Vermont Conservation Voters

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Legislative Scorecard

Welcome to the 2018 Environmental Scorecard!

Click on “Senate Scorecard” and “House Scorecard” above to see the environmental voting records for each legislator from the 2017-2018 biennium. Click on a legislator’s name to view more details on their voting record, and to find their contact information. You can also click on “Bill Descriptions” above to read more details on the key votes included in this Scorecard. Don’t know who your legislators are? Scroll down to search for your legislators based on your address.

After each legislative biennium, Vermont Conservation Voters (VCV) publishes an Environmental Scorecard to highlight Vermont state legislators’ voting records on issues that impact clean air, safe water, action on climate change, healthy forests, and sustainable communities. The legislative process can be difficult to follow, and our objective with the Scorecard is to distill the results so you, as a voter, can see which lawmakers are representing your environmental values – and which are not.

View a PDF/print-ready version of the Scorecard here.

 

Environmental Scorecard FAQs

How does VCV determine which issues to highlight in the Scorecard?

The votes included in the Environmental Scorecard focus on issues identified in VCV’s annual Environmental Common Agenda  – a list of top-tier policy goals we develop with the state’s leading environmental groups.

What were the 2017-2018 policy priorities?

The major priorities this biennium included: long-term funding for clean water; holding polluters accountable and protecting Vermonters from toxic chemicals; maintaining intact, healthy forests; and making progress on climate change. VCV also supports policies that advance a healthy democracy.

How did we do?

Overall, progress on environmental priorities was hampered this year, primarily due to opposition from Governor Scott, who threatened to veto clean water funding, key climate policies, and who ultimately vetoed two VCV priority bills.

The Vermont Legislature passed bills to hold toxic polluters accountable, protect children from harmful chemicals, improve energy efficiency for appliances, and the Legislature funded a study of economy-wide climate policies that will be needed to meet our state’s clean energy and climate commitments.

Unfortunately, Gov. Scott vetoed the bill that would have made it easier to hold toxic polluters responsible for increased medical monitoring costs due to toxic contamination – rather than impacted Vermonters or taxpayers footing the bill. Gov. Scott also vetoed the bill that would have made it easier to reduce the use of toxic chemicals in children’s products.

What types of votes are included in the Scorecard?

Votes included in the Scorecard focus on VCV’s policy priorities. Specific votes scored are those that were substantive, rather than procedural, and that had the greatest effect on the outcome of the legislation.

How do you deal with lawmakers who miss a vote?

We count absences as a negative vote because that’s the impact they have on the outcome of the vote.

What are some caveats?

Please note several limitations of the Scorecard. We can only score “roll call” votes where individual lawmakers go on the record as voting yes or no on a given bill – which doesn’t happen for every key vote. Further, many decisions – both good and bad for the environment – are made before a bill ever reaches the floor. Nonetheless, the Scorecard provides a helpful snapshot of whether or not lawmakers are voting to support important environmental legislation.

What’s next?

With this tool, we give you your lawmakers’ scores, but the rest is up to you. Vermont’s citizen legislature works best when voters hold their legislators accountable – so please take a moment to contact your elected officials and share your appreciation or disappointment in their environmental voting records.

