Roll Call: House makes some logging land eligible for conservation

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

H.697, an act relating to eligibility of reserve forestland for enrollment in the Use Value Appraisal Program, passed in the State House of Representatives on February 25, 2022, by a vote of 83-43.

The purpose of H.697 is to combat climate change by offering stronger tax incentives to keep Vermont’s forests undeveloped (free from logging and development). The goal is to increase ‘old growth forest’ from 1% to 9% of forested area in Vermont.

Since 1980 under Vermont’s Current Use program, Vermont landowners who farm or log plots of land could have that land taxed at lower tax rate, rather than the higher rate for residential or commercial purposes.

H.697 would allow Vermont landowners who own land with certain environmental attributes to join loggers and farmers in getting that lower tax rate under the Current Use program, if they manage that land with the goal of creating old-growth forest. These environmental attributes include:

  1. “State-significant natural communities” (a group of interacting plants and animals, which can be ranked by importance)
  2. Land containing “rare, threatened, and endangered species”
  3. “Riparian areas” (areas close to rivers and steams)
  4. “Forested wetlands” (forests growing in bodies of water)
  5. “Vernal pools” (seasonal bodies of water without fish that nourish plants and animals)

As Recorded in the House Journal, Friday, February 25, 2022: “…Pending the question, Shall the bill be read a third time?, Rep. Higley of Lowell demanded the Yeas and Nays, which demand was sustained by the Constitutional number. The Clerk proceeded to call the roll and the question, Shall the bill be read a third time?, was decided in the affirmative. Yeas, 83. Nays, 43.” (Read the Journal, p. 422 – 428)

Watch the debate on Youtube (representatives Bongartz, Masland, Higley, Kornheiser, Donahue, S. Lefebevre, Sibilia, Partridge, Bartholomew, Labor and Williams).

