Roll Call: House passes diluted police misconduct bill

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

S.254, an act relating to recovering damages for Article II violations by law enforcement and a report on qualified immunity, passed in the State House of Representatives on April 15, 2022, by a vote of 95-40.

Purpose: The purpose of S.254 was to make police officers more accountable to those they serve. It originally stripped Vermont police officers of qualified immunity (immunity from citizens’ ability to sue individual police officers), but this was pared down to a study.

In Zullo v. State (2019), the Vermont Supreme Court decided that individuals may sue the Vermont state police for damages if they can prove “discriminatory bias,” a more restrictive right relative to qualified immunity.

S.254 would:

  1. Codify the Zullo ruling into Vermont law for all state and local police.
  2. Expand data collection and reporting by police, to include “use of force” data, broken down by demographics, with annual reports to the Legislature. Current law mandates police roadstop demographic data collection.
  3. Create a ‘Giglio (jil-io) database’ to store pending misconduct allegations about all Vermont police officers, for use in trials (but not to the public).
  4. Mandates the recording of all police interrogations related to all felony investigations, rather than just homicide and sexual assault, which is the case now.
  5. Commissions a report on police interrogation, regarding when police can gather evidence using deception and/or coercion, and when that evidence can stand up in court (such as police giving suspects false promises of leniency, and similar techniques promoted by Vermont’s Criminal Justice Council that are illegal in other states).

Analysis: Those voting YES believe Vermont’s police conduct laws are outdated, having been passed in the 1970’s. A harder look at Vermont police officers covered by qualified immunity is needed to ensure that a George Floyd case will never happen in Vermont. Some voting YES believe the study will lead to the legal protections of qualified immunity being removed from Vermont’s police, allowing claimants to more easily receive compensation for police misconduct against them.

Those voting NO believe a study of removing qualified immunity sends the wrong message to law enforcement. Providing allegations of police officers, even to a limited number of people, is fundamentally at odds with the American belief that all individuals are innocent until proven guilty. They believe qualified immunity is being applied fairly in Vermont, resulting in millions awarded to claimants wronged by police over the past several years. This bill would add to the severe legislative restrictions placed on Vermont police in recent years. S.254 sends the police a message that they are not trusted, which makes police recruitment and retention more difficult.

As Recorded in the House Journal, Friday, April 15, 2022: “…Shall the bill pass in concurrence with proposal of amendment?, Rep. LaClair of Barre Town 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 pass in concurrence with proposal of amendment?, was decided in the affirmative. Yeas, 95. Nays, 40.” (Read the Journal, p. 1041-43).

Watch the floor debate on YouTube.

HOW THEY VOTED

Sally Achey (R – Middletown Springs) – NO
Janet Ancel (D – Calais) – YES
Peter Anthony (D – Barre City) – YES
Norman Arrison (D – Weathersfield) – NO
Sarita Austin (D – Colchester) – YES
John Bartholomew (D – Hartland) – YES
Scott Beck (R – St. Johnsbury) – NO
Matthew Birong (D – Vergennes) – ABSENT
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) – 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) – 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) – NO
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) – 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) – YES
Leslie Goldman (D – Bellows Falls) – YES
Kenneth Goslant (R – Northfield) – ABSENT
Maxine Grad (D – Moretown) – YES
Rodney Graham (R – Williamstown) – NO
James Gregoire (R – Fairfield) – NO
Lisa Hango (R – Berkshire) – NO
James Harrison (R – Chittenden) – NO
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) – YES
Lori Houghton (D – Essex) – YES
Mary Howard (D – Rutland) – YES
Kathleen James (D – Manchester) – YES
Stephanie Jerome (D – Brandon) – V
Kimberly Jessup (D – Middlesex) – YES
John Kascenska (R – Burke) – NO
John Killacky (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Charles Kimbell (D – Woodstock) – YES
Warren Kitzmiller (D – Montpelier) – YES
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) – ABSENT
William Lippert (D – Hinesburg) – YES
Emily Long (D – Newfane) – YES
Michael Marcotte (R – Coventry) – NO
Marcia Martel (R – Waterford) – ABSENT
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) – NO
Mary Morrissey (R – Bennington) – NO
Michael Mrowicki (D – Putney) – YES
Emma Mulvaney-Stanak (D – Burlington) – ABSENT
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) – ABSENT
Joseph Parsons (R – Newbury) – NO
Carolyn Partridge (D – Windham) – YES
Avram Patt (D – Worcester) – YES
Henry Pearl (D – Danville) – ABSENT
Arthur Peterson (R – Clarendon) – NO
Ann Pugh (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Barbara Rachelson (D/P – Burlington) – YES
Lucy Rogers (D – Waterville) – YES
Carl Rosenquist (R – Georgia) – ABSENT
Larry Satcowitz (D – Randolph) – YES
Robin Scheu (D – Middlebury) – YES
Heidi Scheuermann (R – Stowe) – NO
Charles “Butch” Shaw (R – Pittsford) –NO
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) – ABSENT
Trevor Squirrell (D – Underhill) – YES
Gabrielle Stebbins (D – Burlington) – YES
Thomas Stevens (D – Waterbury) – YES
Vicki Strong (R – Albany) – NO
Linda Joy Sullivan (D – Dorset) – YES
Heather Suprenant (D – Barnard) – ABSENT
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) – YES
Tanya Vyhovsky (P/D – Essex) – YES
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 Colchester Police Department
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2 thoughts on “Roll Call: House passes diluted police misconduct bill

  1. “ensure that a George Floyd case will never happen in Vermont.”

    Since this is all about saint meth boy floyd why don’t they just drop laws
    covering assault on the citizens seeing the elite have their own law now..
    Or we could make it illegal to arrest blacks which might fit the bill too. A small
    price to pay for reparations we’re told we owe. ijits we’re ruled by too many of them.

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