Name District Party 2018 Score Lifetime Score
Christopher Pearson Chittenden Progressive
Democratic
100% 100%
Debbie Ingram Chittenden Democratic 100% 100%
David Soucy Rutland Republican 0% 0%
Randy Brock Franklin Republican 0% 43%
Francis K. Brooks Washington Democratic 63% 63%
Alison Clarkson Windsor Democratic 100% 95%
Dick McCormack Windsor Democratic 100% 95%
Alice W. Nitka Windsor Democratic 38% 69%
Becca Balint Windham Democratic 100% 100%
Jeanette K. White Windham Democratic 100% 95%
Anthony Pollina Washington Progressive
Democratic
100% 100%
Ann Cummings Washington Democratic 100% 96%
Brian Collamore Rutland Republican 0% 11%
Kevin Mullin Rutland Republican 0% 46%
Peg Flory Rutland Republican 0% 24%
Mark A. MacDonald Orange Democratic 100% 95%
Virginia “Ginny” Lyons Chittenden Democratic 100% 99%
Dick Mazza Grand Isle/Chittenden Democratic 50% 74%
Dustin Degree Franklin Republican 0% 11%
Richard Westman Lamoille Republican 38% 49%
Philip Baruth Chittenden Democratic
Progressive
100% 90%
Michael Sirotkin Chittenden Democratic 100% 100%
Tim Ashe Chittenden Democratic
Progressive
86% 91%
Robert Starr Essex-Orleans Democratic 38% 41%
John Rodgers Essex-Orleans Democratic 25% 40%
Brian Campion Bennington Democratic 100% 100%
Jane Kitchel Caledonia Democratic 50% 66%
Joe Benning Caledonia Republican 13% 46%
Claire Ayer Addison Democratic 100% 95%
Christopher Bray Addison Democratic 100% 96%
Dick Sears Bennington Democratic 75% 74%
Carolyn Whitney Branagan Franklin Republican 25% 43%
Name District Party 2018 Score Lifetime Score
Annmarie Christensen Cavendish, Weathersfield Democratic 100% 100%
Susan M. Buckholz Barnard, Hartford, Pomfret Democratic 71% 71%
Thomas A. Bock Andover, Baltimore, Chester, Springfield Democratic 100% 100%
Charlie Kimbell Plymouth, Reading, Woodstock Democratic 71% 71%
David Ainsworth Tunbridge, Royalton Republican 14% 21%
Matthew Hill Belvidere, Hyde Park, Johnson, Wolcott Democratic 100% 100%
David Yacovone Elmore, Morristown, Woodbury, Worcester Democratic 86% 86%
Robert Frenier Chelsea, Corinth, Orange, Vershire, Washington, Williamstown Republican 14% 14%
Gary Nolan Elmore, Morristown, Woodbury, Worcester Republican 29% 29%
Ben Jickling Granville, Braintree, Brookfield, Randolph, Roxbury Independent 71% 71%
Jay Hooper Granville, Braintree, Brookfield, Randolph, Roxbury Democratic 100% 100%
Mary E. Howard Rutland Democratic 100% 100%
Brian Smith Brownington, Charleston, Derby, Holland, Morgan Republican 29% 29%
Kimberly Jessup East Montpelier, Middlesex Democratic 100% 100%
James Harrison Chittenden, Killington, Mendon, Bridgewater Republican 43% 43%
Edward Read Duxbury, Fayston, Moretown, Waitsfield, Warren Independent 40% 40%
John Gannon Halifax, Whitingham, Wilmington Democratic 71% 71%
Paul S. Belaski Hartland, West Windsor, Windsor Democratic 100% 100%
Kelly Pajala Winhall, Jamaica, Londonderry, Stratton, Weston Independent 80% 80%
Betsy Dunn Essex Democratic 100% 100%
Carl Rosenquist Georgia Republican 14% 14%
Dylan Giambatista Essex Democratic 100% 100%
Ben W. Joseph Albergh, Grand Isle, Isle LaMotte, Milton, North Hero, South Hero Democratic 86% 86%
Lori Houghton Essex Democratic 100% 100%
Curt Taylor Colchester Democratic 100% 100%
Cindy Weed Enosburg, Montgomery Democratic 100% 100%
Daniel Noyes Belvidere, Hyde Park, Johnson, Wolcott Democratic 100% 100%
Chip Troiano Hardwick, Stannard, Walden Democratic 100% 100%
Linda Joy Sullivan Dorset, Landgrove, Peru, Danby, Mount Tabor Democratic 71% 71%
Christopher Mattos Milton Republican 20% 20%
Marcia Lawrence Gardner Richmond Democratic 100% 100%
Brian Keefe Arlington, Manchester, Sandgate, Sunderland Republican 43% 43%