HOW THEY VOTED

Sally Achey (R – Middletown Springs) – ABSENT
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) – NO
Seth Bongartz (D – Manchester) – YES
Michelle Bos-Lun (D – Westminster) – YES
Erin Brady (D – Williston) – ABSENT
Patrick Brennan (R – Colchester) – NO
Timothy Briglin (D – Thetford) – YES
Jana Brown (D – Richmond) – YES
Nelson Brownell (D – Pownal) – YES
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) – NO
Seth Chase (D – Colchester) – ABSENT
Kevin “Coach” Christie (D – Hartford) – YES
Brian Cina (P/D – Burlington) – ABSENT
Sara Coffey (D – Guilford) – YES
Selene Colburn (P/D – Burlington) – ABSENT
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) – NO
Lynn Dickinson (R – St. Albans Town) – NO
Karen Dolan (D – Essex) – YES
Kari Dolan (D – Waitsfield) – ABSENT
Anne Donahue (R – Northfield) – NO
Kate Donnally (D – Hyde Park) – ABSENT
David Durfee (D – Shaftsbury) – YES
Caleb Elder (D – Starksboro) – YES
Alice Emmons (D – Springfield) – YES
Peter Fagan (R – Rutland City) – NO
Martha Feltus (R – Lyndon) – NO
John Gannon (D – Wilmington) – YES
Rey Garofano (D – Essex) – ABSENT
Leslie Goldman (D – Bellows Falls) – ABSENT
Kenneth Goslant (R – Northfield) – NO
Maxine Grad (D – Moretown) – YES
Rodney Graham (R – Williamstown) – NO
James Gregoire (R – Fairfield) – NO
Lisa Hango (R – Berkshire) – NO
James Harrison (R – Chittenden) – YES
Robert Helm (R – Fair Haven) – NO
Mark Higley (R – Lowell) – NO
Robert Hooper (D – Burlington) – YES
Mary Hooper (D – Montpelier) – YES
Philip Hooper (D – Randolph) – ABSENT
Lori Houghton (D – Essex) – YES
Mary Howard (D – Rutland) – ABSENT
Kathleen James (D – Manchester) – YES
Stephanie Jerome (D – Brandon) – YES
Kimberly Jessup (D – Middlesex) – YES
John Killacky (D – S. Burlington) – ABSENT
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
Wayne LaRoche (R – Franklin) – NO
Paul Lefebvre (R – Newark) – YES
Samantha Lefebvre (R – Orange) – NO
Felisha Leffler (R – Enosburgh) – NO
William Lippert (D – Hinesburg) – YES
Emily Long (D – Newfane) – YES
Michael Marcotte (R – Coventry) – NO
Marcia Martel (R – Waterford) – NO
James Masland (D – Thetford) – YES
Christopher Mattos (R – Milton) – NO
Michael McCarthy (D – St. Albans City) –YES
Curtis McCormack (D – Burlington) – YES
Patricia McCoy (R – Poultney) – NO
James McCullough (D – Williston) – YES
Francis McFaun (R – Barre Town) – NO
Leland Morgan (R – Milton) – NO
Michael Morgan (R – Milton) – NO
Kristi Morris (D – Springfield) – YES
Mary Morrissey (R – Bennington) – NO
Michael Mrowicki (D – Putney) – ABSENT
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) – NO
Terry Norris (I – Shoreham) – NO
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) – NO
Kelly Pajala (I – Londonderry) – YES
John Palasik (R – Milton) – YES
Joseph Parsons (R – Newbury) – NO
Carolyn Partridge (D – Windham) – YES
Avram Patt (D – Worcester) – ABSENT
Henry Pearl (D – Danville) – NO
Arthur Peterson (R – Clarendon) – NO
Ann Pugh (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Barbara Rachelson (D/P – Burlington) – ABSENT
Lucy Rogers (D – Waterville) – YES
Carl Rosenquist (R – Georgia) – NO
Larry Satcowitz (D – Randolph) – YES
Robin Scheu (D – Middlebury) – YES
Heidi Scheuermann (R – Stowe) – ABSENT
Patrick Seymour (R – Sutton) – NA
Charles “Butch” Shaw (R – Pittsford) – YES
Amy Sheldon (D – Middlebury) – YES
Laura Sibilia (I – Dover) – YES
Katherine Sims (D – Craftsbury) – ABSENT
Taylor Small (P/D – Winooski) – YES
Brian Smith (R – Derby) – NO
Harvey Smith (R – New Haven) – NO
Trevor Squirrell (D – Underhill) – YES
Gabrielle Stebbins (D – Burlington) – ABSENT
Thomas Stevens (D – Waterbury) – YES
Vicki Strong (R – Albany) – NO
Linda Joy Sullivan (D – Dorset) – NO
Heather Suprenant (D – Barnard) – YES
Curt Taylor (D – Colchester) – YES
Thomas Terenzini (R – Rutland Town) – NO
George Till (D – Jericho) – YES
Tristan Toleno (D – Brattleboro) – YES
Casey Toof (R – St. Albans Town) – NO
Maida Townsend (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Joseph “Chip” Troiano (D – Stannard) – ABSENT
Tanya Vyhovsky (P/D – Essex) – ABSENT
Matt Walker (R – Swanton) – NO
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) –NO
Theresa Wood (D – Waterbury) – YES
David Yacovone (D – Morristown) – YES
Michael Yantachka (D – Charlotte) – YES

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Walter Baxter
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2 thoughts on “Roll Call: House makes some logging land eligible for conservation

  1. Thanks for this update and how people voted. This is one more example of how those with good intentions are misdirecting their energy to trying to find Vermont solutions to what is a global problem.

    Northern New England forests are particularly suited toward growing sustainable timber. The forests in Vermont under current use are well regulated and managed. This is not the case in countries like Brazil which are clear-cutting and burning large sections of rain forest and causing a great deal of lasting harm.

    Hopefully Governor Scott will veto this bill along with the many other impractical and counterproductive measures.
    Now is the time to concentrate at finding a net gain of five more seats in the House to make sustaining Scott’s vetoes assured.

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