Roll Call: House approves constitutional amendment removing references to slavery

Editor’s note: Roll Call is published by the Ethan Allen Institute.

PR.2, Declaration of Rights Clarifying the Prohibition on Slavery and Indentured Servitude, passed in the State House of Representatives on February 4, 2022, by a vote of 139-3.

Purpose: Proposal 2 proposes to amend Article 1 of the state Constitution to read: “That all persons are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent, and unalienable rights, amongst which are the enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety; therefore slavery and indentured servitude in any form are prohibited.” This was the final vote in a four vote process (two in the Senate and two in the House) over two legislative sessions that places the Amendment on the general ballot for voter approval or rejection.

Analysis: Those voting YES believe it is necessary to clarify the illegality of slavery in the state Constitution.

Those voting NO believe this is an unnecessary act of “virtue signaling” that has no impact on the Vermonters living today, but disrespects and to some extent “erases” Vermont’s history as the first state to outlaw slavery in the Union.

As Recorded in the House Journal, Friday, February 4, 2022. “Shall the House adopt the constitutional proposal in concurrence?, was decided in the affirmative. Yeas, 139. Nays, 3. (Read the Journal p. 186 – 187).

Watch the floor debate on YouTube.

How They Voted

Sally Achey (R – Middletown Springs) – YES
Janet Ancel (D – Calais) – YES
Peter Anthony (D – Barre City) – YES
Norman Arrison (D – Weathersfield) – YES
Sarita Austin (D – Colchester) – YES
John Bartholomew (D – Hartland) – YES
Scott Beck (R – St. Johnsbury) – YES
Matthew Birong (D – Vergennes) – YES
Alyssa Black (D – Essex) – YES
Tiffany Bluemle (D – Burlington) – YES
Thomas Bock (D – Chester) – YES
Seth Bongartz (D – Manchester) – YES
Michelle Bos-Lun (D – Westminster) – YES
Erin Brady (D – Williston) – YES
Patrick Brennan (R – Colchester) – YES
Timothy Briglin (D – Thetford) – YES
Jana Brown (D – Richmond) – YES
Nelson Brownell (D – Pownal) – ABSENT
Jessica Brumsted (D – Shelburne) – YES
Thomas Burditt (R – West Rutland) – ABSENT
Mollie Burke (P/D – Brattleboro) – YES
Elizabeth Burrows (P/D – West Windsor) – YES
Scott Campbell (D – St. Johnsbury) – YES
Bill Canfield (R – Fair Haven) – YES
Seth Chase (D – Colchester) – YES
Kevin “Coach” Christie (D – Hartford) –YES
Brian Cina (P/D – Burlington) – YES
Sara Coffey (D – Guilford) – YES
Selene Colburn (P/D – Burlington) – YES
Hal Colston (D – Winooski) – YES
Peter Conlon (D – Cornwall) – YES
Sarah Copeland-Hanzas (D – Bradford) – YES
Timothy Corcoran (D – Bennington) – YES
Mari Cordes (D/P – Lincoln) – YES
Lawrence Cupoli (R – Rutland City) – YES
Lynn Dickinson (R – St. Albans Town) – ABSENT
Karen Dolan (D – Essex) – YES
Kari Dolan (D – Waitsfield) – YES
Anne Donahue (R – Northfield) – YES
Kate Donnally (D – Hyde Park) – YES
David Durfee (D – Shaftsbury) – YES
Caleb Elder (D – Starksboro) – YES
Alice Emmons (D – Springfield) – YES
Peter Fagan (R – Rutland City) – YES
Martha Feltus (R – Lyndon) – YES
John Gannon (D – Wilmington) – YES
Rey Garofano (D – Essex) – YES
Leslie Goldman (D – Bellows Falls) – YES
Kenneth Goslant (R – Northfield) – YES
Maxine Grad (D – Moretown) – YES
Rodney Graham (R – Williamstown) – YES
James Gregoire (R – Fairfield) – YES
Lisa Hango (R – Berkshire) – YES
James Harrison (R – Chittenden) – YES
Robert Helm (R – Fair Haven) – YES
Mark Higley (R – Lowell) – YES
