by Guy Page
S.5, The Affordable Heating Act that is this year’s major effort to reduce carbon emissions, and S.100, the controversial housing bill, both were approved in House committees Thursday, April 13 along party lines and are scheduled to go to the full House next week.
The two bills appear on the House ‘notice calendar’ today, meaning they are scheduled for a vote on the following day. It’s possible – even probable – both bills will be sent to other committees for review, including the “money” committees that determine their taxation and budget impact.
With S100, the House General and Housing Committee rebuffed an effort by the Rural Caucus to restore a statewide 25 unit exemption from Act 250. As introduced, S100 would have eased Vermont’s housing shortage by allowing 25 units to be built in a five mile radius over five years, without needing Act 250 review and approval. The Senate cut that figure to the status quo of 10 units, except in designated development areas, which are mostly urban centers.
S5, which established a carbon credit scheme critics say will unfairly raise heating fuel prices on low-income, rural Vermonters, was voted out of House Environment and Energy by an 8-3 margin. S100 was voted out 8-4.