Action Taken by Governor Phil Scott on Legislation - June 1, 2021

01 June 2021

Montpelier, Vt. - Governor Phil Scott announced action on the following bills, passed by the General Assembly.

 On June 1, Governor Scott signed bills of the following titles:      

  • S.62, An act relating to employee incentives, technical education, and unemployment insurance
  • H.88, An act relating to the use value appraisal program
  • H.135, An act relating to the State Ethics Commission
  • H.140, An act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the Town of Williston
  • H.420, An act relating to miscellaneous agricultural subjects
  • H.434, An act relating to establishing the Agricultural Innovation Board
  • H.445, An act relating to approval of an amendment to the charter of the Town of Underhill
  • H.171, An act relating to child care systems and financing  

Governor Scott issued the following statement when signing this bill:

“Expanding Vermont’s focus on early care and learning has been a top priority for my administration since my first year in office. Signing H.171 into law represents another important step forward as we continue our work in this critical area. In partnership with the General Assembly, we’ve increased funding for childcare, expanded access for more families and created a simplified family co-payment. This bill also makes significant investments in workforce supports, including a student loan repayment program, scholarships for prospective early childhood providers and need-based scholarships for individuals already employed at regulated, privately operated center-based childcare programs or family childcare homes. We know there is still more to do, so I look forward to continuing to work with our partners to ensure every child and family has access to high quality and affordable childcare.”

  • H.225, An act relating to possession of a therapeutic dosage of buprenorphine

 In signing this bill, Governor Scott signed an executive order, which can be viewed by clicking here, to ensure the state tracks, measures and can react to the impact of this legislation and sent the following letter the General Assembly:

Dear Legislators:

Today, I signed H.225, An act relating to possession of a therapeutic dosage of buprenorphine, despite concerns on whether there is a need for this legislation given the availability of substance misuse treatment options through our proven hub and spoke system.  I am concerned about the lack of data on decriminalizing buprenorphine and its effectiveness in reducing opiate overdoses is unproven. The impact of diverted medication and its use outside of treatment is also a concern, given the critical support the hub and spoke system provides, and with the difficulty prescribers may face in their work to ensure successful treatment.

However, we know addiction is a chronic illness and continue to see the devastating impacts on individuals, their families, and communities. Although I remain skeptical, I signed this bill because it is well-intentioned and offers another potential approach to reduce the impacts of substance use disorder. Most importantly, from my perspective, was the Legislature’s decision to include an endpoint for this law, which will sunset on July 1, 2023, providing experts the opportunity to assess the effectiveness of this initiative.

It is important to me that we do not unravel previous progress, increase abuse of diverted drugs, or jeopardize the success of the hub and spoke system. 

Attached to this letter please find Executive Order 05-21, directing the chief prevention officer to assemble a task force charged with setting performance metrics and collecting and measuring the data needed to assess the effectiveness of decriminalizing buprenorphine.

Sincerely,

/s/

Philip B. Scott
Governor

  • H.430, An act relating to eligibility for Dr. Dynasaur-like coverage for all income-eligible children and pregnant individuals regardless of immigration status

Governor Scott issued the following statement when signing this bill:

“This session, we have taken important steps to address inequities in our health care system. By providing access to critical health care services for children and pregnant women who are not eligible for Medicaid because of their immigration status, we further that work. Every child living in Vermont deserves access to care and the ability to achieve their full potential. I’m proud to sign this bill into law.”

  • H.438, An act relating to capital construction and State bonding

Governor Scott issued the following statement when signing this bill:

“This bill makes strategic, long-term investments that ensure the continued operation of government and better outcomes for Vermonters. From basic investments needed to maintain our state buildings, to clean water projects and improvements to outdoor recreation, this bill touches every Vermonter in some way.

“I’m happy that the General Assembly supported our effort to double the investment in the Building Communities grant program, which has been helping to complete recreation, human services and economic development projects in towns and communities across the state.

“Replacing the temporary Middlesex secure residential facility with a new facility in Colchester, also included in this bill, will help close gaps in our mental health system, take pressure off emergency rooms and allow us to offer a better standard of care for people in transition. A modern courthouse in Newport will result in safer and more efficient spaces and help improve access to our justice system. And commencing with the replacement of the Women’s Correctional Facility is an important step toward bringing our correctional system into the 21st century.

“This bill also helps strengthen our outdoor recreation sector, including building more of the popular and more accessible rustic cabins in our state parks, along with major investments to improve trailheads, boat launches and other facilities, will provide better options for visitors and Vermonters to access the outdoors—something we’ve all come to appreciate more in the past year.

“These are just some examples of what this bill accomplished, and I want to thank the institutions committees for their important work.”

On June 1, Governor Scott returned without signature and vetoed bills of the following titles:      

  • H.177, An act relating to approval of an amendment to the charter of the City of Montpelier

Click here to view the H.177 veto letter

  • H.227, An act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the City of Winooski

Click here to view the H.227 veto letter          

The reasons outlined in these letters are included below:

“This is an important policy discussion that deserves further consideration and debate. Allowing a highly variable town-by-town approach to municipal voting creates inconsistency in election policy, as well as separate and unequal classes of residents potentially eligible to vote on local issues. I believe it is the role of the Legislature to establish clarity and consistency on this matter. This should include defining how municipalities determine which legal residents may vote on local issues, as well as specifying the local matters they may vote on. Returning these bills provides the opportunity to do this important work. 

“For these reasons I am returning this legislation without my signature pursuant to Chapter II, Section 11 of the Vermont Constitution. I understand these charter changes are well-intentioned, but I ask the Legislature to revisit the issue of non-citizen voting in a more comprehensive manner and develop a statewide policy or a uniform template and process for those municipalities wishing to grant the right of voting in local elections to all legal residents.”

To view a complete list of action on bills passed during the 2021 legislative session, click here.

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Contact Information

Office of Governor Phil Scott
109 State Street, Pavilion
Montpelier, VT 05609
Phone: 802 828-3333 (TTY: 800 649-6825)
Fax: 802 828-3339

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