Racial equity board seeks public opinion today on traffic-stop bill

Bill, as introduced, banned traffic stops for minor offenses

by Guy Page

The Vermont Racial Equity Advisory Panel will hold a zoom hearing 6-8 PM today seeking Vermonters’ feedback on the purported use of minor traffic violations by police to target minorities.

The hearings were required by Act 106, passed in 2022. Introduced as H.635 by several Democrat-Progressive lawmakers, it would have prohibited police from ‘secondary enforcement’: using so-called minor violations to initiate a traffic stop, then making arrests on more serious charges.

In the initial version of H.635, these minor violations included: failure to display registration or unobscured license plate numbers; failure to display license plate on a trailer; obstructing windshield or windows; using tobacco in a motor vehicle with a child present; possession or consumption of cannabis or alcohol by driver or passenger; not wearing seatbelts; and, inoperative headlights, taillights, or directional lights. However, the bill was amended into a more generic “study bill” to explore repeal or limiting of secondary enforcement.

Act 106 “requires the Executive Director of Racial Equity, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, and the Commissioner of Public Safety to jointly examine all motor vehicle violations for the purpose of making recommendations on whether or not statutes should be repealed, modified, or limited to secondary enforcement.”

H.635 would not ban minor traffic violations, but such violations could not be used as the primary justification for a traffic stop. This bill thus would serve to reduce the number of stops for minor traffic violations, alternatively called non-safety related or pretextual stops, H.635 advocate Stephanie Seguino testified March 9 to the Legislature.

“In stops that are pretextual in nature, the officer’s primary interest is not the traffic violation. Rather, the intent is to use the pretext of a minor traffic violation as justification for a stop where the officer suspects but does not have evidence of a more serious crime. A major concern with pretextual stops relates to the fact that officers have discretion on whom they choose to stop. That discretion can be unevenly exercised, based on the driver’s race. Officer discretion combines with a long history of negative racial stereotypes in which African American and Latinx people are portrayed as more criminal and dangerous than white Americans,” Seguino said.

As part of this process, the working group wants to learn about Vermonters’ experiences with traffic enforcement. “Specifically, we hope to learn about how traffic laws affect your communities. We also hope to learn whether there are specific changes or updates that would improve your experience as a motorist, passenger, pedestrian, resident, or visitor in Vermont,” a panel statement said. The feedback will help the Executive Director and the Commissioners make recommendations to the Vermont Legislature on how to update the traffic code to meet the spirit of Act 106 of 2022.

We will hold five sessions (in-person and via Zoom) around the state: northwest region, northeast region, central region, southwest region, southeast region. The first event will be on October 4 in Chittenden County from 6-8 PM. Event registration and details can be found by visiting: If you have specific questions or concerns, please direct inquiries to:

Categories: Crime

23 replies »

  1. What is it I don’t understand ? So it would be unlawful for a law enforcement officer to pull over a car that is not in compliance with “failure to display registration or unobscured license plate numbers; failure to display license plate on a trailer; obstructing windshield or windows; using tobacco in a motor vehicle with a child present; possession or consumption of cannabis or alcohol by driver or passenger; not wearing seatbelts; and, inoperative headlights, taillights, or directional lights”, or would it only be illegal for them to pull over a vehicle which is not in compliance with these regulations only if it is a BIPOC person driving ?

  2. OK lets just say if a BIPOC IS DRIVING the police have to “not see any thing ? come on be realistic ….

  3. Makes absolutely no sense. If there’s no consequence for not having a registration, working headlights or taillights, then what is the purpose of having state inspections or registering your vehicles?

    • This is but another small step to anarchy. Which may be ms. stephanie seguino’s ultimate goal. You may remember her, she was the uvm professor involved with a ‘study’ and ‘report’ documenting the racist results of a smattering of traffic stops, cherry-picked to prove a point. In fact ms. seguino has made a minor name for herself in the radical feminist world as well as seeking out inequities and disparities she perceives and writing tomes about such, with the usual leftist tilt.
      Fantasy ‘equity’ bills such as H.635 only result in discrimination and unequal treatment of Vermont’s citizens- but it makes such people as seguino and a bunch of leftist elitists feel better about themselves.

    • It makes perfect sense if the real purpose is to advance a fascist agenda. To divide people and create civil war.

    • The state of Florida does not require inspections on vehicles and they have 15.7 million registered drivers in the state and God knows how many tourists

      They force inspection in the state of Vermont because they make a lot of money off the backs of the people forced to get an inspection.

      They use fees to finance their liberal programs

      • Florida has it right. Vermont inspections are a huge waste of time and money. I don’t know why we are the letting California control us as their eastern most county. Far past time for change in Montpelier.