Trevor Squirrell Jericho, Underhill Democratic 100% 100%
Selene Colburn Burlington Progressive 86% 86%
Brian Cina Burlington Democratic 100% 100%
Jessica Brumsted Shelburne, St. George Democratic 86% 86%
Carol Ode Burlington Democratic 86% 86%
Terry Norris Orwell, Shoreham, Whiting, Benson Independent 43% 43%
Peter Conlon Cornwall, Goshen, Hancock, Leicester, Ripton, Salisbury Democratic 100% 100%
Robin Scheu Middlebury Democratic 100% 100%
Laura Sibilia Readsboro, Searsburg, Stamford, Dover, Somerset, Wardsboro, Whitingham Independent 57% 74%
Timothy Briglin Strafford, Thetford, Norwich, Sharon Democratic 100% 100%
James Masland Strafford, Thetford, Norwich, Sharon Democratic 100% 97%
Sandy Haas Pittsfield, Bethel, Rochester, Stockbridge Progressive 100% 97%
Robert Forguites Springfield Democratic 100% 100%
Gabrielle Lucke Hartford Democratic 100% 100%
Kevin “Coach” Christie Hartford Democratic 100% 90%
Alice M. Emmons Springfield Democratic 100% 98%
Oliver Olsen Winhall, Jamaica, Londonderry, Stratton, Weston Independent 50% 67%
John L. Bartholomew Hartland, West Windsor, Windsor Democratic 100% 100%
Tristan Toleno Brattleboro Democratic 100% 94%
Matthew Trieber Athens, Brookline, Grafton, Rockingham, Westminster, Windham Democratic 86% 87%
Carolyn W. Partridge Athens, Brookline, Grafton, Rockingham, Westminster, Windham Democratic 71% 86%
Michael Mrowicki Dummerston, Putney, Westminster Democratic 100% 96%
David L. Deen Dummerston, Putney, Westminster Democratic 100% 94%
Emily Long Marlboro, Newfane, Townshend Democratic 100% 95%
Valerie A. Stuart Brattleboro Democratic 100% 98%
Maxine Grad Duxbury, Fayston, Moretown, Waitsfield, Warren Democratic 100% 80%
Michael Hebert Guilford, Vernon Republican 14% 48%
Thomas Stevens Bolton, Buels Gore, Huntington, Waterbury Democratic 100% 98%
Theresa Wood Bolton, Buels Gore, Huntington, Waterbury Democratic 100% 100%
Mollie S. Burke Brattleboro Progressive 100% 98%
Adam Greshin Duxbury, Fayston, Moretown, Waitsfield, Warren Independent 100% 91%
Mary S. Hooper Montpelier Democratic 100% 100%
Warren F. Kitzmiller Montpelier Democratic 100% 84%
Tommy Walz Barre Democratic 100% 100%
Paul N. Poirier Barre Independent 29% 64%
Janet Ancel Calais, Marshfield, Plainfield Democratic 100% 97%
Robert LaClair Barre Republican 14% 27%
Francis McFaun Barre Republican 29% 54%
Patti J. Lewis Berlin, Northfield Republican 29% 45%
Anne B. Donahue Berlin, Northfield Republican 71% 61%
Dennis J. Devereux Mount Holly, Shrewsbury, Ludlow Republican 29% 40%
Douglas Gage Rutland Republican 0% 28%
Robin Chesnut-Tangerman Rupert, Middletown Springs, Pawlet, Tinmouth, Wells Progressive 100% 100%
Stephen Carr Brandon, Pittsford, Sudbury Democratic 100% 100%
Butch Shaw Brandon, Pittsford, Sudbury Republican 29% 48%
Thomas Terenzini Rutland Republican 14% 22%
William Canfield Castleton, Fair Haven, Hubbardton, West Haven Republican 29% 47%
Peter J. Fagan Rutland Republican 29% 47%
Lawrence Cupoli Rutland Republican 29% 40%
Mark Higley Eden, Jay, Lowell, Troy, Westfield Republican 14% 31%
Thomas Burditt Clarendon, Proctor, Tinmouth, Wallingford, West Rutland Republican 29% 24%
David Potter Clarendon, Proctor, Tinmouth, Wallingford, West Rutland Democratic 100% 90%
Robert Helm Castleton, Fair Haven, Hubbardton, West Haven Republican 29% 29%
Michael Marcotte Coventry, Irasburg, Newport, Troy Republican 43% 40%
Samuel Young Sheffield, Wheelock, Albany, Barton, Craftsbury, Glover, Greensboro Democratic 86% 82%
Gary Viens Coventry, Irasburg, Newport, Troy Republican 29% 25%
Vicki Strong Sheffield, Wheelock, Albany, Barton, Craftsbury, Glover, Greensboro Republican 29% 27%
Lynn Batchelor Brownington, Charleston, Derby, Holland, Morgan Republican 29% 39%
