Vermont Conservation Voters

When you sign up to join VCV in our work, you will receive action alerts and information.

Legislative Scorecard

Click on the “Senate Scorecard” and “House Scorecard” box above to find your legislators’ 2021 environmental voting records, and the “Bill Descriptions” box to read more details on the key votes included in the latest Scorecard. 

*Not sure who your legislators are? Scroll down and you’ll find a tool to help you search for your legislators based on your address.

Welcome to the 2021 Environmental Scorecard!

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, protecting people from toxic chemicals, healthy forests, and sustainable communities. Our virtual scorecard also keeps track of state legislators’ voting records in real time. 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.

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 are the 2021 policy priorities?

The major priorities this year include:

  • Helping people pay less for their transportation, heating, and electricity costs, while creating jobs and addressing the climate crisis.
  • Protecting public health by reducing people’s exposure to toxic chemicals, and hold toxic polluters accountable for the harm they cause.
  • Advancing environmental justice and equity initiatives.
  • Supporting our downtowns and villages, farms and forest lands, and natural areas.
  • Enacting policies that foster a healthy democracy.

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 are made about which legislation moves forward and what is included in a bill before the legislation ever reaches the floor. Nonetheless, the Scorecard provides a helpful snapshot of whether or not lawmakers are voting to support important environmental bills.

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. Find your legislators’ contact information using the tool below, and send them a quick message!

Name District Party 2021/2022 Score Lifetime Score
Joshua Terenzini Republican 50% 0%
Kesha Ram Democratic 100% 100%
Russ Ingalls Republican 50% 0%
Thomas Chittenden Democratic 100% 100%
Ruth Hardy Addison Democratic 100% 100%
Cheryl Hooker Rutland Democratic
Progressive
100% 100%
James McNeil Rutland Republican 100% 60%
Andrew Perchlik Washington Democratic
Progressive
100% 100%
Corey Parent Franklin Republican 100% 41%
Christopher Pearson Chittenden Progressive
Democratic
100% 100%
Randy Brock Franklin Republican 100% 43%
Alison Clarkson Windsor Democratic 100% 96%
Dick McCormack Windsor Democratic 100% 96%
Alice W. Nitka Windsor Democratic 100% 70%
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 50% 17%
Mark A. MacDonald Orange Democratic 100% 95%
Virginia “Ginny” Lyons Chittenden Democratic 100% 99%
Dick Mazza Grand Isle/Chittenden Democratic 100% 76%
Richard Westman Lamoille Republican 100% 50%
Philip Baruth Chittenden Democratic
Progressive
100% 92%
Michael Sirotkin Chittenden Democratic 100% 100%
Robert Starr Essex-Orleans Democratic 100% 45%
John Rodgers Essex-Orleans Democratic 100% 44%
Brian Campion Bennington Democratic 100% 100%
Jane Kitchel Caledonia Democratic 100% 69%
Joe Benning Caledonia Republican 100% 49%
Christopher Bray Addison Democratic 100% 97%
Dick Sears Bennington Democratic 100% 76%
Name District Party 2021/2022 Score Lifetime Score

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.

H.926 – Protecting Forests & Outdoor Recreation

(Vote scored: concur with Senate proposal of amendment)

Pro-Environment vote: YES

This bill is a pared-down version of Act 250 modernization that passed the House earlier in the year, but contains important provisions to: better protect forest blocks and wildlife habitat for projects going through Act 250, help maintain working lands, and create a new program that aims to improve environmental review, planning, and maintenance of trail networks.

Status: Passed the House 93-56

S.348 – Safe Elections

(Vote scored: Shall the Bill Pass)

Pro-Environment vote: YES

This bill grants full authority to the Secretary of State to mail all registered voters a ballot for this year’s General Election in November, while maintaining in-person voting options. This legislation will help ensure all Vermonters can safely, securely and easily vote this year, despite the ongoing pandemic.

Status: Passed the House 115-29

H. 926 – Act 250 Modernization

(Vote scored: Third reading)

Pro-Environment vote: YES

This bill strengthens environmental protections in Act 250 by better protecting forest blocks, ecologically-sensitive areas, river corridors, and by better addressing climate change. The bill promotes smart growth by reducing sprawling development while supporting development in our compact downtowns, villages, and neighborhoods.

Status: Passed the House 88-52

H.688 – Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA)

(Vote scored: veto override)

Pro-Environment vote: YES

The Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) will turn Vermont’s climate goals into requirements. The Solutions Act establishes a Climate Council and requires the state to develop and implement a plan that will reduce climate-damaging pollution, grow jobs, help rural and low-income people, and build more resilient communities across Vermont.

Status: House voted 103-47 to override Gov. Scott’s veto.

