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State Seeks More Feedback On Regulation Of Home Improvement Contractors

A yellow construction hat on a table next to a rolled piece of paper and a level.
There are public hearings planned to collect more feedback on a proposal to regulate home improvement and construction contractors.

The Vermont Secretary of State and the Vermont Attorney General's Office are seeking a second round of feedback from the public on their proposal to regulate home improvement and construction contractors.

Lauren Hibbert, director of the Office of Professional Regulation with the Secretary of State, said the initiative began after staff at the Attorney General's Consumer Assistance Program noticed a high frequency of complaints from property owners about services provided by a variety of contractors. 

Vermont statute requires the Secretary of State's Office of Professional Regulation conduct a cost-benefit analysis before the creation of new professional regulation. In producing that analysis — called a "preliminary sunrise assessment" — Hibbert's office held a first round of public hearings which, she said, produced a high volume of feedback.

Hibbert said her office has since recommended "what we would consider light regulation." That regulation would include a registry of contractors, required insurance and a written contract between property owners and service providers.

Now, Hibbert said, the two agencies are doing due diligence before the next legislative session.

Public hearings will take place on Nov. 27 in Burlington, on Dec. 4 in Springfield, and on Dec. 11 in Newport.

Emily Corwin reported investigative stories for VPR until August 2020. In 2019, Emily was part of a two-newsroom team which revealed that patterns of inadequate care at Vermont's eldercare facilities had led to indignities, injuries, and deaths. The consequent series, "Worse for Care," won a national Edward R. Murrow award for investigative reporting, and placed second for a 2019 IRE Award. Her work editing VPR's podcast JOLTED, about an averted school shooting, and reporting NHPR's podcast Supervision, about one man's transition home from prison, made her a finalist for a Livingston Award in 2019 and 2020. Emily was also a regular reporter and producer on Brave Little State, helping the podcast earn a National Edward R. Murrow Award for its work in 2020. When she's not working, she enjoys cross country skiing and biking.
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