Senate approves Global Warming Solutions Act, House approves pay hike for Legislature

By Guy Page

The Vermont Senate has passed the Global Warming Solutions Act, but pulls $1 million funding.

In last night’s vote, the senators opposing GWSA were Randy Brock and Corey Parent of Franklin County, Joe Benning of Caledonia, John Rodgers and Bobby Starr of Essex-Orleans, and Brian Collamore of Rutland. Sen. Richard Mazza did not vote. Republicans Richard Westman of Lamoille and Jim McNeil joined 20 Democrats in voting yes.

As explained in today’s Fuel Line, from the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association:

The Vermont Senate approved the Global Warming Solutions Act last night by a vote of 22 to 6. The measure, also known as the GWSA, subjects Vermont to costly lawsuits if specific climate goals are not met. In order to avoid being sued, a Climate Council comprised of nearly two dozen unelected people could put in place restrictions or bans on the combustion of fossil fuels. The GWSA bill is similar to the one that passed the House in February by a vote of 105-37. The difference between this version and the one that passed the House is that the $1 million set aside to design a Climate Action Plan has been stripped out. The Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources testified that the state will have a “very low likelihood of success” without the funding. The House will now have to decide whether to concur with the Senate version and send to the Governor or to work out their differences.

House approves new automatic pay raises for Legislature

The Vermont House of Representatives voted Wednesday, June 24 to create a process for new automatic pay raises to itself, rejecting an amendment to set aside for another day the discussion of legislative pay.

Public domain

The Vermont State House

After the vote, a Republican lawmaker decried the decision to give the Legislature future pay raises during the current economic uncertainty, and a Progressive lawmaker defended the need for higher pay for legislators.

At issue was an amendment to H.961, the spending bill for the first three months of fiscal year 2021. It would in effect increase pay for lawmakers whenever other exempt state employees received increases, in addition to current COLA (cost-of-living-allowance) increases, beginning in fiscal year 2022.

A proposal put forth by Rep. Anne Donahue, R-Northfield, would have separated the issue of legislative pay from the rest of state employees. The House would hash out the issue of legislative pay increases some other day.

“I believe there is a very valid debate about legislative pay, because we should not exclude potential candidates because it is unaffordable for them to serve,” Rep. Donahue said in an email Thursday. “We need to think about this issue — but it needs a broad, transparent debate, not something slipped into the Pay Act under our emergency functioning, which is so impaired.”

“And it certainly affected nothing, to take it out of the Q1 budget — there was no need to address this in any way now, unless one wanted to lock in future pay increases, in an action taken right now,” Donahue said. “ Voting to lock in higher percentage increases in future years is radically inappropriate during a time of economic crisis with many Vermonters losing jobs and facing economic losses.”

After Donahue’s amendment failed, the House recessed for an hour. Upon return it voted 82-61 in favor of the original plan lumping legislators’ future pay hikes in with other state employees.

Rep. Colburn, P-Burlington, explained her vote on the original plan as follows:

“Our current levels of legislative pay prevent so many Vermonters from serving here with us and prevent this body from fully reflecting the people of our state. I am happy to forgo a pay raise next year for myself, but if we truly want to make progress on issues of equity in the legislature, we can’t treat our service like a volunteer job. I support moving forward along the path this amendment sets out for us and hope we’ll take a serious look at the question of legislative pay in the future.”

Rep. Patti McCoy, R-Poultney, explained her vote on the original plan as follows:

“We should not change statutorily how we are going to be compensated now, during a pandemic and during record unemployment in our state. We in effect, will tie our pay to pay we ourselves negotiate for constitutional officers so we can, by default, give ourselves the same pay increase. This is not the time for a statutory change as to how we are paid. I vote no.”

Pro-lifers suggest roadside graffiti

In possibly tongue-in-cheek response to yesterday’s post describing how the Agency of Transportation decision to not remove most protest signs, paintings, and murals from Vermont roadways, some pro-life readers suggested possible subjects for permitted roadway “art.”

“Test this one out with Pro-Life chalk graffiti! or listing dead police officers. See how long they last.” – Ron, Chittenden County.

“How about, ‘Pray to End Abortion’?” – Tom, Washington County.

“Unborn black lives matter.” – Irene, Washington County.

Other readers saw the new policy decision — made after consultation with the governor’s office — from other perspectives. Former Mendon Rep. Job Tate wrote: “I’d like to put this to the test with some of the oldest graffiti art in the world“ and included a photo of the ICHTHS “fish” symbol of Christ from the Roman era. “Incredible. The governor is enabling lawlessness,” Terry from Rutland County said. Pat from Washington County asked: “So, how does this square with the State’s ban on roadside billboards? Is it now okay for Holiday Inn to scribble ads on bridge abutments? That’s not profane, grotesque, or advocating illegal activity or violence. Boy I think they stepped in [manure], but let’s call it cologne.”

Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.

Images courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR and Public domain

20 thoughts on “Senate approves Global Warming Solutions Act, House approves pay hike for Legislature

  1. WOW! I’m just scraping by on Disability and OUR LEGISLATORS Voted to have AUTOMATIC PAY INCREASES!!! Now I know why my Father said “99 44/100’s of Politicians are CROOKS”

  2. Vermont needs to cut down the number of legislators in Montpelier by 50% and cut down the time they spend in session! This would save the state some $$ and they would still get the “work” done for the people that they do now (tongue in cheek!).

