in the State House of Representatives
on May 3, 2022, by a vote of
Purpose: To remove language in Burlington’s city charter stating: “to restrain and suppress houses of ill fame and disorderly houses, and to punish common prostitutes and persons consorting therewith.”
In 2021, 70% of Burlingtonians voted in favor of the measure, versus 30% of voters against. Prostitution would still be in violation of state criminal laws, but it does “remove the City’s authority to regulate” prostitution. However, this would have little impact on Burlington police, which had not prosecuted individuals for prostitution in living memory. 7 of 255 municipalities in Vermont currently punish prostitution.
Analysis: Those voting YES wanted to support Burlington citizens’ decision. They seek to affirm the rights of individuals to their own bodies, while eradicating archaic and sexist language adopted 100 years ago.
Those voting NO fear that allowing Burlington to remove this language is a sign that state officials and law enforcement are turning a blind eye to prostitution and sex trafficking. It is a slippery slope to legalized prostitution in Vermont.
As Recorded in the House Journal, Tuesday, May 3, 2022: “Shall the bill be read a third time?, was decided in the affirmative. Yeas, 105. Nays, 33” (Read the Journal, p. 1591-92).
Sally Achey (R - Middletown Springs) – NO
Paul Lefebvre (R – Newark) – NO