Press

All the latest news, press releases, and commentary from Heidi E. Scheuermann.

https://vermontbiz.com/news/2018/may/08/scheuermann-outdoor-recreation-threatened-consumer-justice-bill?utm_source=VBM+Mailing+List&utm_campaign=f03333e5d4-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_05_08&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b5e56b36a4-f03333e5d4-286691993

Late last week, the Vermont House of Representatives passed S.105, a bill with which many have significant concerns (Page 1514 of House Journal).(link is external) Indeed, the breadth of the bill is exceptionally broad, and will have a significant impact on a number of industries and their ability to do business in Vermont. These include the technology industry, utilities, telecommunications, and many more. That said, the impact about which I am most concern is on our incredibly important, statewide, outdoor recreation industry.

As background, as passed, S.105 mandates a "rebuttable presumption" of anti-consumer intent in all instances in which there is any limitation of a claim in a contract; essentially, that the 5 items listed in the bill would be considered "substantively unconscionable" when included in a contract.

This may sound like gobbledygook to many, and has been dismissed by some in Montpelier as a change that really should be of no concern to our recreation industry.

But, it is important gobbledygook to understand, and the concerns of our recreation industry are very real.

What this change does is open up the door to a much wider array of legal claims - specifically very costly lawsuits, consumer fraud claims, and fines, in addition to the potential of costly increases in a business' liability insurance.

https://vtdigger.org/2018/05/08/minimum-wage-survives-narrow-vote-house

“Imagine the impact an increase in the cost of fuel, transportation, utilities, food and clothing, would have on the purchasing power of low-income Vermonters,” Rep. Heidi Scheuermann, R-Stowe, told the House.

“Imagine the impact these increases will have on our small retail establishments already struggling to stay competitive with online retailers,” she said.