Legislation to better protect kids from toxics is now on its way to Governor Scott’s desk for consideration following the Legislature’s final passage of S.55 on May 22. If signed into law, the legislation will grant the Commissioner of Health greater authority to protect kids from dangerous chemicals in children’s products and collect better information on specific toxins present in children’s products.
Protecting children from chemicals that could harm them shouldn’t be a controversial issue, but the road to victory hasn’t been an easy one.
Four years ago, VPIRG backed a bill in the Senate that was very similar to today’s S.55. The measure failed after then-Lt. Governor Phil Scott sided with industry lobbyists to deliver a tie-breaking vote to kill the bill.
The battle to protect children from harmful toxins continued in 2017 and 2018. Last year the Senate and House passed the legislation, only to see it vetoed by Gov. Scott. While an attempted override passed in the Senate, it fell just 4 votes short in the House.
This session, despite continued opposition from chemical manufacturers and industry lobbyists, the bill passed the Senate 25-5 and the House 137-4. Now, with few legislators willing to publicly oppose a bill to protect kids, it’s looking like one way or another, this will be the year that Vermont’s children finally get the protection from toxic chemicals that they deserve.