VCV Priority Bills Pass the Senate
We’re still in the midst of “crossover” time when bills need to move out of either the Vermont House or Senate to stay on track for potential enactment this year.
We saw forward progress on several VCV priority bills this week! Bills passed the Senate that will better protect Vermonters from toxic PFAS chemicals and expand access to voting, and efforts continued via the budget and transportation bill to increase funding to climate and clean water initiatives.
On climate change, the House Transportation Committee has passed out a bill which increases investments in a range of programs that will provide cleaner and more affordable transportation solutions. Check out our Clean Transportation briefing to learn more. The “T-bill” will be on the House floor next week. The Senate Appropriations Committee began discussions around weatherization. The House Appropriations Committee continued its work on the budget and stimulus funding, which creates exciting opportunities to ramp up weatherization programs, increase clean water funding, and much more.
Watch this week’s Climate Dispatch where we are joined by Representative Tim Briglin, Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Technology to hear about issues his committee is working on.
Meanwhile, the Vermont Climate Council’s subcommittees started mapping out their plans for the portions of the state’s Climate Action Plan that will be in their purview. We are working with the Council in a variety of ways, including pushing to ensure broad public participation to help shape an equitable and forward-looking climate plan for Vermont.
Today, the Senate unanimously passed out 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. This bill will now head to the House for their consideration.
Previously, the full House voted in strong support of a bill (H.108) 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 will next be up for discussion in the Senate.
The House Committee on Ways & Means has been considering a bill to modernize and expand the state’s Bottle Bill (H.175). This bill would increase recycling and create green jobs, and is another step forward in our work to reduce plastic pollution. We hope that bill will move forward soon.
Yesterday, the Senate passed a bill that will implement universal mail-in voting for all general elections in Vermont. The bill moved forward with a 27-3 vote – click here to see how your Senators voted. If you want to learn more about this bill and related issues, check out this recording of a Conversation on Democracy panel discussion that Lauren Hierl participated in yesterday evening alongside Secretary of State Jim Condos, Senator Jeanette White and Rep. Sarah Copeland Hanzas, the Chairs of the Senate and House Committees on Government Operations.