Gassett: Town Meeting bill oppresses freedoms of Vermont citizens

by Nancy Gassett

One can only guess what is going on in Montpelier to explain why the Vermont Legislature recently passed Bill H.42, suspending the Vermont Open Meeting Law until July 1, 2024. Bill H.42 was passed and signed into Vermont Law by Governor Scott on  January 25, 2023. There is no explanation in the Language of Bill H.42 for the purpose or  need for the sudden suspension of Vermont Open Meeting Law or the changes made to  Annual Vermont Town Meeting procedures. 

This unexpected new law was passed just in time to greatly affect Vermont’s tradition and  practice of annual open town meetings throughout the state. The directives in this newly  passed Bill H.42 will oppress the Freedoms of Vermont Citizen Involvement in their local  governments. The voting decisions made annually at Vermont Town Meetings on the  spending of citizen tax dollars and the decisions on other local matters, directly affect the  everyday lives of Vermonters. Many Vermont Citizens look forward to participating in their  local town meetings.  

Not only did this bill suspend Vermont Open Meeting Law, but it went further to mandate  certain requirements and it omits others. Here are some specifics in the language of the bill: 

∙ Bill H.42 allows public meetings including pre-town informational meetings, to be  entirely electronic. 

∙ Bill H.42 dismisses the previous requirement to have a “designated physical location” when holding a public electronic meeting. The previous physical location requirement  served those without access to electronic meetings and/or those choosing to attend in-person. 

∙ Bill H.42 says that meetings of legislative bodies in municipalities and also school  boards shall record their meetings, “unless unusual circumstances make it impossible  to do so.” This language seems to say that recordings of public meetings recorded in  the past are now optional. 

∙ Bill H.42 changes the requirements regarding the postings of public meeting notices  and agendas that inform the public. 

∙ Bill H.42 allows for the use of Australian Ballot Voting (paper ballots) for what would  otherwise be an open floor gathering of the citizenry, taxpayers and/or representatives  to allow for in-person questioning, debating, making changes where allowed and open  floor voting. 

∙ Bill H.42 suspends the use of the specified language previously used for the school  budget ballot. 

Bill H.42 extends the suspension of Vermont Open Meeting Law until  July 1, 2024.

Over the past two plus years we have experienced the repeated usurpation of our Vermont  State and United States Constitutions in many ways. Our Vermont State Politicians have  repeatedly joined together in agreement to violate their Oaths allowing for laws and actions  that betray us as the people they are supposed to serve and protect. 

It is disconcerting to see how the Vermont Legislature and the Vermont Governor are now  betraying us once again, as they casually dismiss Vermont Law and Vermont Citizen  Involvement in their own local governments. 

Is this the action of elected public servants who took an Oath with serious intent and are  supposed to act in the best interest of the citizenry; upholding our constitution and laws; protecting our Freedoms, Rights and Privileges; OR is this one more action of out of control,  power-hungry politicians who see themselves as rulers above the Citizenry and the Law?  

In our Constitutional Republic, it is our duty as both United States and Vermont Citizens to  hold our elected officials accountable. (Vermont Constitution, Article 6) Please contact your Representatives, Senators and Governor and hold them accountable for this unreasonable and  unnecessary oppression of Vermont’s Citizenry.

Categories: Commentary

9 replies »

  1. I live in a town where every Select Board mtg. is proceeded by up to an hour of “executive session”. Supposedly these executive sessions are held so “personnel” issues can be discussed in private. Aya !

  2. Liberty in Vermont is dead and barely anyone notices because they no longer understand what it is that they have lost.

  3. Do Not Comply. This is Not a Represented Government. This is against the Constitution. People need to say Enough is Enough, and have peaceful, civil disobedience. Freedom is from God not man.

  4. From The Epoch Times (, 2/2/2023, “Who Voted Against Anti-Socialism Resolution”. There were 109 Democrats who Voted “NO” to condemning Socialism in America. Becca Balint was one of them.

  5. The problem is condemning “socialism”, due to the obsessive ignorance of so many people including so many who Comment here. Marxism is a problem. It almost always removes power from the masses whom it claims to support, and places that power into the hands of the few.

  6. The sponsor of Bill H. 42 is the House Committee on Government Operations and Military Affairs. No single legislator sponsored it.

    What’s up with that?

    I smell another gubernatorial State of Emergency proclamation around the corner. I just wonder what the emergency will be this time.

  7. In the NH town I live in, this type of bill is defeated again and again. By leftist liberals. The bill, SB2, would allow voting on every issue. TM would still occur but important decisions would be by ballot available all day, not at the meeting. So here the town is controlled by Democrats. We have 4,000 registered voters. One year, after we all went home from TM around midnight, 30 liberal schoolies stayed and passed a completely different budget. Right now the left controls here. If the right ever becomes controlling, then the lefties will now want SB2 passed.

    • I have always been an advocate for Australian Ballot. But keep in mind that the pendulum swings both ways. If ‘municipal officers’ can unilaterally make the call, they can eliminate Australian Ballot too.

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