By Guy Page
The Vermont House of Representatives has introduced 515 bills to date and is on pace to hit the 1,000-bill mark this biennium for the first time this century.
The House introduced 928 bills in the 2017-18 session, including 542 during all of 2017, according to the Vermont Legislature website. That’s the most for a biennium during this century. Most bienniums, the House introduces between 800-900 bills. The Senate typically introduces about a third as many.
This biennium the House is introducing bills at a rate to surpass 2017-18. The House – with Crossover still to come on March 15 and adjournment many weeks away – has already introduced 515 bills. Speaker Mitzi Johnson reportedly asked House members last week to consider how to avoid such a backlog of bills.
Perhaps the most prolific bill-introducer is Rep. Brian Cina (P-Burlington), who has sponsored or co-sponsored 90 bills. Most reflect the Progressive agenda on energy, the environment, prison reform, and women’s rights. However, not all of his bills are agenda-driven. Last year the 1998 Dartmouth grad’s bill H378 was passed into law, establishing the Vermont Artificial Intelligence Task Force to study how Vermont can benefit from this cutting-edge scientific field.
Like Speaker Johnson, Headliners too has struggled with the backlog. This year we’ve tried to read and succinctly describe every bill. But they are just too numerous and other duties call. Some bills introduced since our last listing (H277 and below) appear below. For the rest, see House Bills on the Vermont Legislature website. Hopefully someday we’ll catch up.
H.515 (Rep. Till, Underhill-Jericho) would allow teens 16 and older to receive immunizations without parental consent. Like H238, eliminating the religious exemption for child immunization, H515 limits parental oversight of immunization. Other bills include:
|H.502||Give person with suspended license permission to drive to work or school. Rep. Trieber.|
|H.501||Create state program to distribute fentanyl test strips. Rep. Colburn.|
|H.500||Establish universal home visiting for families with newborn infants. Rep. Yacavone.|
|H.496||Amend hate-crime statutes to prohibit behavior motivated by bias, and create civil penalty for repeated harassment and intimidation of a person. Lead sponsor Rep. Carroll (D-Bennington) replaced Rep. Kiah Morris, who resigned due in part to intimidation of her and her family by a white supremacist.|
|H.492||Establish a homeless bill of rights and prohibit discrimination against people without homes. Rep. Stevens.|
|H.491||Adds “agreement of the parties” to legal grounds for annulment of marriage. Rep. Chase.|
|H.490||Gives law enforcement authority to ANR environmental enforcement officers. Rep. Noyes.|
|H.488||Study creation of single, statewide school district, similar to Hawaii model. Rep. Rachelson.|
|H.487||Expedite Act 250 permit process. Rep. Fagan.|
|H.483||Create Vermont Private Attorneys General Act, whereby private citizens and whistleblowers could sue workplaces on behalf of Vermont Dept. of Labor. Rep. Colburn.|
|H.478||Consider State apology and reparations for the institution of slavery. Rep. Cina.|
|H.476||Prohibit Department of Motor Vehicles sharing information regarding immigration status. Rep. Colburn.|
|H.474||Provide legislator compensation for maximum 18 weeks per year. Rep. Burditt.|
|H.472||Increase from 30 days to one year length of time holder of driver’s license from another country may drive in Vermont. Rep. Burke.|
|H.470||Require legislative OK for police to use facial recognition software, DNA testing, other advanced ID tech. Rep. Rachelson.|
|H.468||Create 10% tax rebate on residential solar panels. Rep. Ralph.|
|H.465||Fine/imprison police for racial profiling. Rep. Cina.|
|H.447||Impose 1% tax on state retiree allowances to reduce unfunded liability. Rep. Browning.|
|H.446||Impose 5% tax on health clinic charges to establish Rural Health Commission. Rep. Jickling.|
|H.444||Require ranked choice voting in all non-federal primary elections. Rep. Sibilia.|
|H.436||Permit recognition of international wills. Rep. Hashim.|
|H.418||Allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in municipal elections. Rep. Donovan.|
|H.382||Eliminate criminal sentence of life without parole. Rep. Cina.|
|H.381||Require racial impact statements on selected legislation. Rep. Cina.|
Statehouse Headliners is intended primarily to educate, not advocate. It is e-mailed to an ever-growing list of interested Vermonters, public officials and media. Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership; the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare; and Physicians, Families and Friends for a Better Vermont.