Roll Call! House Declares Racism a “Public Health Emergency” (135-8), 2021

JRH.6 - JOINT RESOLUTION RELATING TO RACISM AS A PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY

PASSED
in the State House of Representatives
on May 12, 2021, by a vote of
135-8

Purpose: The purpose of this vote is two-fold. First, to declare white-against-black racism (and to a lesser degree, white-against-minority racism) a public health emergency, encompassing every area of life in Vermont. “Stark and persistent health inequities (are) caused by systemic racism.”

Second, our legislators dedicate themselves to the “deep work of eradicating systemic racism throughout the State, actively fighting racist practices … grounded in science and data.” They hope to achieve “more just and equitable systems” in Vermont.

Analysis: The resolution claims Covid-19 is a public health emergency which has worsened and exposed the racism emergency. It cherry picks data claiming black Vermonters are nearly 5 times more likely to get Covid as white Vermonters in Vermont, and “nearly three times as likely to die” in the US. A Vermont-to-Vermont comparison reveals the politically inconvenient reality. The resolution also lists “social determinants” which have made these supposed health inequities worse, such as home ownership and poverty disparities.

Many of those voting YES believe white Vermonters are guilty of intentional and unintentional racism toward minorities, resulting in “systemic” racism that severely harms the very bodies of minorities, especially blacks. They cite 100,000 more black Americans dying annually due to chronic diseases caused by biological “fight or flight responses” rooted in racism. The racism emergency is equated with the scale of the Covid-19 emergency, suggesting that massive amounts of money (and possible restrictions on free speech) from Vermont taxpayers will be necessary to battle such an unyielding foe. A race-based 'reparations for slavery' income transfer from whites to blacks was brought up during debate. Some supporters equated questioning the resolution with speaking “the words of privilege and white supremacy.” Others voting YES were less supportive of the resolution’s strong language but wanted to stand against racism.

Those voting NO believe that prioritizing racial disparities over other types of social disparities increases the chances that unwieldy proposals for removing racism will hurt Vermonters of all races. Seeing all injustices through the lens of racial disparity may lead legislators to treat other differences with secondary importance. The income gap between Vermont counties to name one example. The sheer number of educational and income inequities across Vermont raises the question of what rises to the level of emergency. Every conceivable inequity between groups of Vermonters could become an emergency, and the government’s responsibility to ‘fix.’ This leaves a limited scope of action for communities and Vermonters can act to reduce inequities within civil society by themselves, forcing every effort to spearheaded by threats from government.

As Recorded in the House Journal, Wednesday, May 12, 2021: “Shall the House adopt the resolution on its part? Rep. Pugh of South Burlington demanded the Yeas and Nays, which demand was sustained by the Constitutional number. The Clerk proceeded to call the roll and the question, Shall the House adopt the resolution on its part?, was decided in the affirmative. Yeas, 135. Nays, 8.” (Read the Journal, p. 1113 - 1116)

Watch the Part 1 and Part 2 of the floor debate on Youtube.

These roll call reports are designed to help citizens understand how their elected representatives vote on key issues. The bills may or may not eventually become law. Click on the link to the bill page at the top of this post for an up to date status on the bill.

How They Voted
(Click on your Rep’s name to send an email)

Sally Achey (R - Middletown Springs) – NO
Janet Ancel (D – Calais) – YES
Peter Anthony (D – Barre) – YES
Norman Arrison (D - Weathersfield) – YES
Sarita Austin (D – Colchester) – YES
John Bartholomew (D – Hartland) – YES
Lynn Batchelor (R – Derby) – ABSENT
Scott Beck (R – St. Johnsbury) – YES
Matthew Birong (D – Vergennes) – YES
Alyssa Black (D - Essex) – YES
Tiffany Bluemle (D - Burlington) – YES
Thomas Bock (D – Chester) – YES
Seth Bongartz (D - Manchester) – YES
Michelle Bos-Lun (D - Westminster) – YES
Erin Brady (D - Williston) – YES
Patrick Brennan (R – Colchester) – ABSENT
Timothy Briglin (D – Thetford) – YES
Jana Brown (D – Richmond) – YES
Nelson Brownell (D – Pownal) – YES
Jessica Brumsted (D – Shelburne) – YES
Thomas Burditt (R – West Rutland) – YES
Mollie Burke (P/D – Brattleboro) – YES
Elizabeth Burrows (P/D - West Windsor) – YES
Scott Campbell (D – St. Johnsbury) – YES
Bill Canfield (R – Fair Haven) – YES
Seth Chase (D – Colchester) –  YES
Kevin “Coach” Christie (D – Hartford) – YES
Brian Cina (P/D – Burlington) – YES
Sara Coffey (D – Guilford) – YES
Selene Colburn (P/D – Burlington) – YES
Hal Colston (D – Winooski) – YES
Peter Conlon (D – Cornwall) – YES
Sarah Copeland-Hanzas (D – Bradford) – YES
Timothy Corcoran (D – Bennington) – YES
Mari Cordes (D/P – Lincoln) – YES
Lawrence Cupoli (R – Rutland) – YES
Lynn Dickinson (R – St. Albans) – YES
Karen Dolan (D - Essex) –  YES
Kari Dolan (D – Waitsfield) – YES
Anne Donahue (R – Northfield) – YES
Kate Donnally (D - Hyde Park) – YES
David Durfee (D – Shaftsbury) – YES
Caleb Elder (D – Starksboro) – YES
Alice Emmons (D – Springfield) – YES
Peter Fagan (R – Rutland) – YES
Martha Feltus (R – Lyndon) – YES
John Gannon (D – Wilmington) –  YES
Leslie Goldman (D - Bellows Falls) – YES
Kenneth Goslant (R – Northfield) – YES
Maxine Grad (D – Moretown) – YES
Rodney Graham (R – Williamstown) – YES
James Gregoire (R – Fairfield) –  YES
Lisa Hango (R – Birkshire) – YES
James Harrison (R – Chittenden) – YES
Robert Helm (R – Fair Haven) – ABSENT
Mark Higley (R – Lowell) – NO
Robert Hooper (D – Burlington) – YES
Mary Hooper (D – Montpelier) – YES
Philip Hooper (D – Randolph) – YES
Lori Houghton (D – Essex) – YES
Mary Howard (D – Rutland) – YES
Kathleen James (D – Manchester) –  YES
Stephanie Jerome (D – Brandon) – YES
Kimberly Jessup (D – Middlesex) – YES
John Killacky (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Charles Kimbell (D – Woodstock) – YES
Warren Kitzmiller (D – Montpelier) – YES
Emilie Kornheiser (D – Brattleboro) – YES
Jill Krowinski (D – Burlington) – PRESIDING
Robert LaClair (R – Barre) – NO
Martin LaLonde (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Diane Lanpher (D – Vergennes) – YES
Paul Lefebvre (R – Newark) – YES
Samantha Lefebvre (R - Orange) – YES
Felisha Leffler (R – Enosburgh) – YES

