Legislative Update, Week 3
It’s the third week of the legislative session. Committees are digging in on testimony about priority issues. We continue to educate lawmakers about our top goals for the year — including long-term clean water funding, climate action, better protections from toxic chemicals, and modernizing Act 250.
Catch up with our Legislative Update from last week, and read more below.
CLEAN WATER: #CleanWaterVT
In Governor Scott’s budget address this week, he reiterated his commitment to protecting and restoring the state’s lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams. He proposed a funding source of using a portion of the Estate Tax for clean water funding.
While we applaud the Governor’s commitment to long-term clean water funding, we are concerned with this specific proposal because the tax is quite variable, and simply moves around existing funds in the state budget.
We will be pushing lawmakers to enact a new, dedicated long-term revenue source for clean water.
VCV, VNRC and 23 other partner organizations held a press event this week to release our Climate Action Plan for 2019: A Blueprint for Progress. This six-step plan lays out climate policies that can be enacted this year, and will make a real difference in helping Vermonters — particularly lower income Vermonters — weatherize their homes, buy efficient vehicles, and hold the state accountable for meeting its climate pollution commitments.
This week the Joint Fiscal Office also released its study of carbon pricing. This impartial economic analysis commissioned by the legislature reiterated what we already know: carbon pricing, paired with policies like weatherization funding and EV incentives, can put us on track to achieve our climate pollution goals. Further, carbon pricing can be structured in a way that will actually put more money in the pockets of low and moderate income Vermonters.
Learn more about what’s happening on energy and climate change with our LIVE Climate Dispatch from the State House, posted every Friday of the legislative session. Click here to view this week’s Dispatch.
This week, testimony was underway on two toxic chemical bills. The Senate Education Committee began working on a bill to ensure that drinking water in all Vermont schools and childcare facilities is tested for toxic lead contamination, and any contaminated water supplies are cleaned up. In the budget address, the Scott administration announced its support for $1.3 million in funding lead testing for all schools, which is a good initial step. We’ll continue working to ensure the bill is protective of children’s health and implemented quickly and effectively.
In the Senate Judiciary Committee, testimony began today on legal remedies to help Vermonters harmed by toxic contamination. Industry lobbyists are already hard at work trying to derail that bill, so we will be standing up to protect Vermonters’ rights and hold toxic polluters accountable.
ACT 250: #Act250
Numerous House Committees began taking testimony on the Act 250 Commission’s report, and its ideas for modernizing that landmark legislation. Conversations will continue next week, on how we ensure Act 250 better protects our natural resources and addresses challenges like climate change, while supporting our working lands and traditional settlement patterns.
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!