Patrick Brennan

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House advances paid sick leave bill

MONTPELIER — A bill to provide workers with paid sick time cleared the House Wednesday after majority Democrats defeated several attempts by Republicans to delay action on the measure. After hours of debate, the chamber voted 76 to 66 in favor of providing earned sick time to most employees in Vermont. The bill would allow workers to earn a maximum of three days of paid time during the first two years of employment before increasing to five days. Those benefits would be available to workers after they put in 1,400 hours of work or after a year’s time with a company, whichever comes first. Under the legislation, workers would be able to take paid time off that they have accrued for sickness, to care for a sick person in their care or even to care for children when there is a snow day at school. Continue Reading →

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House committees compete for gas tax revenue

MONTPELIER — The House Transportation Committee is in a holding pattern as it tries to figure out how to deal with declining revenues in a gas tax based on the price of the fuel. Members discussed various ways to deal with a $6.6 million gap facing the transportation fund Wednesday, including adjusting the Transportation Infrastructure Bond Fund, or TIB, to help bring in more revenue. Committee Chairman Rep. Patrick Brennan, R-Colchester, said the fund, launched in 2009, is bringing in less revenue as prices at the pump fall. The fund is filled with a 2 percent assessment on the retail price of gasoline and a 3 cent per gallon assessment on diesel fuel. Brennan said those rates worked well when the fund was launched and gasoline was more than $3.80 per gallon. Continue Reading →

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