BIPOC home ownership, ranked-choice voting, Act 46 review bills intro’d into House

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. 

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7 replies »

  1. I love it ! This ill conceived act should be trashed, lessons learned, and a new course plotted, as the funding of the education system in the state of Vermont is at least, and possibly more responsible for keeping hard working Vermonters poor, and unable to achieve a sense of financial security than any other single liability that a citizen of Vermont has to contribute too.

  2. Cons of ranked choice voting

    1. Many cities do not have the proper equipment to count the ballots.
    Some voting machines are only programmed to count the number of votes for each candidate and cannot reallocate votes, according to TwinCities.com. This would mean purchasing new voting machines, an additional expense to communities.

    2. It’s confusing.
    A ticket where electors vote for only one candidate is pretty straightforward. Voting for the same position three times and having to transfer votes complicates the process. Spur noted that in San Francisco, 1.2 percent of ballots in 2011 had errors and could not be counted. This is more errors than normal ballots typically obtain.

    TELL US: How Do You Feel About Voting Rights for Convicted Felons?

    3. Elections for multiple positions become complex.
    While it is possible to perform ranked-choice voting elections when more than one position is up for grabs, it involves setting a threshold for candidates to obtain, complicating the process. Additionally, FairVote reported, candidates reaching the threshold would have their excess votes transferred to voters’ second choices. The website, however, does not describe how excess electors are determined, providing certain voters more of a say in an election by voting for their favorite candidate as well as their second-choice politician.

    4. Voters need to know their stuff.
    With ranked-choice voting, electors have to be able to list all the candidates in order of their preference. This requires extensive research, especially in less prominent races, something many voters do not take the time to do.

  3. Quite a smorgasbord of blatant ignorance by our legislators. H236, and it’s requirement for ranked-choice voting is the most blatant of all these trash bills. To further disenfranchise a large group of voters in Vermont seems a brilliant idea, given the current political climate in Montpelier and Washington DC. H.229 with it’s “prioritization” of union workers and interests leads me to believe that it’s sponsor- Tanya Vyhovsky has “priorities”- and Vermont may not be one of them. I’d sure be sore if my employees were idle while out-of state union workers came in because of this bill. H.232 seems nothing more than a jumble of progressive talking points thrown together to create yet another board that would have authority to insert their agenda into property ownership, development and land use.
    All in all, not much to be proud of in this batch of non-sensical proposals.

  4. all these latest proposed bills are trash, it’s almost like they have to come up with something to justify their positions, maybe we don’t need a legislature, where’s their common sense?

  5. All of this legislation does nothing to help Vermonters,and only confirms the fact that we need to get our government out of our lives for they have proven over and over they don’t serve or even concerned with our quality of our lives!!