      • No inspections in Georgia either- and you see very few clunkers on the road compared to Vt with it’s inspection program

  4. I believe the initial data that served as the impetus for all this was back in 2018- when they based the entire state of “Balanced Policing in Vermont” on less than THIRTY total traffic stops for the year. 
    I never would have earned a degree in behavioral sciences from UVM if I ever believed a “sample size” of 30 was sufficient enough data to prove ANYTHING one way or another. 

  5. This is the most ridiculous, unfair, unrealistic, most racist ruling I’ve ever heard of!  I have to be law abiding but people of color do not?? If people don’t wake up and vote these idiots out we’re doomed to be run by stupidity and you have no one to blame but yourselves!!  They are bringing racism into this state to cause fear and anger.  These people are dividing our nation for their own greed and power. 

    • Dr. Thomas Sowell, PhD., a Black man who attended Harvard, agrees with you.

  6. Too funny, the logic of this entire idea, including Seguinos input, is to recognize that Bipoc people are more likely to commit these infractions, and we need to stop holding them accountable for such. 

  7. SO… of the five cars in my BIPOC neighbor’s yard, three are unregistered and uninspected. They drive them every day, on our roads. Not above the law because of who or what you are… I’m sure they have no insurance either, what happens when they cause an accident? We all have to do the right thing. I pay for my insurance, inspections, and registrations when required. If I have to do it, everyone does. Not a race thing at all.
    Stop handcuffing our Police with stupid stuff.
    Thank You.

  8. Let’s just eliminate all the laws and let the loons see how long that works.

  9. Montpelier, making it easier to run drugs and commit crimes.

    Vermonters, here’s your sign, Montpelier doesn’t care about you.

  10. Build a deck too close to a property line, or ask to build small modest homes, expand any hunting season, then you see the full force and fury of Vermont Government.

    That’s why Vermont has so many homeless and so much drug dealing.

    We allow drug dealers and don’t allow modest homes.
    Vermonters here is your sign, We need to change Monpelier.

  11. What? Really? There is nothing minor about at least half of those infractions. When there is a potential to cause death or serious injury, it’s not minor.

  12. I’m an 80+ years old who will not leave my state to these elitist do-gooders who create situations that do not merit consideration.  These are the same sick opportunists who support killing babies in and out of the womb.  We put our good law enforcement officer in a difficult position.  In most cases if they stop an hispanic or person of color for a traffic infraction they are for the most part out of staters and now they have to apologize for stopping them and let them go This is not a racist state and never was.  Two of my best friends in the Air Force were people of color.  We worked together ate together, drank together and they watched television in my and my Irish roommate’s room.  Willie always enjoyed reading the Rutland Herald that came in the mail everyday as he came from a large city.  We never knew we were different.  After all we both flowed RED BLOOD.   I’m sure there were many other GI’s that had the same experience I had. Most Vermonters feel the same way.  A further note, I’m a college graduate that worked in various states with people from all walks of life before returning to my home state to retire.

  13. I agree with Jim Gallagher – speaking wisdom and Truth! The DEI Department and the DEI Board (duplicated efforts?) are no different than the ethnic cleansers in 1934 Germany. Simply swap out jewish for white, heterosexual Christians. They are the reorganized Weather Underground and they are the scourge upon a once civil society. The longer these overt extremist racists are given a platform, a salary, a welcome mat, and fake authority, they will destroy any and all people within our society. They are not interested, at all, in elevating people of color. They are Hellbent on creating race wars, class wars, and destitution for all. They are paid and mandated to destroy civil society and corrupt every institution. Nothing new under the sun – these types of groups have been around for centuries – all, by God’s hand, met their demise justly. Declare and decree this day these modern day zeolots are called down to the ground, shattered and scattered into the wind.

    • It is the 80/20 rule. 20% of the people commit 80% of the crime. Broken windows theory also applies the people breaking the little laws are also breaking other bigger ones.

  14. The Vermont Racial Equity Panel are clearly racist against the white population to even consider such a biased bill. This will have the same end result of hate that our D.E.I. Committees promote, which is to divide and conquer people to achieve their end result of Marxism. If you were to ask most any of these alleged saviors of minorities about our history’s most successful and respected black human rights advocate, “Martin Luther King’s statement of his hope that one day a person will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”, will not get a positive response by these saviors. You see he knew by simply judging someone by the color of their skin will only continue to oppress the black community. The black community has always been made promises of improving their lives by the left around election cycles for the solicitation of their votes. Unfortunately, those promises quickly fade after the election. Recent years have shown a trend of the right gaining more of the black vote. In reaction to this trend, these kinds of ludicrous bills are introduced to appease and to attempt to win back their votes.