Commentary: Seven Top Legislative Issues of 2023
The newly elected super-majority Democratic House and Senate are working at flank speed to pass the majority’s agenda, that Gov. Scott has no power to veto. Here are seven leading issues. There will be more.
Commentary: Return of the Hidden Milk Tax
For over 40 years Sen. Bobby Starr has battled to get state or federal governments to set and enforce over-order (premium) prices paid to dairy farmers. His latest bill is a “hidden milk tax” that consumers would pay, but never know why.
Commentary: Clean heat ‘carbon tax’ 2.0 has a new name and number
Last year H.715, an act relating to the Clean Heat Standard, which would have mandated that fossil-based heating fuel dealers pay a carbon-based “credit” fee for selling their products, was vetoed by Gov. Phil Scott and that veto was sustained by one vote (99-51) in the state House of Representatives. Democrats and Progressives are hoping that newly elected supermajorities in both the House and Senate, along with a new name for what is essentially a carbon tax on home heating fuels, will ensure that that the Clean Heat Standard will become law this year.
Commentary: The Affordable Heating Fraud
Disreputable politicians all too often assign deceptive labels to legislation to mislead voters who don’t pay close attention. A deplorable example of such mislabeling is the forthcoming Affordable Heating Act.
Commentary: Expand, don’t restrict school choice options
For over 150 years, Vermont has operated the most equitable and dynamic school choice program in the nation. Any parents of any children in towns/districts that do not have a public school (some 90 Vermont towns) can choose any public or approved independent school to send their child with an amount of money following the child that is competitive with, if less than, the cost to educate that child in the public school system.
Commentary: A Constitutional Right Under Attack
One day in 1903 a police officer in Rutland accosted Andrew Rosenthal. We don’t know why he was accosted – whether he was in the act of committing a crime or otherwise attracted attention. In any case he was arrested and cited for “carrying a pistol loaded with powder and bullets, concealed on his person” without written permission from the mayor or chief of police, in violation of a city gun control ordinance.
Commentary: Third of Climate Proposals Unscientific and Unaffordable
When I heard that David Hill of the Energy Futures Group was scheduled to present its model to Vermont’s Climate Council two months ago, I was skeptical. The Climate Council’s plan, released in December 2021, seemed to rely heavily on a “Social Cost of Carbon” to justify future climate proposals.
Commentary: Return of the Johnstown Flood
Searching for an arresting metaphor for the approaching legislative session, I found a compelling example, as described by contemporaneous reports.
Commentary: Deadline almost here for new climate action rules
Vermont’s Global Warming Solutions Act gives statutory authority for rulemaking to the Agency of Natural Resources. The secretary of that agency has until Dec. 1, 2022, to adopt rules to meet the 2025 emissions reductions requirements in the Vermont Climate Action Plan.
Commentary: Three Useful Election Law Improvements
With the 2022 election out of the way, it’s a good time to take a serious look at proposals for improving election laws. Here are three of my longtime favorites.