Gov. Scott vetoes construction contractor registry bill

February 11, 2022 GMT

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Gov. Phil Scott vetoed a bill Thursday that proposes creating a framework for registering construction contractors, saying it would hurt small businesses.

The Republican said that while he supports protecting the interests of consumers, the legislation favors larger and more established businesses by imposing contract and insurance requirements that he said many smaller businesses wouldn’t be able to meet.

“This bill has the potential to undermine and weaken a large number of Vermont’s small businesses — small, local residential contractors — at a time when we all agree we must prioritize new and revitalized housing,” he said.

Scott said multiple ways exist to find residential contractors in a community and to hold contractors accountable without creating this new regulatory system.

The bill’s main sponsor, Rep. R. Scott Campbell, a Democrat from St. Johnsbury, said he was very disappointed the governor wasn’t able to see the urgency of what he called “this light-touch regulation to protect consumers.”

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“Registration, liability insurance, written contracts — is that really too much to expect when the most valuable asset most people have is on the line? And it’s not only the immediate financial risk; it’s also the risk that unscrupulous or inexperienced builders might cause mold or structural failures in the future,” he said by email.

He said the measure is more important than ever as the state ramps up investments in housing and weatherization, inviting more contractors into the business.