Robert Hooper (D – Burlington) – YES
Mary Hooper (D – Montpelier) – YES
Philip Hooper (D – Randolph) – YES
Lori Houghton (D – Essex) – YES
Mary Howard (D – Rutland) – YES
Kathleen James (D – Manchester) – YES
Stephanie Jerome (D – Brandon) – YES
Kimberly Jessup (D – Middlesex) – YES
John Killacky (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Charles Kimbell (D – Woodstock) – YES
Warren Kitzmiller (D – Montpelier) – ABSENT
Emilie Kornheiser (D – Brattleboro) – YES
Jill Krowinski (D – Burlington) – PRESIDING
Larry Labor (R – Morgan) – NO
Robert LaClair (R – Barre) – NO
Martin LaLonde (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Diane Lanpher (D – Vergennes) – YES
Paul Lefebvre (R – Newark) – YES
Samantha Lefebvre (R – Orange) – YES
Felisha Leffler (R – Enosburgh) – YES
William Lippert (D – Hinesburg) – YES
Emily Long (D – Newfane) – YES
Michael Marcotte (R – Coventry) – ABSENT
Marcia Martel (R – Waterford) –YES
Paul Martin (R – Franklin) – YES
James Masland (D – Thetford) –YES
Christopher Mattos (R – Milton) – YES
Michael McCarthy (D – St. Albans City) – YES
Curtis McCormack (D – Burlington) – YES
Patricia McCoy (R – Poultney) – YES
James McCullough (D – Williston) – YES
Francis McFaun (R – Barre Town) – YES
Leland Morgan (R – Milton) – YES
Michael Morgan (R – Milton) – YES
Kristi Morris (D – Springfield) – YES
Mary Morrissey (R – Bennington) – YES
Michael Mrowicki (D – Putney) – YES
Emma Mulvaney-Stanak (D – Burlington) – YES
Barbara Murphy (I – Fairfax) – YES
Logan Nicoll (D – Ludlow) – YES
Michael Nigro (D – Bennington) – YES
Robert Norris (R – Sheldon) – YES
Terry Norris (I – Shoreham) – YES
William Notte (D – Rutland) – YES
Daniel Noyes (D – Wolcott) – YES
John O’Brien (D – Tunbridge) – YES
Carol Ode (D – Burlington) – YES
“Woody” Page (R – Newport City) – YES
Kelly Pajala (I – Londonderry) – YES
John Palasik (R – Milton) – YES
Joseph Parsons (R – Newbury) – YES
Carolyn Partridge (D – Windham) – YES
Avram Patt (D – Worcester) – YES
Henry Pearl (D – Danville) – YES
Arthur Peterson (R – Clarendon) – YES
Ann Pugh (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Barbara Rachelson (D/P – Burlington) – YES
Lucy Rogers (D – Waterville) – YES
Carl Rosenquist (R – Georgia) – YES
Larry Satcowitz (D – Randolph) – YES
Robin Scheu (D – Middlebury) – YES
Heidi Scheuermann (R – Stowe) – YES
Patrick Seymour (R – Sutton) – ABSENT
Charles “Butch” Shaw (R – Pittsford) – YES
Amy Sheldon (D – Middlebury) – YES
Laura Sibilia (I – Dover) – YES
Katherine Sims (D – Craftsbury) – YES
Taylor Small (P/D – Winooski) – YES
Brian Smith (R – Derby) – NO
Harvey Smith (R – New Haven) – YES
Trevor Squirrell (D – Underhill) – YES
Gabrielle Stebbins (D – Burlington) – YES
Thomas Stevens (D – Waterbury) – YES
Vicki Strong (R – Albany) – YES
Linda Joy Sullivan (D – Dorset) – YES
Heather Suprenant (D – Barnard) – YES
Curt Taylor (D – Colchester) – YES
Thomas Terenzini (R – Rutland Town) – ABSENT
George Till (D – Jericho) – YES
Tristan Toleno (D – Brattleboro) – YES
Casey Toof (R – St. Albans Town) – YES
Maida Townsend (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Joseph “Chip” Troiano (D – Stannard) – YES
Tanya Vyhovsky (P/D – Essex) – YES
Matt Walker (R – Swanton) – YES
Tommy Walz (D – Barre City) – YES
Kathryn Webb (D – Shelburne) – YES
Kirk White (P/D – Bethel) – YES
Rebecca White (D – Hartford) – YES
Dane Whitman (D – Bennington) – YES
Terri Lynn Williams (R – Granby) – YES
Theresa Wood (D – Waterbury) – YES
David Yacovone (D – Morristown) – YES
Michael Yantachka (D – Charlotte) – YES