Patricia McCoy Ira, Poultney Republican 43% 42%
Charles Conquest Groton, Newbury, Topsham Democratic 100% 95%
Bernard Juskiewicz Cambridge, Waterville Republican 29% 59%
Sarah Copeland Hanzas Bradford, Fairlee, West Fairlee Democratic 86% 88%
Rodney Graham Chelsea, Corinth, Orange, Vershire, Washington, Williamstown Republican 29% 30%
Heidi E. Scheuermann Stowe Republican 43% 46%
Mitzi Johnson Albergh, Grand Isle, Isle LaMotte, Milton, North Hero, South Hero Democratic 100% 93%
Daniel Connor Bakersfield, Fairfield, Fletcher Democratic 86% 81%
Marianna Gamache Sheldon, Swanton Republican 29% 45%
Albert Pearce Berkshire, Franklin, Highgate, Richford Republican 29% 45%
Steve Beyor Berkshire, Franklin, Highgate, Richford Republican 14% 36%
Corey Parent St. Albans Republican 43% 42%
Kathleen C. Keenan St. Albans Democratic 86% 78%
Brian K. Savage Sheldon, Swanton Republican 29% 32%
Eileen Dickinson St. Albans Republican 29% 24%
Paul Lefebvre Newark, Averill, Avery's Gore, Bloomfield, Brighton, Canaan, East Haven, Ferdinand, Lemington, Lewis, Norton, Warner's Grant, Warren's Gore, Westmore Republican 71% 66%
Barbara Murphy Fairfax Independent 86% 73%
Patrick Brennan Colchester Republican 29% 23%
Maureen Dakin Colchester Democratic 86% 83%
Constance Quimby Kirby, Brunswick, Concord, Granby, Guildhall, Lunenburg, Maidstone, Victory Republican 0% 20%
James Condon Colchester Democratic 0% 47%
Robert Bancroft Essex, Westford Republican 29% 40%
Linda K. Myers Essex Republican 43% 44%
Ann Pugh South Burlington Democratic 100% 89%
Helen Head South Burlington Democratic 100% 95%
Maida Townsend South Burlington Democratic 86% 90%
Clement Bissonnette Burlington, Winooski Democratic 86% 96%
Martin LaLonde South Burlington Democratic 86% 93%
Johannah Donovan Burlington Democratic 86% 95%
Mary Sullivan Burlington Democratic 100% 100%
Diana Gonzalez Burlington, Winooski Progressive 100% 95%
Barbara Rachelson Burlington Democratic 100% 90%
Jill Krowinski Burlington Democratic 100% 100%
Jean O’Sullivan Burlington Democratic 57% 73%
Kurt Wright Burlington Republican 43% 50%
Curt McCormack Burlington Democratic 100% 97%
Kathryn Webb Shelburne Democratic 100% 97%
Terence Macaig Williston Democratic 86% 97%
George W. Till Jericho, Underhill Democratic 100% 95%
William J. Lippert Hinesburg Democratic 100% 87%
Michael Yantachka Charlotte, Hinesburg Democratic 86% 97%
James McCullough Williston Democratic 100% 98%
Donald Turner Milton Republican 29% 19%
Ronald E. Hubert Milton Republican 0% 13%
Scott Beck St. Johnsbury Republican 43% 52%
Richard Lawrence Burke, Lyndon, Sutton Republican 14% 33%
Janssen Willhoit St. Johnsbury Republican 43% 47%
Catherine Toll Danville, Peacham, Cabot Democratic 86% 89%
Martha Feltus Burke, Lyndon, Sutton Republican 43% 69%
Cynthia Browning Arlington, Manchester, Sandgate, Sunderland Democratic 71% 70%
Marcia Martel Barnet, Ryegate, Waterford Republican 14% 22%
Alice Miller Glastenbury, Shaftsbury, Sunderland Democratic 100% 90%
Mary A. Morrissey Bennington Republican 57% 31%
Fred Baser Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton, Starksboro Republican 71% 71%
Timothy R. Corcoran Bennington Democratic 86% 81%
William Botzow Pownal, Woodford Democratic 100% 94%
Rachael Fields Bennington Democratic 86% 83%
Ruqaiyah “Kiah” Morris Bennington Democratic 100% 100%
David Sharpe Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton, Starksboro Democratic 100% 96%
Warren Van Wyck Addison, Ferrisburgh, Panton, Vergennes, Waltham Republican 14% 15%
Diane Lanpher Addison, Ferrisburgh, Panton, Vergennes, Waltham Democratic 86% 90%
Harvey Smith Bridport, New Haven, Weybridge Republican 29% 29%
Amy Sheldon Middlebury Democratic 100% 100%

