VPIRG produces a scorecard of key votes at the conclusion of each legislative biennium.
Use these scorecards to find out how your representatives in the Vermont House and Senate voted on important public interest issues including – climate solutions, toxic chemical protections, zero waste issues, broadband expansion and more.
What votes did we score for the 2021-2022 Legislative Scorecards?
VPIRG includes votes that reflect the variety of public interest issues we work on. In many cases, there may be several roll call votes on a particular bill (including potential amendments to the bill). We’ve chosen to include votes that are substantive, have a large effect on the outcome of the legislation, and that we believe provide the most accurate representation of legislators’ stances on key public interest issues.
Continue reading for a list of bills we included in this scorecard, descriptions of the substance of those bills and links to the specific roll call votes that were used in the scorecard.
H.360 – Community Broadband Expansion: This legislation represents the most significant investment ($150 million) in state history to provide world-class broadband internet service to every Vermont resident. And it does so by directing that funding to community-based internet providers with a plan to provide universal service in their territories instead of the same large telecoms that have failed to deliver that access to Vermonters.
H.175 – Modernizing the Bottle Bill: This bill would have updated Vermont’s popular and successful Bottle Bill program by expanding the program to cover other beverages such as water, hard cider, sports drinks, and wine. H.175 would have further modernized the law by ensuring that all communities with 7,000 or more people have at least one redemption center and requiring at least three redemption locations per county. H.175 did pass both chambers but the legislature adjourned before the differences between the House and Senate versions could be resolved.
S.20 – Nation-Leading Ban on PFAS Chemicals in Consumer Products: This legislation bans the sale of common items containing PFAS — including firefighting foam and food packaging. The bill also takes steps to restrict harmful phthalate and bisphenol chemicals from food packaging. S.20 is the first state law in the country to restrict PFAS chemicals from ski wax, as well as carpets and rugs (including aftermarket stain treatments).
S.15 – Universal Vote-By-Mail for General Elections: This legislation requires ballots to be mailed to all active Vermont voters in general elections moving forward. This policy was initially adopted as a one-time emergency measure in 2020 during the early days of the pandemic. The new law makes it permanent. It also preserves in-person voting options and directs the Secretary of State to work with municipalities and interested stakeholders on greater language access for non-English speaking Vermonters. It also creates a ballot curing process so small errors (like failing to sign the inner envelope when returning a ballot) can be fixed by voters.
H.177 – All-Resident Voting in Montpelier: This charter change – which allows legal permanent non-citizen residents of Montpelier to vote in local elections – was passed by Montpelier voters and approved by the legislature but vetoed by the governor. The legislature voted to override the governor and allow Montpelier to implement this pro-democracy reform. A similar charter change was approved by Winooski voters – and that legislation also overcame a veto from the governor.
S.51 – Banning Corporate Campaign Contributions (Senate Only): Senators voting yes voted to prohibit corporations from making direct contributions to political candidates in the state. The federal government banned direct corporate contributions more than 100 years ago and 22 states across the country have done the same. Importantly, the bill would also have improved transparency by requiring greater disclosure from political action committees and it would have identified ways of improving Vermont’s limited public financing system.
PR.5 – Reproductive Liberty Amendment: Legislators voting yes gave final approval to put this amendment to Vermont’s constitution before voters this November. If passed, Proposal 5/Article 22 will enshrine reproductive rights into the Vermont constitution and prevent future state legislatures from restricting Vermonters’ reproductive autonomy.
H.448 – Burlington Clean Heat Charter Change (House Only): In 2021, Burlington voters overwhelmingly supported giving the city the authority to regulate thermal energy systems in buildings, to allow the city to make even more progress on its Net Zero by 2030 climate goals. Vermont communities should be able to take a more active role in reducing climate pollution. Legislators voting yes supported giving Burlington this local control.
S.148 – Environmental Justice Law: Eventually enacted as Act 154, this legislation marks Vermont’s first environmental justice law. It establishes a more-inclusive, public process to improve the state’s efforts to address environmental harms and lack of access to environmental benefits that disproportionately affect communities of color, low-income communities, and others, and requires numerous state Agencies to incorporate environmental justice into their work. It also requires the creation of an environmental justice mapping tool, and will require reporting of where the environmental benefits of state spending do – and do not – flow to.
H.708 – Just Cause Eviction Burlington Charter Change (House Only): Another local charter change overwhelmingly approved by local voters, that was eventually vetoed by Gov. Scott: A veto-override attempt failed in the House by a single vote. Had it passed, H.708 would have prevented arbitrary, retaliatory, or discriminatory evictions by establishing that landlords can only evict renters for specific reasons — known as just causes — such as failure to pay rent.
H.715 – Clean Heat Standard: The Clean Heat Standard was the most significant climate policy the legislature considered in 2022. If enacted, this policy would have started to ratchet down the pollution from Vermont’s thermal sector – the heating of our homes and buildings – which accounts for 34% of the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The policy would make annual pollution-cutting progress by requiring wholesalers and some retailers to fund clean heat and energy programs for their customers. Critically, it required a substantial portion of the benefits of the Clean Heat Standard to accrue to low and moderate income earners, accelerating support to help already-overburdened Vermonters cut their energy costs. This bill was passed by both chambers but vetoed by Gov. Scott. A veto override attempt in the House fell short by a single vote.
S.113 – Medical Monitoring for Victims of Toxic Exposure (Senate Only): This legislation, eventually enacted as Act 93, finally holds polluters accountable and ensures that victims of toxics exposure do not have to bear the cost of medical testing. The legislation provides modest relief for people who have been exposed to dangerous chemical toxins by allowing impacted Vermonters to seek compensation through the courts to cover medical monitoring costs at the polluting entity’s expense.