H.439 – Increasing the investment in low-income weatherization programs

(Vote scored: amending the bill as recommended by the Committee on Ways & Means)

Pro-Environment vote: YES

This bill would have increased the long-term investment in the existing, highly successful low-income weatherization programs, which help Vermonters save money, while having more comfortable and healthier homes. The bill would have increased the existing fuel tax on heating oil, propane, kerosene, and other dyed diesel fuel, and the revenue generated would have helped some of Vermont’s most vulnerable families weatherize their homes.

Status:Passed the House, but alternative short-term funding proposal was enacted instead; House vote 81-60.

S.37 – Amendment to make it harder for Vermonters to hold toxic polluters accountable for medical monitoring expenses

(Vote scored: amendment offered by Rep. Beck and others)

Pro-Environment vote: NO

This amendment would have added barriers to Vermonters trying to hold a polluter accountable for the costs of medical monitoring they require due to toxic exposure. Corporate lobbyists pushed hard for this language, since it would have tilted the legislation toward helping polluters rather than victims of toxic contamination. The amendment ultimately failed.

Status: Amendment failed; House vote 55-87.

S.37 – Holding toxic polluters accountable for medical monitoring expenses

(Vote scored: concurrence with proposal of amendment)

Pro-Environment vote: YES

This bill would have held large polluters accountable for the harm caused by toxic chemical releases. The bill provides two important legal tools to address toxic pollution. The first legal remedy allows Vermonters to hold polluters accountable for the costs of medical monitoring required as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals. The second legal remedy provided by S.37 would allow state government to hold the companies that make dangerous chemicals liable for the harm they cause to Vermont’s air, land, and water. Unfortunately, despite the bill passing the Legislature, it was vetoed by Governor Scott. VCV will be pushing for a veto override vote when the Legislature reconvenes.

Status:Enacted by Legislature but VETOED by Gov. Scott; House vote 100-42.

S.40 – Testing and cleanup of lead contamination in drinking water of schools and child care facilities

(Vote scored: Concurrence with proposal of amendment)

Pro-Environment vote: YES 

This bill requires testing for lead contamination in drinking water in all Vermont schools and childcare facilities. The bill sets a standard for acceptable lead levels (4 parts per billion) that is more protective than the federal EPA, and requires remediation of any lead contamination found above that level. Importantly, the Legislature also allocated funding to ensure the initial testing and remediation happens quickly and consistently across the state.

Status: Enacted; House vote 138-3.

S.49 – Testing and regulating toxic PFAS contamination in public drinking waters and surface waters

(Vote scored: Second reading)

Pro-Environment vote: YES

This bill requires the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources to develop drinking water and surface water standards for PFAS chemicals, to ensure Vermonters’ water is healthy and safe. PFAS is the class of toxic chemicals that were discovered in Vermont drinking water wells, and pose significant threats to public health and the environment.

Status:Enacted; House vote 135-1.

S.55 – Protecting children from toxic chemicals

(Vote scored: Second reading)

Pro-Environment vote: YES

This bill updates the Toxic-Free Families Act (Act 188) to collect more consumer-friendly information on which toxic chemicals are being used in children’s products, while also improving the process for identifying harmful chemicals and phasing them out of use in children’s products sold in Vermont.

Status:Enacted; House vote 137-4.

S.96 – Long-term clean water funding

(Vote scored: Concurrence with proposal of amendment)

Pro-Environment vote: YES

The bill significantly increases the resources available for clean water projects across the state. It dedicates a portion of the existing rooms and meals tax to the Clean Water Fund, estimated at raising an additional $12 million or so per year when fully implemented. It also creates a new regional distribution model that aims to incorporate local knowledge and expertise, and improved on-the-ground oversight of projects.

Status:Enacted; House vote 126-14.

S.113 – Reducing the use of single-use plastic products

(Vote scored: Second reading)

Pro-Environment vote: YES

This bill restricts single-use plastic bags at the point of sale; bans plastic stirrers such as used for coffee or tea; requires that plastic straws only be offered on demand; and bans the use of expanded polystyrene foam (what is often called Styrofoam). The bill also establishes a Working Group to look at other single-use plastic products that are polluting our environment and posing a risk to public health.

Status:Enacted; House vote 120-24.

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).

S.337 – Energy efficiency updates

(Vote scored: third reading)

Pro-Environment vote: YES

This bill takes steps toward updating our energy efficiency utilities so they can focus more resources on cutting climate pollution – and therefore help more Vermonters access efficient, affordable, and clean heating and transportation options.

Status: Passed the Senate 28-2

H.926 – Protecting Forests & Outdoor Recreation

(Vote scored: third reading)

Pro-Environment vote: YES

This bill is a pared-down version of Act 250 modernization that passed the House earlier in the year, but contains important provisions to: better protect forest blocks and wildlife habitat for projects going through Act 250, help maintain working lands, and create a new program that aims to improve environmental review, planning, and maintenance of trail networks.