House Bills

H.40 – Renewable Energy Standard Bill (3rd reading)

Pro-environment vote: YES

This bill established a cutting-edge renewable portfolio standard that sets requirements for generating more of our energy from renewable sources, including community-scale renewables. It also created an innovative program, known as the “transformation tier,” that requires utilities to help customers save energy through efficiency measures, fuel switching, transportation efficiency programs, and more.

Status: Enacted; House vote 121-24.

H.40 – Amendment to Strip Renewable Energy Standard’s “Transformation Tier”

Pro-environment vote: NO

This amendment would have removed the section of the renewable energy standard bill that created the innovative and money-saving “transformation tier,” the tier that would require utilities 
to achieve reductions in energy use through efficiency measures and other programs to help Vermonters reduce fossil fuel use. This amendment was defeated in the House.

Status: Amendment failed; House vote 42-99.

H.4 – Ban on Microbeads (3rd reading)

Pro-environment vote: YES

This legislation banned plastic microbeads from personal care products. These synthetic plastic beads are added to face washes, shampoos, soaps, and more. They also pollute our waterways and accumulate toxic chemicals that are then ingested by fish and introduced into the food chain. These microbeads can be replaced with safe, natural alternatives. H.4 passed the House unanimously but was never taken up in the Senate because related federal legislation was enacted in the interim.

Status: Passed House 140-0; no action in the Senate.

H.35 – Water Quality Bill (3rd reading)

Pro-environment vote: YES

This bill established new requirements for major sources of water pollution, including farms, roads, and parking lots. It also authorized new enforcement tools, created a Clean Water Fund, and dedicated nearly $8 million per year in new revenue to cleanup efforts. Though success of this legislation will be determined by how strongly the new regulations are implemented and enforced, the bill creates an important opportunity to make meaningful progress toward cleaning up Lake Champlain and other waters across the state.

Status: Enacted; House vote 133-11.

H.35 – Amendment to Strip Funding from Water Quality Bill

Pro-environment vote: NO

This amendment to the Water Quality Bill removed language related to establishing new funding for water cleanup efforts – an increase to the property transfer tax – and instead attempted to dedicate money already allocated to the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board to water quality efforts. This amendment, had it passed, simply moved around existing revenue and would have created a budget shortfall.

Status: Amendment failed; House vote 40-100.

H.R.13 – Resolution on Divesting from Fossil Fuels

Pro-environment vote: YES

The House passed a resolution urging the State of Vermont to divest its pension investment portfolio from stocks that contain holdings in coal and stock in Exxon Mobil, in part because Exxon Mobil deliberately misled the public and its investors on the risks of global warming.  Further, the resolution was intended to acknowledge the urgency of climate change and that – since the planet must move off fossil fuels – investments in these energy sources pose a “stranded asset” risk.

Status: Passed; House vote 76-57.

H.552 – Critical Habitat for Vermont Endangered Species Bill (2nd reading)

Pro-environment vote: YES

This legislation updated the state’s endangered and threatened species act to allow for better recovery planning and to authorize the designation of critical habitat. Overall, the bill added much-needed tools to better protect the state’s most vulnerable plant and animal species.

Status: Enacted (language added to H.570 in the Senate); House vote 111-26.

H.789 – Forest Integrity Bill (2nd reading)

Pro-environment vote: YES

This bill encouraged better local and regional planning for intact, healthy forests and wildlife habitat. It added the goals of maintaining forest blocks and habitat connectivity to town and regional planning; took steps to maintain rural working lands; called for a study group to examine ways to help landowners plan for the long-term ownership of their forests; and created a committee to recommend potential revisions to Act 250 and municipal bylaws to protect contiguous areas of forestland from fragmentation and promote habitat connectivity.

Status: Enacted (language added to H.857 in the Senate); House vote 105-29.

