Legislative Update, Week 1
The 2019 Vermont legislative session kicked off this week. The new legislators and statewide officers have been sworn in. Committees have been assigned. And we’re working hard to connect with lawmakers and share our priorities for the year – including clean water funding, climate action, better protections from toxic chemicals, and modernizing Act 250.
With a strong group of returning and new lawmakers this year, many of whom ran on pro-environment platforms, we’re excited about the opportunity to make real progress in 2019!
CLEAN WATER: #CleanWaterVT
Governor Scott said this week that he is committed to protecting and restoring the state’s lakes and rivers. Vermont is long overdue in establishing a robust and long-term funding source for cleaning up and protecting waters across the state. We expect to see action this year on new funding, as well as an improved mechanism for getting those funds on the ground to high-priority projects.
Click here to check out our climate platform, a suite of recommendations for climate action in 2019 developed with a broad coalition of allies, including low-income advocates, affordable housing advocates, environmental allies, business groups, and others.
Highlights include creating an electric vehicle incentive for lower-income Vermonters; doubling the number of homes weatherized each year; and making our climate pollution reduction targets mandatory to ensure the state’s policies are truly achieving necessary pollution reductions.
Learn more about what’s happening on energy and climate change with our LIVEClimate Dispatch from the State House, posted every Friday of the legislative session. Click here to view this week’s Dispatch.
Plus, Sign up here to receive the dispatch in your inbox each week, and stay up-to-date by tuning in to the hashtag #ActOnClimateVT on Facebook and Twitter.
Last year VCV advocated for two bills to protect Vermonters from toxic chemicals that were passed by the Legislature but ultimately vetoed by Governor Scott. One bill would create new legal tools to help Vermonters who have been harmed by toxic chemical contamination, and the other would improve the Toxic-Free Families Act to make it easier to identify chemicals of concern to children, and improve the process for restricting the use of these harmful substances in children’s products.
A new effort VCV will support this year is ensuring all drinking water in Vermont schools is tested for toxic lead contamination. There is no safe level of lead exposure, and children are particularly vulnerable to its damaging effects.
This week, the Scott administration announced its support for funding lead testing for all schools, and getting it done within a year, which is a welcome step. We need to ensure we’re fixing any sources of contamination, and setting health-protective levels for taking action so we can ensure no Vermont children are drinking lead-contaminated water at school.
ACT 250: #Act250
In 2019, VCV will be building on the work of a legislative commission that spent the past year and a half examining ways to modernize and improve Act 250, such as making sure it helps Vermont reduce greenhouse gases and reduce the impacts of climate change.
This week, Governor Scott expressed a commitment to modernizing Act 250 “in a way that expands growth in our struggling downtowns while continuing to protect the environment.” Last year, however, the Commission found that Act 250 has not achieved all of the environmental protection goals it was intended to solve. So we will be working hard this year to improve environmental protections under Act 250.
Thank you for making your voice heard on the issues you care about. We are excited to work together to pass meaningful legislation this year to ensure clean and safe water for all Vermonters, make meaningful progress on climate change, modernize Act 250, and hold corporate polluters accountable.
Stay tuned for updates each week of the legislative session, and for ways you can get involved!