By Guy Page
Legislation that would tweak state law about elections (non-citizen and ranked choice voting), climate change, home ownership, school mergers, and child welfare are among the bills introduced into the Vermont House this week.
H 236 would require the use of ranked choice voting in all primary elections except for that of President and in general elections for the offices of U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative. Sponsors: Representatives Sibilia of Dover, Kornheiser of Brattleboro, McCormack of Burlington, Nicoll of Ludlow, Pajala of Londonderry, Seymour of Sutton, and Vyhovsky of Essex.
H235 would require court action prior to assignment of motor vehicle title to a towing and storage operator; and require the Department of Motor Vehicles to maintain and keep current on its website a list of vehicles for which an application for a certificate of abandoned motor vehicle has been filed. Sponsor: Rachelson of Burlington.
H232 proposes to promote land and home ownership and economic opportunity for BIPOC Vermonters who have historically suffered discrimination or unequal access to benefits and services, and to prepare for climate change. It notes that “Vermont has one of the highest homeownership gaps between Black and White residents in the country, with 72 percent of White households and just 21 percent of Black households owning their homes.” It would add the mission of BIPOC housing and climate change mitigation to the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.
Sponsors: Reps. Sims of Craftsbury, Bluemle of Burlington, Dolan of Waitsfield, Anthony of Barre City, Austin of Colchester, Brady of Williston, Briglin of Thetford, Brown of Richmond, Brumsted of Shelburne, Burrows of West Windsor, Christie of Hartford, Cina of Burlington, Colston of Winooski, Copeland Hanzas of Bradford, Grad of Moretown, James of Manchester, Lefebvre of Newark, McCullough of Williston, Mrowicki of Putney, Mulvaney-Stanak of Burlington, Ode of Burlington, Rachelson of Burlington, Sheldon of Middlebury, Small of Winooski, Stebbins of Burlington, Stevens of Waterbury, Surprenant of Barnard, Vyhovsky of Essex, and Yantachka of Charlotte
H229 would perform green housing retrofits and installing rooftop solar panels, support an equitable transition to a zero-carbon building sector, create high-quality union jobs and prioritize the unionized workforce for conducting retrofits and workforce development, creating a progressive funding structure and prioritizing households with annual incomes of less than $50,000.00, ensuring that energy is affordable for lower-income Vermont residents.
Sponsors: Reps. Vyhovsky of Essex, Anthony of Barre City, Bluemle of Burlington, Bos-Lun of Westminster, Burrows of West Windsor, Christie of Hartford, Cina of Burlington, Colburn of Burlington, Cordes of Lincoln, Grad of Moretown, Hooper of Burlington, Howard of Rutland City, Kornheiser of Brattleboro, Masland of Thetford, McCullough of Williston, Mrowicki of Putney, Nicoll of Ludlow, Rachelson of Burlington, Small of Winooski, Stebbins of Burlington,
Surprenant of Barnard, Troiano of Stannard, White of Bethel, and Yantachka of Charlotte.
H227 would amend the Winooski city charter to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections. Sponsors: Colston and Small, both of Winooski.
H223 proposes to add cruelty to a child to the list of offenses for which there is an exemption from the hearsay rule when the victim is a child 12 years of age or under or a person with a mental illness or an intellectual or developmental disability.
Sponsors: Representatives Norris of Sheldon, Anthony of Barre City, Batchelor of Derby, Dickinson of St. Albans Town, Gregoire of Fairfield, Leffler of Enosburgh, Masland of Thetford, Savage of Swanton, and Till of Jericho.
H222 would establish a study committee to examine the issue of whether, in cases involving adoptions that were finalized prior to July 1, 1986, an adoptee should have a right to request and receive identifying information about adoptee’s birth parents regardless of whether the parents consented to the disclosure of such information. Sponsor: Rep. Webb of Shelburne.
H218 would authorize farm stands and community-supported agriculture organizations (CSAs) to sell unpasteurized raw milk produced on a farm other than the farm or farms where the farm stand or CSA organization is located provided that the farm producing the unpasteurized milk is located within 30 miles of the point of sale at the farm stand or CSA organization.
Sponsors: Reps. Surprenant of Barnard, Burke of Brattleboro, Burrows of West Windsor, Cina of Burlington, Colburn of Burlington, Donnally of Hyde Park, Hooper of Randolph, Kornheiser of Brattleboro, Mulvaney-Stanak of Burlington,Pearl of Danville, Small of Winooski, and Vyhovsky of Essex.
H217 would require the Agency of Education to evaluate the successes and failures of Act 46. Sponsors: Reps. Scheuermann of Stowe, Higley of Lowell, Mrowicki of Putney, Page of Newport City, Patt of Worcester, Savage of Swanton, and Strong of Albany.
No-one knows which of these bills will proceed past the “baby turtle on the beach” stage and be heard by committees, then voted on by full bodies of the House and Senate. However each bill provides clues:
Clue #1: Number of sponsors. Generally speaking, the more the better.
Clue #2: Party of sponsors: If it’s all Republicans or all Progressives, it’s chances are minimal. However, if there are several majority-party Democrats to leaven the dough, it’s much more likely to rise.
Clue #3: Chair/Vice-chair sponsors. If a sponsor is a chair or vice-chair of the committee to which it is sent, its chances of at least getting a hearing in committee rise considerably.