Montpelier, Vt. - Governor Phil Scott announced action on the following bills, passed by the General Assembly.
On June 12, Governor Scott signed bills of the following titles:
- H.31, An act relating to aquatic nuisance control
- H.67, An act relating to household products containing hazardous substances
- H.227, An act relating to the Vermont Uniform Power of Attorney Act
- H.414, An act relating to establishing an unused drug repository for Vermont
- H.479, An act relating to the Transportation Program and miscellaneous changes to laws related to transportation
When signing H.479, Governor Scott issued the following statement:
“This year’s T-Bill is the largest ever, making significant investments in Vermont’s infrastructure. It includes over $140 million for paving projects, covering more than 450 miles of improvements; $18.2 million for bicycle, pedestrian, and transportation alternatives program funding, going to 55 construction projects and the design of 37 additional projects across 77 Vermont communities; historic funding at $48.8 million for public transit; and $43 million in rail projects. It also takes important steps to reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector by investing $27.9 million across multiple efforts, including expanding EV charging.
“I want to thank members of the transportation committees, especially committee chairs Senator Mazza and Representative Coffey, for their collaboration with my Administration on many initiatives. The investments made in this bill will benefit Vermonters for years to come.”
On June 12, Governor Scott allowed H.126, An act relating to community resilience and biodiversity protection, to become law without his signature and sent the following letter to the General Assembly:
June 12, 2023
The Honorable Betsy Ann Wrask
Clerk of the Vermont House of Representatives
115 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05633
Dear Ms. Wrask:
Today I’m allowing H.126, An act relating to community resilience and biodiversity protection, to become law without my signature.
I appreciate the General Assembly worked with my Administration to address the concerns I raised last year in my veto message regarding H.606, An act relating to community resilience and biodiversity protection. This bill changed in ways that attempt to better align with ongoing conservation work in Vermont.
Unfortunately, in the effort to achieve flexibility, this bill incorporates findings which muddy the purpose and uses definitions so broad and vague as to be virtually meaningless. Which led me to consider a veto because it could be read to mean anything to anybody.
Instead, I’m letting this bill go into law because this bill puts the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) in a stronger position to direct how state and federal conservation funding is targeted and prioritized in the future. ANR will oversee the efforts of the Vermont Housing Conservation Board (VHCB) as it works in partnership with ANR to develop inventories as well as strategy and implementation methods.
Importantly, ANR will be the clear lead in the effort to achieve our conservation goals with the understanding future growth is necessary and inevitable in Vermont.
This bill anticipates the need for housing and for the conservation plan to incorporate Smart Growth principles to ensure future conservation investment does not impede the buildout of areas the state has designated for growth. Balancing land protection and housing is core to the State’s future and this bill will allow ANR to work closely with VHCB to ensure this critical balance in the planning process.
Finally, ANR is positioned to interpret the bill’s unusually unclear definitions, through rulemaking if necessary, to allow a mix of strategies to include permanent tools like land purchases and conservation easements, as well as other land protection mechanisms that help achieve the bill’s goal of an ecologically functional and connected landscape such as the State’s Current Use program and other innovative market-based conservation tools.
The bottom line is I’m allowing this bill to go into law because in this case, the Legislature has appropriately given this task to an Agency of the Executive Branch that will be accountable to Vermont’s taxpayers.
Philip B. Scott
To view a complete list of action on bills passed during the 2023 legislative session, click here.