S.230 – Renewable Energy Siting Bill (2nd reading)

Pro-environment vote: YES

This bill took important steps forward in expanding the local and regional energy planning process to ensure the state is on track to meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals, while improving the ability of communities to plan for and influence energy siting decisions. S.230 also created incentives for solar projects located on rooftops, parking lots, landfills, and other places Vermonters have identified as areas where they would like to see renewable energy development occur.

Status: Enacted (then vetoed by the Governor; “clarified” bill, S.260, enacted in its place); House vote 142-0.

S.260 – “Clarified” Renewable Energy Siting Bill (rules suspension to take up the bill)

Pro-environment vote: YES

The Governor vetoed S.230 due to concerns identified after its enactment that, as drafted, the temporary sound standard for wind projects in the bill was more stringent than the Legislature intended to adopt, and because $300,000 in funding for community energy planning was inadvertently left out of the bill. The House voted on whether to take up a revised version of the bill to fix these problematic provisions.

Status: Motion to suspend rules failed; House vote 79-52; but bill eventually taken up and enacted on a voice vote.

S.103  – Protecting Vermont Children from Toxic Chemicals (Veto Override)

Pro-environment vote: YES

This legislation would have updated the Chemicals of High Concern in Children’s Products program to make it easier for the state’s Commissioner of Health to propose rules to identify harmful chemicals that pose a risk to children’s health, and restrict the use of dangerous chemicals in children’s products sold in Vermont.

Status: Enacted by Legislature, but VETOED by Gov. Scott; House vote 94-53 (a veto override requires two-thirds of members present to vote in support).

S.197 – Holding Toxic Polluters Accountable for Medical Monitoring Expenses (House Committee on Judiciary amendment)

Pro-environment vote: YES

This bill would have ensured that a corporation who releases a toxic contaminant that results in elevated levels of that harmful chemical in a Vermonter’s body would be responsible for paying the cost of medical visits and testing to screen for the potential harm these chemicals can cause. Currently, these costs are borne by Vermonters who are victims of toxic pollution, who cannot sue for damages until a disease linked to the chemical manifests, and in some cases, taxpayers are footing the bill.  

Status: Enacted by Legislature, but VETOED by Gov. Scott; House vote 92-45.

H.410 – Improving Energy Efficiency Standards for Appliances (3rd reading)

Pro-environment vote: YES

This bill established new energy efficiency standards for 16 appliances including computers and monitors, commercial dishwashers, portable air conditioners, and others. These improved energy efficiency standards will save energy and save Vermonters money.

Status: Enacted; House vote 137-4.

H.R.15 – Resolution Affirming Vermont’s Commitment to Meeting Our Climate and Clean Energy Goals

Pro-environment vote: YES

This resolution expressed concern for the U.S.’s withdrawal from the global Paris Climate Accord, and affirmed Vermont’s commitment to meeting our climate and clean energy goals, as well as our enrollment in the U.S. Climate Alliance – a group of states committed to remaining on track to achieve the emissions reductions targets in the Paris Climate Accord.

Status: Resolution passed; House vote 105-31.

H.576 – Improving Stormwater Regulations (3rd reading)

Pro-environment vote: YES

This legislation increased jurisdiction over projects that require stormwater permits in Vermont – jurisdiction was expanded from projects that create 1-acre of impervious surface (paved area) to projects that create 0.5-acre of impervious surface. This requirement will allow the State of Vermont to address stormwater pollution from a wider array of sources and better protect water quality in Vermont’s streams, rivers, lakes and ponds.  

Status: Enacted; House vote 125-12.

S.260 – Clean Water Funding Bill (House Committee on Ways & Means amendment)

Pro-environment vote: YES

This amendment would have established a long-term funding source for clean water projects across the state by increasing the “rooms and meals tax” – the tax paid when renting a room or on restaurant and bar bills – by 0.25%. This provision would have raised millions of additional dollars to help meet our state’s obligation to invest in cleaning up and protecting state waters.

Status: Amendment passed the House but was stripped from the Senate version of the bill; House vote 84-55.

H.233 – Maintaining Intact, Healthy Forests (House Committee on Natural Resources, Fish & Wildlife amendment)

Pro-environment vote: YES

This bill would have added new criteria requiring that projects going through Act 250 be designed to avoid, minimize, or mitigate impacts related to fragmentation of the state’s highest priority forest blocks and habitat connectivity areas. This bill would have helped Vermont to maintain intact, healthy forests.

