is going relatively smoothly. Finally, the Budget Adjustment Act included an addition $1 million for a last round of Readiness Payments, to be distributed in March.

LEAD ORGANIZATIONS: Let’s Grow Kids (LGK) and Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children (VTAEYC)


Alliance Legislative Agenda: Weekly Issue Spotlight – Mid-Session Legislative Agenda Update/Roundup – 3/11

This winter, the Alliance is hosting virtual Weekly Issue Spotlights leading up to ECDL. Each session focuses on one or two issues from the Alliance’s 2024 Legislative Agenda. Joined by representatives from the lead organizations, participants can ask direct questions and hear a brief legislative update regarding the issues. 

The next session will be held Monday, March 11, from 3:30 to 4:30 pm, and will provide updates on the status of the issues on the Alliance's '24 Legislative Agenda as the Legislature passes the half-way point of their annual session.

Led by Matt Levin, the Executive Director of the Alliance, this session is a great opportunity to learn more about these issues, where they stand in the Legislature, and how to get involved.


Register for ECDL 2024

Join us in person for the 30th Annual Early Childhood Day at the Legislature (ECDL) on Wednesday, April 10, 2024, in at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Montpelier (note new date).

The issues on our 2024 Legislative Agenda will play central roles at this year’s ECDL, and we are filling the Day's schedule with informative sessions that cover all of our issues and more. 

Registration will be limited this year because of venue restrictions. We encourage you to register early! To register a group larger than five, please contact Taylor Hughey, Alliance Outreach Manager, at

Visit the Alliance website for more information about the sessions and to register.


The Vermont Early Childhood Advocacy Alliance is a statewide coalition formed in 2000 of early childhood professionals, parents, organizations, businesses, and strategic partners committed to improving public policies that impact young children between birth and age eight in the areas of health, safety, food security, economic security, and early care and education.

The Alliance crafts an annual Legislative Agenda in partnership with early childhood organizations, provides year-round advocacy support, and facilitates meaningful interactions with policymakers at key times during the decision making process.


Alliance Weekly Issue Spotlight – Mid-Session Legislative Agenda Update – 3/11; 3SquaresVT Outreach and Policy Conference – 6/18; Register for ECDL

Issue Update - Parent Child Center Network

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The Vermont Early Childhood Advocacy Alliance is a program of the Vermont Community Loan Fund.

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