VCV Priority Bills Advance Through Key Committees
This week, several VCV priority bills advanced through key committees. These bills will better protect wetlands, expand the Bottle Bill, and implement mail-in voting during all general elections. Read the details below!
Meanwhile, the Vermont Climate Council continues its work to build out the subcommittees where much of the work of creating the state’s Climate Action Plan will happen. We will be working with the Council in a variety of ways, including pushing to ensure those subcommittees include diverse perspectives and expertise, and that as many people as possible can help shape a thoughtful and strategic climate plan for Vermont.
At the virtual State House, progress continued on VCV priority issues:
On climate change, the Senate Committee on Natural Resources & Energy continued working on an effort to dramatically expand weatherization, including introducing a committee bill. The Transportation Committees continued working on programs to provide cleaner and more affordable transportation solutions. VCV also continues to advocate for key climate programs to be funded in the state budget this year – read our full coalition letter at this link.
Watch this week’s Climate Dispatch where we are joined by Representative Laura Sibilia, Vice Chair of the House Committee on Energy & Technology, to learn more about legislative efforts to expand access to broadband.
The House Committee on Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife unanimously passed a bill (H.108) this week that will help protect wetlands by clarifying that they are addressed in Vermont’s water laws, and by requiring that projects with large wetland impacts undergo a rigorous analysis and avoid impacts when alternatives exist. The bill is expected to be voted on by the full House after Town Meeting week.
Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife Committee passed out a bill to modernize and expand the state’s Bottle Bill (H.175) on an 8-3 vote. This bill would increase recycling and create green jobs, and is another step forward in our work to reduce plastic pollution.
We are urging the Senate Health & Welfare Committee to begin working on VCV priority legislation 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. We look forward to testifying when the Legislature reconvenes after its break next week.
We continue to monitor for action on Act 250, and will be working to ensure that any updates taken up by the Legislature this year will help support healthy forests and sustainable outdoor recreation, protect river corridors, and better integrate planning and equity and diversity principles.
This week the Senate Government Operations Committee passed out legislation on a 4-1 vote to implement universal mail-in voting for all general elections in Vermont. This bill will help make it easier for all eligible Vermonters to vote.
Town Meeting Day is coming up on Tuesday, March 2nd! If you have your ballot in-hand, we recommend dropping off your ballot at a dropbox in your community, or going on Town Meeting Day to cast your ballot. If you have any questions about how to ensure your vote will count, contact your Town Clerk for more information. Find your Town Clerk’s contact information here: sos.vermont.gov/elections/town-clerks