Two things are happening this week. Vermont is preparing to sign onto the California Clean Cars II program, which will phase out and ultimately ban internal combustion engine vehicle sales by 2035, requiring that 100% of new cars sold be Zero Emission Vehicles. And Vermont electric utilities are asking Vermonters not to charge their electric cars so as not to overload our electrical grid during the current heatwave. (VBM)
With discussion of how to teach American racial history reaching a fever a pitch at school board meetings across America, there are lessons to be learned from a recent exchange in St. Albans. While progressive leaders like to frame the discussion as a choice between reflecting on racial history inside and outside of schools (usually with a Black Lives Matter flavor) or not reflecting at all, the choice is more complicated than that.
The climate warriors are loudly bemoaning the Supreme Court’s decision in West Virginia v Environmental Protection Agency. The case involved a sweeping bureaucratic edict from the EPA to force electric power plants to cut way back on carbon dioxide emissions.
Depending on what study you choose to look at, Vermont’s business climate is either slightly below average or quite close to last in the US. Just a few days ago, CNBC gave Vermont a #31 ranking. While this rank is a little below average, it is far above where the Tax Foundation placed Vermont just last December: #43. So did Vermont’s Legislature somehow manage to pass enough business-discouraging legislation between December and July that we fell so many spots? While there was some legislation that certainly didn’t help, the immediate answer is “no.”
President Biden signed an executive order directing agencies to take steps to protect access to abortions and the privacy of patients seeking reproductive health services. The order also directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make reports and launch a public education campaign on access to reproductive health services.
The 2022 legislature did a respectable job avoiding the dangers of too much money to spend, but its most notable outcomes were Gov. Scott’s judicious vetoes of Act 250 (non) reform, making half the state into a conservation zone, and stalling the Vermont Climate Council’s flagship carbon tax scheme, the Clean Heat Standard.
At the June 6th Windsor Co. Democrats - State Senate Candidate Forum, all three sitting legislators vying for election stated directly or implied heavily that their response to recent Supreme Court decisions (rulings that school choice programs like the one Vermont has had for over a century and a half cannot discriminate against religious schools) would be to end our tuitioning system entirely.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Maine tuition case opens the door to every K-12 student having the right to opt out of an unsatisfactory public school and attend the independent school of their choice – sectarian or nonsectarian – at public expense. There will still be public schools, but they’ll have to compete for pupils by being responsive to the needs of pupils and parents.
An important provision in the compromise firearms violence package being debated in the U.S. Senate is the extreme risk protection order, or red flag law. At last report the Senate package contains millions of dollars for states to create red flag laws, designed to put firearms out of the reach of individuals deemed likely to use them to harm others.
One of my favorite organizations is Institute for Justice, that defends citizens whose property rights are trampled by governments. One recent case is that of Vicki Baker, who lives in a suburb of Dallas.