Status: Passed the House, but stalled out in the Senate; House vote 85-61.

Senate Bills

H.40 – Renewable Energy Standard Bill (3rd reading)

Pro-environment vote: YES

This bill established a cutting-edge renewable portfolio standard that sets requirements for generating more of our energy from renewable sources, including community-scale renewables. It also created an innovative program, known as the “transformation tier,” that requires utilities to help customers save energy through efficiency measures, fuel switching, transportation efficiency programs, and more.

Status: Enacted; Senate vote 22-6.

H.40 – Amendment on Energy Siting in Renewable Energy Standard

Pro-environment vote: NO

This amendment, related to siting renewable energy projects, would have made it much more difficult to advance well-sited solar and other renewable projects. It was offered in the final days of the legislative session without adequate vetting in the committee process. This amendment failed to pass. However, H.40 as enacted created a task force, environmental study, and other provisions to examine potential ways to improve the siting process for solar projects.

Status: Amendment failed; Senate vote 10-19.

H.35 – Water Quality Bill (3rd reading)

Pro-environment vote: YES

This bill established new requirements for major sources of water pollution, including farms, roads, and parking lots. It also authorized new enforcement tools, created a Clean Water Fund, and dedicated nearly $8 million per year in new revenue to cleanup efforts. Though success of this legislation will be determined by how strongly the new regulations are implemented and enforced, the bill creates an important opportunity to make meaningful progress toward cleaning up Lake Champlain and other waters across the state.

Status: Enacted; Senate vote 27-2.

S.139 – Amendment to Strip
 Toxic-Free Families Act Improvements

Pro-environment vote: NO


This amendment removed language from a public health bill that sought to make improvements to the process
 for assessing and regulating toxic chemicals in children’s products, as established in the 2014 Toxic-Free Families Act (Act 188).

Status: Amendment passed; Senate vote 16-15.

S.R. 7 – Global Warming Resolution

Pro-environment vote: YES

This resolution acknowledged the threat posed by human-induced climate change, and Vermont’s commitment
 to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, including the need for Vermont to take steps now to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

Status: Resolution passed; Senate vote 25-5.

S.230 – Renewable Energy Siting Bill (2nd reading)

Pro-environment vote: YES

This bill took important steps forward in expanding the local and regional energy planning process to ensure the state is on track to meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals, while improving the ability of communities to plan for and influence energy siting decisions. S.230 also created incentives for solar projects located on rooftops, parking lots, landfills, and other places Vermonters have identified as areas where they would like to see renewable energy development occur.

Status: Enacted (then vetoed by the Governor; “clarified” bill S.260 enacted in its place); Senate vote 25-3

S.230 – Amendment that Stripped Balance from Energy Siting Bill

Pro-environment vote: NO

This amendment would have removed the essential balance of the energy siting bill by giving towns veto authority over energy projects – projects that constitute a public good – rather than giving towns substantial deference through local planning as long as towns and regions are contributing to the state’s meeting its renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Status: Failed; Senate vote 6-19

S.230 – Veto Override of Energy Siting Bill

Pro-environment vote: NO

This vote sought to override the Governor’s veto of the energy siting bill, which was due to concerns identified after its enactment that, as drafted, the temporary sound standard for wind projects in the bill was more stringent than the Legislature intended to adopt, and because $300,000 in funding for community energy planning was inadvertently left out of the bill.  The veto override failed, and ultimately the “clarified” version of the bill was enacted.

Status: Failed; Senate vote 8-20

S.260 – “Clarified” Renewable Energy Siting Bill (2nd reading)

Pro-environment vote: YES

This bill simply reinstated S.230, but with revised language on several key provisions that more accurately reflected legislative intent. In particular, it clarified language related to wind sound standards and reinstated $300,000 in funding to support community energy planning.

Status: Enacted; Senate vote 27-2

S.103 – Protecting Vermont Children from Toxic Chemicals (Veto Override)

Pro-environment vote: YES

This legislation would have updated the Chemicals of High Concern in Children’s Products program to make it easier for the Commissioner of Health to propose rules to identify harmful chemicals that pose a risk to children’s health, and restrict the use of dangerous chemicals in children’s products sold in Vermont.

Status: Enacted by Legislature, but VETOED by Gov. Scott; Senate vote 22-8.

