Legislation

Despite pressure, Democrat won’t change vote supporting Clean Heat Standard veto

By Guy Page

A Democrat who voted yesterday to uphold Gov. Phil Scott’s veto of H715, the Clean Heat Standard, is resisting efforts by Democratic House leadership to get him to reverse his vote and override the veto.

Rep. Thomas Bock

But Rep. Tom Bock, representing Chester and Springfield, told Vermont Daily Chronicle moments ago, “I’m not changing my vote.” He’s voting according to his constituents wishes, he said. Bock said he supports carbon emissions reduction but not the process outlined by H715 – a large, somewhat vague plan to replace traditional home heating fuel with electric heat pumps and weatherization.

The House yesterday voted 99-51 on the override question. 100 votes are needed to override, so the question failed. Bock was a “no,” much to the surprise of House leadership. Almost immediately, Rep. Bock reportedly experienced serious pressure from the House Democratic leadership to change his vote – something allowed under little-known House rules. A member may ask that his/her vote be reconsidered during the following day’s session. 

This morning a “spirited” conversation with House Speaker Jill Krowinski (D-Burlington) left him unpersuaded, Bock said.

According to veteran House members, Bock could have stood during the “announcements” section of this morning’s session and informed his fellow lawmakers he intended to change his vote. After several pedestrian announcements, Speaker Krowinski asked several times – “are there any more announcements,” each time followed by a long pause and a searching gaze around the chamber.

Bock did not stand. There were no more announcements. Krowinski then moved on to the next order of business. The session adjourned at 11:39 pm and is scheduled to return this afternoon.

Yesterday afternoon, Bock – who will not be seeking re-election and plans to move from Chester to Malletts Bay in Colchester – was sitting at a picnic table outside, talking about his support for the veto with the media, while many appreciative Republicans stood by. 

Bock explained then that he had been thinking a lot about problems with the Clean Heat Standard in recent days, and only the night before had decided to support the veto. “I cannot imagine why I would change my vote,” Bock told the Vermont Daily Chronicle

Bock has been an independent member of the Democratic caucus. For example, he spoke out forcefully against the legalization and licensed, retail sale of marijuana.

The Clean Heat Standard may be revisited during the next session of the Legislature. Gov. Phil Scott said that provided the Legislature requires an up or down vote on the Public Utilities Commission plan due out by July, 2024, he would sign a revised Clean Heat Standard.

11 replies »

  1. Just sent this to Rep. Bock. I guess some people remember what the Democratic Party used to stand for.

    Hi Tom:

    Thank you for this:

    https://vtdigger.org/2022/05/10/final-reading-not-nuthin/

    “On the clean heat standard, Rep. Thomas Bock of Chester was one of three Democrats to vote against overriding Scott’s veto. He didn’t know he’d be the swing vote, he said.”

    My self-imposed fine (taking a 50–75% cut in income to move to Vermont and live simply) is penalty enough, methinks. I don’t want to know what I would have been fined for not having a “heat pump” (whatever that is).

    Best wishes,

    Ellin Anderson

  2. Rep. Bock is a real hero…….He stood up for his constituents and not the special interests that have driven climate change legislation for their own benefit…….There is nothing better in a Democracy.

  3. I too emailed Rep. Bock with my heartfelt congratulations to him for standing firm for common sense.

  4. I applaud Rep. Thomas Bock for remaining steadfast in his belief and the vote to make a good difference; “voting according to his constituents wishes”. Many thanks to him.

    Guy, thank you for the Vermont Daily Chronicle and getting the word out of Montpelier.

  5. A REAL democrat. Your grandparent’s type of democrat. Add that to a principled man who is an independent thinker……and you have a true representative for the people.

    THANK YOU for your courage, genuineness, and your work there amongst so many goons.

  6. thank you (for now) …. those people, krowinski et al, do not know what it is like to be a business owner or a landlord with struggling tenants. H715 may have been stalled but they wont stop unless we stop them. legislature should meet every 4 years and only for a day. Think of all the money Vermont would save if we didnt have to pay to keep these representative people warm at the state house.

  7. That’s the problem with progressive Dems today it all or nothing. They have to vote the way leadership wants or there are problems. Not for him he’s retiring but if he was returning he would have a challenge or would be given crap for assignment. Middle road Dems are dieing off in Vermont.

  8. Thank God there’s a Dem with a mind of his own. H715 is hardly ‘clean’ as it emanates from dirty deals out of Washington.

  9. I applaud Rep. Bock. That is the way business should be conducted under the Golen Dome-like it used to be. Folks, like myself, have stopped even attempting to communicate with our totally biased Reps. Sad commentary.

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