Legislation

Scott vetoes non-citizen voting; override vote expected

by Guy Page

On June 1, Governor Scott vetoed legislation that would give non-citizen voting rights in municipal elections in Winooski and Montpelier. The question of non-citizen voting is a statewide matter for the Legislature, not piecemeal by municipalities, he said.

Today, House Speaker Jill Krowinski vowed to override the vetoes when it returns on June 23-24. “Vermont has a long history of local control and Vermonters value the right to make decisions for their individual communities. One of Vermont’s core values is our belief in the right across our 14 counties, in all of our cities, towns and villages, for Vermonters to have a voice in making the choices that best fit their communities,” Krowinski said.

A veto override requires a 2/3 majority. Both House and Senate passed both bills by 2/3 or better.

The two vetoed bills are:

Scott outlined his reasons in veto letters to the Legislature:


“This is an important policy discussion that deserves further consideration and debate. Allowing a highly variable town-by-town approach to municipal voting creates inconsistency in election policy, as well as separate and unequal classes of residents potentially eligible to vote on local issues. I believe it is the role of the Legislature to establish clarity and consistency on this matter. This should include defining how municipalities determine which legal residents may vote on local issues, as well as specifying the local matters they may vote on. Returning these bills provides the opportunity to do this important work. 

“For these reasons I am returning this legislation without my signature pursuant to Chapter II, Section 11 of the Vermont Constitution. I understand these charter changes are well-intentioned, but I ask the Legislature to revisit the issue of non-citizen voting in a more comprehensive manner and develop a statewide policy or a uniform template and process for those municipalities wishing to grant the right of voting in local elections to all legal residents.”

June 1, Gov. Scott also signed these bills into law:      

  • S.62, An act relating to employee incentives, technical education, and unemployment insurance
  • H.88, An act relating to the use value appraisal program
  • H.135, An act relating to the State Ethics Commission
  • H.140, An act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the Town of Williston
  • H.420, An act relating to miscellaneous agricultural subjects
  • H.434, An act relating to establishing the Agricultural Innovation Board
  • H.445, An act relating to approval of an amendment to the charter of the Town of Underhill
  • H.171, An act relating to child care systems and financing 

    Governor Scott issued the following statement when signing this bill:

“Expanding Vermont’s focus on early care and learning has been a top priority for my administration since my first year in office. Signing H.171 into law represents another important step forward as we continue our work in this critical area. In partnership with the General Assembly, we’ve increased funding for childcare, expanded access for more families and created a simplified family co-payment. This bill also makes significant investments in workforce supports, including a student loan repayment program, scholarships for prospective early childhood providers and need-based scholarships for individuals already employed at regulated, privately operated center-based childcare programs or family childcare homes. We know there is still more to do, so I look forward to continuing to work with our partners to ensure every child and family has access to high quality and affordable childcare.”

  • H.225, An act relating to possession of a therapeutic dosage of buprenorphine

In signing this bill, Governor Scott signed an executive orderwhich can be viewed by clicking hereto ensure the state tracks, measures and can react to the impact of this legislation andsent the followingletter the General Assembly:

Dear Legislators:

Today, I signed H.225, An act relating to possession of a therapeutic dosage of buprenorphine, despite concerns on whether there is a need for this legislation given the availability of substance misuse treatment options through our proven hub and spoke system. I am concerned about the lack of data on decriminalizing buprenorphine and its effectiveness in reducing opiate overdoses is unproven. The impact of diverted medication and its use outside of treatment is also a concern, given the critical support the hub and spoke system provides, and with the difficulty prescribers may face in their work to ensure successful treatment.

However, we know addiction is a chronic illness and continue to see the devastating impacts on individuals, their families, and communities. Although I remain skeptical, I signed this bill because it is well-intentioned and offers another potential approach to reduce the impacts of substance use disorder. Most importantly, from my perspective, was the Legislature’s decision to include an endpoint for this law, which will sunset on July 1, 2023, providing experts the opportunity to assess the effectiveness of this initiative.

It is important to me that we do not unravel previous progress, increase abuse of diverted drugs, or jeopardize the success of the hub and spoke system. 

