Senate unlikely to revamp Act 250 before adjournment

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(Host) According to Senate Majority Leader John Campbell, it’s very unlikely that the Senate in the final days of this year’s session will agree to a House plan to consolidate the appeals process of Act 250. The House included this provision in its Act 250 reform bill while the Senate addressed local permitting issues in its legislation.

Speaking Tuesday night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Campbell said the consolidation issue needs to be postponed until next year because it needs a lot more study. But he hopes the Legislature will support a bill this year that includes all of the points that the House and Senate can agree on:

(Campbell) “If we’re going to do it right, if we’re going to be responsible in the legislation we draft, there’s no way that can be done in one year for Act 250 because there’s a lot of issues at hand here. So what we have done in conference committee, though there are certain issues that we know that we probably will be able to work though, so that’s what we’ve been discussing recently.”

(Host) But House Majority Leader Connie Houston argues that the issue of permit reform must be considered in a comprehensive manner and not in the piecemeal approach proposed by senator Campbell:

(Houston) “I think it’s really important when people read on brochures – I’ve got a copy of almost everybody’s brochure, by the way – and I look at permit reform. It would be very hard for me to go to my neighbor and say, ‘Oh gosh, I didn’t mean Act 250. I meant the local.’ Don’t give me that. When people talk permit reform they’re talking act 250.”

(Host) Representative Houston says it’s not clear if her caucus will support a limited permit reform bill this year. Houston says that decision won’t be made until the Legislature is closer to adjournment.

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