S.197 – Holding Toxic Polluters Accountable (3rd reading)

Pro-environment vote: YES

This bill would have helped ensure that polluters, rather than impacted Vermonters or taxpayers, would pay the costs for harms such as property damage, medical monitoring expenses, or health care costs associated with an illness due to toxic chemical contamination caused by the user of a toxic substance. The Senate version of the bill included a ‘strict liability’ provision to allow the state and Vermonters to hold polluters accountable for harm without having to prove negligence in how toxic chemicals were handled – just that the company was responsible for releasing the dangerous chemical and is therefore responsible for any harm caused. The ‘strict liability’ provision was stripped by the House, but they did pass a provision to hold polluters accountable for medical monitoring expenses.

Status: Enacted by Legislature, but VETOED by Gov. Scott; Senate vote 17-13.

H.410 – Improving Energy Efficiency Standards for Appliances (Concurrence with House amendment)

Pro-environment vote: YES

This bill established new energy efficiency standards for 16 appliances including computers and monitors, commercial dishwashers, and portable air conditioners, among others. These improved energy efficiency standards will save energy and save Vermonters money.

Status: Enacted; Senate vote 25-4.

S.52 – Amendment Undermining Enhanced Energy Planning Law

Pro-environment vote: NO

This amendment would have undermined the enhanced energy planning and siting law, Act 174, a program which aims to ensure that municipal and regional energy plans will, collectively, put us on track to meet our state’s goal of 90% renewable energy by 2050. Under existing law, towns and regions with approved energy plans would be given substantial deference in energy siting decisions before the Public Utilities Commission. This amendment would have stripped the requirement that plans be in compliance before granting this “substantial deference,” fundamentally undercutting the balance the program seeks to create. Without ensuring that towns and regions are all doing their part towards our renewable energy goals, we will not be able to make the progress we need to achieve them.

Status: Amendment failed; Senate vote 10-20.

S.120 – Banning Corporate Campaign Contributions (2nd reading)

Pro-environment vote: YES

This bill would have banned corporations from donating directly to candidates in Vermont for the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, Auditor of Accounts, Attorney General, State Representative or State Senator. Only individuals, political committees, or political parties could directly donate to campaigns. While corporations can still donate to political action committees, including SuperPACs, this would have been a positive step forward in limiting the amount of corporate money in campaigns for public office in Vermont.

Status: Passed the Senate, stalled in the House; Senate vote 23-7.

S.285 – Amendment to Allow State to Collect Unclaimed Bottle Deposits

Pro-environment vote: YES

This amendment updated the state’s bottle deposit law to authorize the state to collect any unclaimed deposits. With this provision, Vermont joined the majority of states with bottle bill programs in collecting this unclaimed property, rather than allowing beverage corporations to collect it. Ultimately the legislature adopted language to send this money – estimated at $1.5 to $4 million per year – to the state’s Clean Water Fund.

Status: Enacted by Legislature; Senate vote 19-11.

H.559 – Amendment to Strip Citizen Rights of Action to Help Enforce Clean Water Laws

Pro-environment vote: NO

This amendment would have stripped a provision to allow Vermont citizens to bring lawsuits if the state is not enforcing clean water laws. The provision would have required that the state be notified, and given the state time to respond and enforce clean water laws. If enforcement did not happen, a lawsuit could proceed. Citizen rights of action are a key tool used to enforce federal environmental laws, and many states have these provisions. Unfortunately, this language was ultimately pulled from the clean water legislation that was enacted.

Status: Amendment was defeated in the Senate, but the citizen rights of action provision was later stripped from the bill; Senate vote 11-18.

H.904 – Amendment to Support Intact, Healthy Forests (Vote to suspend the rules)

Pro-environment vote: YES

H.904 would have added new criteria to require that projects going through Act 250 be designed to avoid, minimize, or mitigate fragmentation of the state’s highest priority forest blocks and habitat connectivity areas. Senator Starr moved to strip the fragmentation language. This vote was for a suspension of the rules to allow the Act 250 and forest fragmentation language to remain in the bill, but the vote to suspend the rules was defeated and the language was pulled from the bill.

Status: Amendment failed, so fragmentation language was stripped from the bill; Senate vote 15-12 (rules suspension requires support from three-quarters of members present).