This year, the Vermont legislature is contemplating charter changes in two Vermont cities, Montpelier and Winooski, that would allow non-citizens to vote in local elections. The Montpelier charter change passed the House with little difficulty, 103-39. One expected Winooski, with this precedent set, to sail through as well. But it didn’t. There’s a catch – one that should also inspire some second thoughts about Montpelier as that bill goes to the Senate.Read more
The House Commerce and Economic Development Committee took up H.366., An act relating to promoting economic opportunity for BIPOC-owned businesses. The bill is short; the meat of which reads:
“The Department of Economic Development shall design and implement the Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color (BIPOC) Business Development Program, the purposes of which are: (1) to provide BIPOC-owned businesses with technical assistance, including financial literacy, digital literacy, and marketing; (2) to promote State and federal contract bid opportunities to BIPOC owned businesses; and (3) to provide training to business technical assistance providers to reduce bias in service delivery.Read more
During the Town Meeting Week break for the legislature, the Ethan Allen Institute commissioned a scientific poll (450 respondents) to gage where Vermonters are on some of the key issues under consideration.
On February 16, Rep. Hal Colston, (D-Winooski) gave the daily devotional on the virtual floor of the Vermont House. Afterward, Rep. Scott Beck (R-St. Johnsbury) took the unusual action of requesting that it be put in the House journal. The devotional is a diatribe of all things Colston considers racist.Read more
At the January 14 meeting of the Senate Government Operations Committee, Senator Brian Collamore (R-Rutland) asked Vermont Director of Elections, Will Senning, about a woman arrested for election fraud in Texas. The story in question involved on Raquel Rodriquez who was caught engaging in "election fraud, illegal voting, unlawfully assisting people voting by mail and unlawfully possessing an official ballot.” Collamore wanted to know if similar actions, if they occurred in Vermont, could be detected and prosecuted.Read more
The Public Assets Institute (PAI) recently released a report, “The State of Working Vermont 2020.” It provides a good overall picture of the economic stagnation Vermont has experienced over the past several decades.
For 40 years, Vermont created an average of 4,700 new jobs a year. The best year, 1978, saw an increase of more than 12,000 new jobs. But after the turn of the century, job growth flattened. Vermont employers averaged fewer than 1,000 new jobs a year between 2000 and 2019. The high point was 2012, when 3,800 jobs were added.Read more
Meet Your new Climate Government: The Global Warming Solutions Act, enacted over Gov. Scott’s veto, establishes a 23-member Vermont Climate Council to create a Plan directing state agencies to adopt rules to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Fourteen of the 15 legislative appointees are screened and true climate activists. They outnumber the administration appointees, and the lone fuel sector member, 14-9. Hold on to your wallet.Read more
Truth in Accounting ranked Vermont 48th out of 50 states in terms of a Financial Transparency Score. While EAI often discusses what programs should or shouldn't be in state budgets, the results of those budgets are found in a government’s comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). A CAFR is produced annually by governments and is audited by certified public accountants. The ranking is a composite score based on 8 criteria of different weights.Read more