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New GMAR Representative For The Vermont Association of Realtors Government Affairs Committee - Krista Harness


Today I was officially appointed by my local Realtor board to represent Green Mountain Association of Realtors (GMAR) on the Vermont Association of Realtors’ (VAR) Government Affairs Committee (GAC). The GAC is led by Peter Tucker, VAR’s Director of Advocacy and Public Policy. What does that mean? Peter is the main lobbyist for all Realtors in our state. His job is to stay abreast of any and all bills that get introduced and considered in the state legislature that could have an impact on the real estate industry and the priorities of VAR’s membership. The GAC meets every other Monday morning to discuss proposed legislation and to decide what initiatives we should support and which ones we should work to eliminate. Peter is often asked to testify before house and senate committees, so the feedback he receives from those of us on the committee can be very impactful. 


This legislative session in particular is going to be jam packed with issues related to real estate and the housing market in Vermont, and there are going to be a lot of tough decisions to be made under our Golden Dome. The Governor’s State of the State Address (1/4/2024) made it clear that there is going to be a heated debate about housing development, property taxes, flood recovery, renewable energy, and the budget. These are real issues that impact all Vermonters and particularly property owners. As Realtors, we are in a unique position to guide and protect our clients when they get under contract and navigate transactions. It is also important that we are aware of big public policy debates that are going on in the state legislature so that we can better advise buyers and sellers as to changes that could be coming down the pike that could impact their investments. 


This legislative session has just barely kicked off, so it's still a great time to start following along! I will be posting to my Instagram stories regularly with updates about what I’m doing and how things are going with the GAC. And I will be providing a monthly update via this new blog. I hope you will tune in to stay up to speed as to what hot topics are being debated and you can give me your feedback, too! I’d love to hear what issues are impacting your life and what initiatives you think VAR should be advocating for and against. 


In the coming weeks, our committee is going to be doing a deep dive into one of the most impactful development laws in the nation and one that dictates how, when and where new construction can happen in Vermont. There are currently 4 bills on my desk for review that have been introduced to the legislature so far this session regarding Act 250 reform. They promote a number of different initiatives and amendments to the pivotal land use law, including changes to developable areas, how development plans are reviewed and approved, how to integrate other state goals around climate change, renewable energy and flood resilience, water quality and wastewater infrastructure, equitable engagement of stakeholders, and much more. STAY TUNED! 


Another great way to stay informed is to follow Vermont Public Radio’s “Capitol Recap” series where the politics team provides a succinct breakdown of some of the biggest issues at the Statehouse. Much of their reporting includes an audio version of the story making it easy to tune in for a few minutes and get all caught up.


Save the Date: VAR Legislative Day 2024

Mark your calendar! VAR will host a Legislative Reception at the Vermont Statehouse on March 28 from 4-6pm. This is a great opportunity for Vermonters to meet with our state's lawmakers to discuss issues important to homeownership and to our industry. Details coming soon. Let me know if you plan to attend and we can meet up!




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