GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT SIGNS LAW PROMOTING RACIAL JUSTICE REFORM
Montpelier, Vt. – Today Governor Phil Scott signed legislation to spotlight and advance racial justice reforms in Vermont. The bill, H.308, aims to address racial disparities in the criminal and juvenile justice system.
The newly signed law creates an advisory panel charged with providing recommendations to address racial disparities in statewide criminal and juvenile justice. Further, it drives the development of a strategy to address racial disparities within state systems of education, labor and employment, access to housing and healthcare, and economic development, and requires review of the model Fair and Impartial Policing Policy.
“I am proud to sign this bill into law, taking a step forward in addressing larger systemic issues around disparate racial impact and implicit bias, and I thank those who contributed to its passage,” said Gov. Scott. “While there is much more work to be done, Vermont is yet again demonstrating our commitment to working towards more equitable, fair and just practices and system reforms.”
The bill was sponsored by Representatives Martin LaLonde, Kevin Christie, Diana Gonzalez, Thomas Burditt, Charles Conquest, Alice Emmons, Maxine Grad, Kiah Morris, and Janssen Willhoit.
"This bill is historic, crucial and powerful in its comprehensive approach to addressing racial disparities and implicit bias in our justice system,” said Rep. Morris. “The coalition of Gov. Scott's administrative team, the Attorney General's Office, Senate and House leadership, law enforcement and nearly three dozen agencies, is a testament to the willingness to tackle some of our most difficult and damaging social justice challenges. As a bill sponsor, I thank Gov. Scott for supporting this bill and responding to the clear voices of Vermonters who agree that justice cannot wait."
Governor Scott signed the bill into law on Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Every state, local, county, and municipal law enforcement agency must adopt each component of new model fair and impartial policing policy by March 1, 2018. The remainder of the bill is effective upon passage.
For more information, visit http://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2018/H.308.