Image courtesy of TNR

10 thoughts on “Roll Call: House approves constitutional amendment removing references to slavery

  1. Tis looks like we are re-stating our vision that property rights, as constitutionally sacred as it is, can not include other people as property — WE DON’T APPOVE OF SLAVERY. Great! Now using the same moral insight are we ready to assert that the right to bodily integrity/privacy doesn’t include killing off our unwanted pregnancies? WE DON’T APPROVE OF ABORTION?

  2. Ok neighbors, does this kind of legislative action represent you? Does it look like some kind of agenda you’re not really privy too? Have you been consulted on this? Is this some kind of agenda you’ve not been enlightened about? Are these decision makers representing what we want (and don’t like) or are they RULING us with their own phantasies?

  3. The way I see it if Prop 5 and Prop 2 are amended to the Vermont Constitution, Vermont will be the first State in the nation to deny the Right to Life to preborn babies and the last State in the nation to prohibit slavery. Clearly our legislators do not have the wisdom to alter our Constitution. Hopefully, Vermonters will have the wisdom to vote “NO” for these two proposals.

  4. So does this means Democrats can own slaves again???
    I haven’t been keeping up on the issue…. I did hear bydone was giving away crack pipes
    to better black relations… seems a little racist to me..

  5. Our constitution has served us well since, I believe 1789. Now we have mostly out of state carpet baggers who have arrived and infested our legislature with virtue and inclusiveness to rewrite an historical document as though it needs it. These progressive out of state and out of touch progressive think they have the wisdom of our states founders. They are trying to erase history and the language that was used at the time of it’s writing. These people have no shame. We accepted them and we elected them and they have turned their backs to us by pushing an agenda not worthy of the people who preserved this state for over two centuries. These people need to be voted out so they can return to where ever they came from. Remember Mitzi speaker of the house of past. She was voted out of office for doing the same as these people. Isn’t it time we did the same for those who have forgotten the people who they’re supposed to represent. There is a better government for us. When you see these names in your town or county vote for the other person. Then we can change the government.

  6. “That all persons are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent, and unalienable rights, amongst which are the enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety; therefore slavery and indentured servitude in any form are prohibited.”

    The only value that such an Amendment would bring to Vermont’s Constitution would have been if the language had said something like, “That all persons conceived have certain natural, inherent, and unalienable rights, amongst which are the enjoying of life and liberty.”

  7. This is another piece of unnecessary legislation. For those who voted ‘Yes,’ thus signaling how virtuous they are, no one cares. For those who voted ‘No’ or chose to be absent by using the time to head to the restrooms to take a whizz, good on you.

  8. I’ve seen historians who searched vermont records for slaves. One who spoke on the subject said the only record he found at the time the state constitution was written, was for one slave owned by the Pastor of the Old First Church in Bennington. — At the time I think the capitol was in Arlington. 12 miles away, and that provision was probably written for the Pastor.

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