Legislation

Find how YOUR legislator voted on race, guns, climate, etc.

An online search tool published by Vermont’s leading free market think tank allows Vermonters to search how their own legislators voted on crucial roll call votes including gun control, Act 250, the racial Truth and Reconciliation Commission, pension reform, and the Clean Heat Standard.

On Monday, the Ethan Allen Institute released the final 2022 legislative “Roll Call Profiles.” The profiles include legislators’ votes cast this legislative session and can be viewed here: www.ethanallen.org/rc_profiles.

The profiles demonstrate how Vermont lawmakers voted on bills to adopt the Clean Heat Standard, reform the underfunded pension system, enact new gun restrictions, reorganize the Act 250 permitting process, create a racial Truth and Reconciliation Commission, make town withdrawal from school districts more difficult, along with nearly two dozen other important votes. Each profile contains a brief overview of the issue at stake and links to more in-depth information such as original records, supporting documents, recorded floor debates, and analysis. Importantly, the profiles show each legislator’s voting history from 2013 to the present.

EAI president Meg Hansen said, “We, at the Ethan Allen Institute, are proud to continue providing unique and valuable research that helps Vermonters to hold legislators accountable for their actions. Visit our website at www.ethanallen.org to learn more and support our efforts to solve the most pressing concerns of working Vermonters and families.”

Categories: Legislation

6 replies »

    • Thank you but thank the Ethan Allen Institute most of all – they’ve worked hard to put that information together. Facts matter!

  1. Comment:
    The Ethan Allen Institute’s tool for review of legislator’s votes is a valuable one, but I want to note one glaring problem. (I am sending a copy of this note of serious concern to them.) The summary of issues that precede the listing of the individual vote for each issue listed states that, “Those voting [yes/no] believe,” and then provides a statement alleging to represent what those members who cast that vote “believed.” The Ethan Allen Institute cannot read my mind. It cannot have any idea what I believed as a basis for any particular vote, unless I provided a direct vote explanation or statement. It can certainly present its opinion: “The EAI interprets a [yes/no] vote as indicating that…” It can even report that some members appear to have based their votes on, for example, key areas in floor debate. It can state that “in our opinion, a [yes/no] vote indicates that a member believes…” But it unequivocally cannot and should not claim to be able to state what I believed as the intent of a bill or what my rationale was for my vote. This is more than theoretical. Some of the vote descriptions were completely incorrect in what it listed as the reason for my vote. I will give but one example of a vote summary listed on the web site:
    Override Clean Heat Carbon Tax Veto (H.715). Failed 99-51 (100 to override) on May 10, 2022. The Clean Heat Standard (CHS) is a complicated, de facto carbon tax intended to hide the price increases on fossil fuels. If heating fuel sellers do not generate enough “clean heat credits” themselves through weatherization and green appliance installations, they must purchase credits generated by others to stay in business. Those voting YES believe the CHS will help Vermont achieve its GWSA 2025 & 2030 greenhouse gas reduction mandates. House members voting YES trust the PUC to implement the Clean Heat Standard without needing further legislative approval. Those voting NO believe the CHS would lead to extreme hardship for the 200,000+ fossil fuel heating Vermont households and numerous small businesses supplying and relying on fossil fuels. The technology to replace fossil fuel heating systems is not currently scalable to satisfy the GWSA, due to labor and supply restraints. DONAHUE – YES
    This states that as a member voting “yes,” I trust the PUC to implement the clean heat standard. To the contrary, the bill had been amended in the Senate to require legislative assent prior to the PUC on proposed implementation. Certainly many legislators may have believed that was an inadequate level of further legislative approval, and therefore, voted “no.” Others may have believed the state should not even be developing a potential plan that could be adopted by a future legislature. However, I had voted against the Clean Heat bill in the House, when there was no mechanism for future legislative approval and explicitly stated that I voted against it because I did not think the legislature should delegate implementation to the PUC. I responded to the Senate imposition of legislative review by voting to support the bill. I clearly did not vote “yes” to allow the PUC to implement the standard “without needing further legislative approval.
    The Ethan Allen Institute is free to portray the final bill in any way it chooses, including in asserting that the Clean Heat standard required no further legislative approval. What it is not free to do is proclaim knowledge of why I voted for the bill, or what I believed in doing so.
    The Institute should rephase its summary to state it is providing its opinion on the rationale for a vote, rather than purporting to know what a legislator’s rationale was.
    Rep. Anne B. Donahue
    R-Northfield

    • Hi Anne,

      Thanks for your note. EAI’s characterization of the reasons for “yes” or “no” votes represents what we believe to have been the dominant view of those voting yes or no. Some individual members may have voted yes or no on the basis of other factors. If readers are in doubt about a legislator’s reported rationale for a vote, please contact him/ her directly.

      Best,
      Meg
      President, Ethan Allen Institute
      meg@ethanallen.org

      • Thanks for the email address, also sent my thanks directly!

  2. Would be interested to see another piece of data, if available. Where does each legislator get their personal income…i.e. employment, or otherwise. This would allow us to look at one dimension of any conflict / potential conflict of interest ( e.g. a legislator in my area is a big champion of solar, and just so happens to work making a good income from the state’s largest solar company). In the case of income that is non-employment, is there some way to obtain information as to investments, et. al.?

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