Status: Passed the Senate 26-3

H.688 – Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA)

(Vote scored: Veto override)

Pro-Environment vote: YES

The Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) will turn Vermont’s climate goals into requirements. The Solutions Act establishes a Climate Council and requires the state to develop and implement a plan that will reduce climate-damaging pollution, grow jobs, help rural and low-income people, and build more resilient communities across Vermont.

Status: Senate voted 22-8 to override Gov. Scott’s veto.

S.348 – Safe Elections

(Vote scored: Second reading)

Pro-Environment vote: YES

This bill grants full authority to the Secretary of State to mail all registered voters a ballot for this year’s General Election in November, while maintaining in-person voting options. This legislation will help ensure all Vermonters can safely, securely and easily vote this year, despite the ongoing pandemic.

Status: Passed the Senate 21-7

S.37 – Holding toxic polluters accountable for medical monitoring expenses

(Vote scored: Concurrence with House version)

Pro- Environment vote: YES

This bill would hold large polluters accountable for the harm caused by toxic chemical releases. The bill provides two important legal tools to address toxic pollution. The first legal remedy allows Vermonters to hold polluters accountable for the costs of medical monitoring required as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals. The second legal remedy provided by S.37 would allow state government to hold the companies that make dangerous chemicals liable for the harm they cause to Vermont’s air, land, and water. Unfortunately, despite the bill passing the Legislature, it was vetoed by Governor Scott. VCV will be pushing for a veto override vote when the Legislature reconvenes.

Status:Enacted by Legislature but VETOED by Gov. Scott; Senate vote 19-11.

S.40 – Testing and cleanup of lead contamination in drinking water in schools and child care facilities

(Vote scored: Third reading)

Pro-Environment vote: YES 

This bill requires testing for lead contamination in drinking water in all Vermont schools and childcare facilities. The bill sets a standard for acceptable lead levels (4 parts per billion) that is more protective than the federal EPA, and requires remediation of any lead contamination found at or above that level. Importantly, the Legislature also allocated funding to ensure the initial testing and remediation happens quickly and consistently across the state.

Status:Enacted; Senate vote 29-0.

S.49 – Testing and regulating toxic PFAS contamination in public drinking water supplies and surface waters

(Vote scored: Third reading)

Pro-Environment vote: YES

This bill requires the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources to develop drinking water and surface water standards for PFAS chemicals, to ensure Vermonters’ water is healthy and safe. PFAS is the class of toxic chemicals that were discovered in Vermont drinking water wells, and pose significant threats to public health and the environment.

Status:Enacted; Senate vote 29-0.

S.55 – Protecting children from toxic chemicals

(Vote scored: Second reading)

Pro-Environment vote: YES 

This bill updates the Toxic-Free Families Act (Act 188) to collect more consumer-friendly information on which toxic chemicals are being used in children’s products, while also improving the process for identifying harmful chemicals and phasing them out of use in children’s products sold in Vermont.

Status:Enacted; Senate vote 25-5.

S.113 – Reducing the use of single-use plastic products

(Vote scored: Third reading)

Pro-Environment vote: YES

This bill restricts single-use plastic bags at the point of sale; bans plastic stirrers such as used for coffee or tea; requires that plastic straws only be offered on demand; and bans the use of expanded polystyrene foam (what is often called Styrofoam). The bill also establishes a Working Group to look at how to better address other single-use plastic products that are polluting our environment and threatening public health.

Status:Enacted; Senate vote 30-0.

H.63 – Increased investments to help more Vermonters weatherize their homes

(Vote scored: Concurrence with House version)

Pro-Environment vote: YES

This bill will invest several million additional short-term dollars into weatherizing more low- and moderate-income Vermonters’ homes, helping improve comfort, health, and energy efficiency of those homes. The bill also requires analysis by the Public Utility Commission to look at a longer-term approach to expanding the scope of energy efficiency programs – a key component of achieving the state’s climate commitments.

Status:Enacted; Senate vote 29-0.

S.20 – Ban on Toxic PFAS Chemicals

(Vote scored: third reading)

Pro-Environment vote: YES

A bill to ban toxic PFAS chemicals from food packaging, firefighting foam, and carpets and rugs. This bill will help protect people from exposure to these harmful chemicals when using these products, and help protect our environment and water once these contaminated products are disposed of.

Status: Passed the Senate 30-0

S.15 – Universal Vote By Mail

(Vote scored: third reading)

Pro-Environment vote: YES

This bill would implement universal mail-in voting for all general elections in Vermont and would help make it easier for all eligible Vermonters to vote.

Status: Passed the Senate 27-3

close