by Guy Page
Governor Phil Scott has signed into law the School Mascot and universal school meals bills and other legislation.
S139, nondiscriminatory school branding, AKA the school mascot bill, was introduced because senators thought too many school mascot names were racist, nativist or in some way discriminatory. The law gives local school districts an opportunity to fix the perceived problem themselves, and gives the state Board of Education the power to discipline them if they don’t.
S100, universal school meals, allocates $29 million from the Education Fund to provide free school meals to all students, regardless of income level. Previously about 38% of students in low-middle incomes had been eligible for free meals. Framers of the bill said universal meals would remove any stigma attached to free meals, promote overall student performance, and benefit the Vermont local food economy. It was introduced by the Senate Committee on Agriculture. Critics say it unfairly spends state tax money – some of it collected from lower-income property owners – on children of wealthy Vermonters.
Bills signed May 31 include:
H.729, miscellaneous judiciary procedures
H.742, approval of amendments to the charter of the Town of Milton
S.53, changes to Vermont corporate income tax and conformity to federal tax laws
S.90, establishing an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis registry
S.91, Parent Child Center Network
S.100, universal school meals
S.139, nondiscriminatory school branding
S.140, prohibiting civil arrests at courthouses
S.148, environmental justice in Vermont
S.161, extending the baseload renewable power portfolio requirement
S.173, State House art collections
S.181, authorizing miscellaneous regulatory authority for municipal governments
S.188, regulating licensed small cannabis cultivation as farming
View complete list of action on bills passed during the 2022 legislative session.