Attached to this letter please find Executive Order 05-21, directing the chief prevention officer to assemble a task force charged with setting performance metrics and collecting and measuring the data needed to assess the effectiveness of decriminalizing buprenorphine.

  • H.430, An act relating to eligibility for Dr. Dynasaur-like coverage for all income-eligible children and pregnant individuals regardless of immigration status

Governor Scott issued the following statement when signing this bill:

“This session, we have taken important steps to address inequities in our health care system. By providing access to critical health care services for children and pregnant women who are not eligible for Medicaid because of their immigration status, we further that work. Every child living in Vermont deserves access to care and the ability to achieve their full potential. I’m proud to sign this bill into law.”

  • H.438, An act relating to capital construction and State bonding

Governor Scott issued the following statement when signing this bill:

“This bill makes strategic, long-term investments that ensure the continued operation of government and better outcomes for Vermonters. From basic investments needed to maintain our state buildings, to clean water projects and improvements to outdoor recreation, this bill touches every Vermonter in some way.

“I’m happy that the General Assembly supported our effort to double the investment in the Building Communities grant program, which has been helping to complete recreation, human services and economic development projects in towns and communities across the state.

“Replacing the temporary Middlesex secure residential facility with a new facility in Colchester, also included in this bill, will help close gaps in our mental health system, take pressure off emergency rooms and allow us to offer a better standard of care for people in transition. A modern courthouse in Newport will result in safer and more efficient spaces and help improve access to our justice system. And commencing with the replacement of the Women’s Correctional Facility is an important step toward bringing our correctional system into the 21st century.

“This bill also helps strengthen our outdoor recreation sector, including building more of the popular and more accessible rustic cabins in our state parks, along with major investments to improve trailheads, boat launches and other facilities, will provide better options for visitors and Vermonters to access the outdoors—something we’ve all come to appreciate more in the past year.

“These are just some examples of what this bill accomplished, and I want to thank the institutions committees for their important work.”

To view a complete list of action on bills passed during the 2021 legislative session, click here.

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Categories: Legislation

5 replies »

  1. It’s obvious by now that there is a major abuse of power being foisted on the American people by the democrats. They are trying everything including last minute changes to our election laws in order to maintain and keep permanent power over anything other than democrat. The latest ploy now is to give voting rights to people who are not citizens of the United States. It is obvious that they are luring these non citizens with free health care, free education, and money not entitled to except by actual legal citizens. The plan is to have these folks so grateful that they will not ever vote for anyone who is not a democrat. What they are starting to realize is that voters are starting to see that the dems do not care about anything but getting and holding onto power at any cost. This includes selling out the American voters in order to create a whole new class of voters even if none of them are legal citizens. If more people do not wake up and start fighting against this I believe we will end up a one party system with no hope of the republic and freedoms that this country was founded on.

  2. QUALIFICATIONS OF FREEMEN AND FREEWOMEN
    § 42. [VOTER’S QUALIFICATIONS AND OATH]
    Every person of the full age of eighteen years who is a citizen of the United States, having resided in this State for the period established by the General Assembly and who is of a quiet and peaceable behavior, and will take the following oath or affirmation, shall be entitled to all the privileges of a voter of this state:

    You solemnly swear (or affirm) that whenever you give your vote or suffrage, touching any matter that concerns the State of Vermont, you will do it so as in your conscience you shall judge will most conduce to the best good of the same, as established by the Constitution, without fear or favor of any person.

    Every person who will attain the full age of eighteen years by the date of the general election who is a citizen of the United States, having resided in this State for the period established by the General Assembly and who is of a quiet and peaceable behavior, and will take the oath or affirmation set forth in this section, shall be entitled to vote in the primary election.

    It sounds like a person has to be a citizen.

  3. Re: Today, House Speaker Jill Krowinski vowed to override the vetoes when it returns on June 23-24. “Vermont has a long history of local control and Vermonters value the right to make decisions for their individual communities.

    There’s no other way to characterize Ms. Krowinski logic: she’s lying.

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