William Lippert (D – Hinesburg) – YES
Emily Long (D – Newfane) – YES
Michael Marcotte (R – Coventry) – YES
Marcia Martel (R – Waterford) – ABSENT
Paul Martin (R - Franklin) – YES
James Masland (D – Thetford) – YES
Christopher Mattos (R – Milton) – YES
Michael McCarthy (D – St. Albans) – YES

Curtis McCormack (D – Burlington) – ABSENT
Patricia McCoy (R – Poultney) – YES
James McCullough (D – Williston) – YES
Francis McFaun (R – Barre) – YES
Leland Morgan (R – Milton) – YES
Michael Morgan (R - Milton) – YES
Kristi Morris (D – Springfield) – YES
Mary Morrissey (R – Bennington) – ABSENT
Michael Mrowicki (D – Putney) – YES
Emma Mulvaney-Stanak (D - Burlington) - YES
Barbara Murphy (I – Fairfax) – YES
Logan Nicoll (D – Ludlow) – YES
Michael Nigro (D - Bennington) –YES
Robert Norris (R - Sheldon) - YES
Terry Norris (I – Shoreham) – YES
William Notte (D – Rutland) – YES
Daniel Noyes (D – Wolcott) – YES
John O’Brien (D – Tunbridge) – YES
Carol Ode (D – Burlington) – YES
“Woody” Page (R – Newport) – YES
Kelly Pajala (I – Londonderry) – YES
John Palasik (R – Milton) – YES
Joseph Parsons (R – Newbury) – NO
Carolyn Partridge (D – Windham) – YES
Avram Patt (D – Worcester) – YES
Henry Pearl (D - Danville) –YES
Arthur Peterson (R - Clarendon) – NO
Ann Pugh (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Barbara Rachelson (D/P – Burlington) – YES
Marybeth Redmond (D – Essex) – YES
Lucy Rogers (D – Waterville) – YES
Carl Rosenquist (R – Georgia) – NO
Larry Satcowitz (D - Randolph) – YES
Brian Savage (R – Swanton) – YES
Robin Scheu (D – Middlebury) – YES
Heidi Scheuermann (R – Stowe) – YES
Patrick Seymour (R – Sutton) – YES
Charles “Butch” Shaw (R – Pittsford) – YES
Amy Sheldon (D – Middlebury) – YES
Laura Sibilia (I – Dover) – YES
Katherine Sims (D - Craftsbury) – YES
Taylor Small (P/D - Winooski) – YES
Brian Smith (R – Derby) – YES
Harvey Smith (R – New Haven) – NO
Trevor Squirrell (D – Underhill) – YES
Gabrielle Stebbins (D - Burlington) -YES 
Thomas Stevens (D – Waterbury) – YES
Vicki Strong (R – Albany) – YES
Linda Joy Sullivan (D – Dorset) – YES
Heather Suprenant (D - Barnard) – YES
Curt Taylor (D – Colchester) – YES
Thomas Terenzini (R – Rutland) – NO
George Till (D – Jericho) – YES
Tristan Toleno (D – Brattleboro) – YES
Casey Toof (R – St. Albans) – YES
Maida Townsend (D – South) – YES
Joseph “Chip” Troiano (D – Stannard) – YES
Tanya Vyhovsky (P/D - Essex) – YES
Tommy Walz (D – Barre) – YES

Kathryn Webb (D – Shelburne) – YES
Kirk White (P/D - Bethel) – YES
Rebecca White (D – Hartford) – YES
Dane Whitman (D - Bennington) – YES
Terri Lynn Williams (R - Granby) – YES
Theresa Wood (D – Waterbury) – YES
David Yacovone (D – Morristown) – YES
Michael Yantachka (D – Charlotte) – YES


 

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  • Colin DuPee
    commented 2021-06-05 00:06:41 -0400
    Ah yes, we can all see the Emperor’s racism. It’s just definitely so very, very real. We all think so.
  • David Flemming
    published this page in Roll Call Votes 2021-05-17 16:31:07 -0400