Action Taken by Governor Phil Scott on Legislation - June 7, 2022

07 June 2022

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

On June 7, Governor Scott signed bills of the following titles: 

  • H.727, An act relating to the exploration, formation, and organization of union school districts and unified union school districts
  • H.730, An act relating to alcoholic beverages and the Department of Liquor and Lottery

When signing H.730, Governor Scott issued the following statement:

“This bill takes important steps forward to modernize our liquor laws and support economic growth. I’m thankful for the collaboration between members of the Legislature and the Department of Liquor and Lotter.”

  • H.737, An act relating to setting the homestead property tax yields and the nonhomestead property tax rate

When signing  H.737, Governor Scott issued the following statement:

“For years I’ve discussed the need to provide tax relief for Vermonters, and property taxes in particular contribute to the state’s crisis of affordability. Although my proposal to send every residential property taxpayer a rebate check would have been more impactful, I’m pleased the Legislature at least used a portion of the surplus to provide relief.”

  • H.738, An act relating to technical and administrative changes to Vermont’s tax laws

When signing S.738, Governor Scott issued the following statement:

“I’m happy that this bill makes helpful changes to provide additional tax relief for some student loan borrowers and an important clarification for manufacturers in Vermont. It also will help Communications Union Districts to obtain necessary financing to expand broadband access throughout the state.”

  • H.739, An act relating to capital construction and State bonding budget adjustment
  • H.743, An act relating to amending the charter of the Town of Hardwick
  • H.745, An act relating to the approval of the adoption of the charter of the Town of Montgomery
  • H.746, An act relating to an amendment to the charter of the City of Burlington
  • S.210, An act relating to rental housing health and safety and affordable housing
  • S.226, An act relating to expanding access to safe and affordable housing

When signing S.210 and S.226, Governor Scott issued the following statement:

“Investing in housing has been a top priority of my Administration since day one, and these bills take significant steps forward to bolster Vermont’s housing stock “I want to thank the many people who were involved in passing these bills, from those in the Legislature, my teams across the Administration, community partners, as well as our Congressional Delegation for their work securing much of this funding. Today’s action is a great example of how people of different parties can agree on a fundamental problem, put differences aside, and work together to find solutions that will benefit our state for decades to come.”

A more detailed release on S.210 and S.226 can be viewed by clicking here.

On June 7, Governor Phil Scott returned without signature and vetoed H.728 and sent the following letter to the General Assembly:

June 7, 2022

The Honorable BetsyAnn Wrask
Clerk of the Vermont House of Representatives
115 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05633

Dear Ms. Wrask:

Pursuant to Chapter II, Section 11 of the Vermont Constitution, I am returning H.728, An act relating to opioid overdose response services, without my signature because it directs the Administration to design a plan for the implementation of one or more overdose prevention sites (also known as “safe injection sites”). From my standpoint, it seems counterintuitive to divert resources from proven harm reduction strategies to plan injection sites without clear data on the effectiveness of this approach.

We are all aware the pandemic has had negative impacts on the mental health of Vermonters. This includes concerning increases in drug and alcohol addiction, overdose deaths and suicides. 

Prior to the pandemic, Vermont was making progress treating opioid addiction with our groundbreaking “hub-and-spoke” treatment system and medically assisted treatment of our corrections populations.

We also utilize harm reduction strategies, including syringe programs, distribution of Narcan, fentanyl test strips and comprehensive community education. These are proven, evidence-based approaches to saving lives but we must also continue to focus on preventing addiction in the first place and supporting people through treatment and recovery.

Unfortunately, this bill proposes to shift state policy and financial resources away from prevention and toward unproven strategies such as overdose prevention sites. It’s important to note that what little data exists on this approach is for sites located in large cities, so it’s not applicable to the vast majority of Vermont. Last year, I signed the experimental decriminalization of buprenorphine and am now waiting for the data to show if this had a positive impact on addiction or overdose rates in our state. I believe it’s important to analyze this data before moving to another experimental strategy.

For these reasons, I cannot allow H.728 to go into law, and must return it without my signature pursuant to Chapter II, Section 11 of the Vermont Constitution.

Sincerely,

/s/

Philip B. Scott
Governor

To view a complete list of action on bills passed during the 2022 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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