  3. Could this be the beginning of an effort by the progressive/liberal left to impose a full time, year round legislature on Vermont? I’m not sure if that would be specifically prohibited or limited by the Vermont Constitution or not. God, what a horror show that would. Assistance and information on that appreciated.

  4. Those lice in that legislature could publicly cut the throats of several busloads of children right on the statehouse steps in broad daylight, and Vermonters would still reelect them.

  5. A pay hike? Really? For a job well done?

    I wouldn’t be surprised to learn they’re taking Payroll Protection Act subsidies too.

  6. The global part while throwing money down the sewer is tough enough to swallow, but a PAY RAISE???? If these folks weren’t serious it would be ludicrous. Where I come from, an increase in compensation is recognition of a job well done. The Lib/Prog/Dems should be ashamed of themselves. They have created a business climate in the state which discourages businesses from coming and encourages business to leave resulting in our youngest and brightest going out of state to find decent paying challenging employment which is extremely limited in Vermont. For this they give themselves a pay raise??? TIME FOR A BIG CHANGE!!!!

  7. Start your engines.
    Let the mandates begin.

    I have about 40 years of experience in energy systems analysis and design.

    There is no way heat pumps in AVERAGE Vermont houses, about 80% of all housing, would reduce CO2 by more than 20%, according to the 2017 CADMUS study, performed for the VT-DPS.

    The report states, owners would have about $200/y in energy cost savings, but if the $4500 TURNKEY cost of the heat pump is amortized over 15 years, there would be a LOSS OF about $250/y, not counting any service call or parts.

    Standard weatherizing, at about $10,000 per unit, would not make Vermont houses suitable for heating 100% with heat pumps.

    A house would need to be very well insulated and very well sealed, as measured by a blower door test, to be ECONOMICALLY heated 100% with heat pumps.

    Every legislator should know this, because I repeatedly sent them emails over the years, which they likely did not read, because they continue to vote for ineffective measures, mandates or not.

    • Here are more exact calculations regarding air source heat pumps.
      http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-co2-reduction-of-ashps-is-based-on-misrepresentations

      Vermont had installed 17,717 ASHPs at end 2019, increasing at about 2750 per year, per EAN “Meeting Paris” report by 2025.

      “Meeting Paris”: Energy Action Network, EAN, claims its proposed measures would reduce CO2 by 2.281 million metric ton to “meet Paris”.

      Those measures regarding heat pumps are a lot of hogwash, because EAN claims it need only 90,000 heat pumps to reduce CO2 by 0.370 MMt, based on a phony analysis using 4.5 Mt/y of CO2 reduction per heat pump, whereas it would require 179,200 heat pumps, based on realistic analysis using 2.26 Mt/y of CO2 reduction. See above URL

      Many owners complained regarding annual energy cost savings being much smaller than promised. No wonder, the heat pumps had been installed in energy-hog houses.

      Finally, legislators “pressured” VT-DPS to contract CADMUS to perform a survey of 77 ASHPs at 65 sites, which showed, average energy cost savings were about $207/y per ASHP; $1000 to $1800 had been bandied about on various websites.

      If amortizing of the ASHPs were applied, the average owner would have a loss of about $220/y per ASHP, not counting any maintenance and service calls and parts

      Per CADMUS report, about 27.6% space heat was from ASHPs, the rest from traditional fuels
      Building space heat demand, all buildings, was about 2,323,154 Btu/h at -10F
      Building space heat demand, all buildings, was about 1,016,380 Btu/h at 35F, or 15,637 Btu/h would have to be from ASHPs/site.

      The ASHP capacity of all ASHPs could have delivered about 590,000 Btu/h at -10F, or 9,077 Btu/h/site, but did not, because owners had turned them off, and TURNED ON THEIR TRADITIONAL SYSTEMS.
      See figure 14 in CADMUS report. Just Google

      An owner with one ASHP (output 9,077 Btu/h at -10F) in an average Vermont free-standing/energy-hog house, would have a loss of $220/y, if the $4500 is amortized at 3.5% over 15 years.

      The CO2 reduction would be 2.260 Mt/y, or 19.8%

      Whereas, there is a gain of about $200/y, due to energy cost reduction (as confirmed by VT-DPS and CADMUS), subtracting annual amortizing costs of the ASHPs results in an annual loss of $220

        • Dan,

          Good decision!

          Unless you have a highly sealed, highly insulated house, having an ASHP is a money loser on a lifetime basis, if amortization costs are included; not counting any service calls and parts during 15 years.

          It is more difficult for ASHPs to operate efficiently at low temperatures.

          The coefficient of performance decreases and more kWh per delivered Btu is required.

          The greater percent of fuel oil displaced, the more the heat pump has to operate at low temperatures, which greatly increases electricity consumption in average Vermont energy-hog houses.

          Only highly insulated and highly sealed houses can be economically heated 100% with ASHPs.

          See example of such a house in Appendix of this article.
          http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-co2-reduction-of-ashps-is-based-on-misrepresentations

      • Dan,

        The average Vermont 2000 sq ft house requires about 48,000 Btu/h, at 65F indoor and -10F outdoor. See table 8

        – If fuel oil, at seasonal efficiency of 75%, about 48000/0.75 = 64,000 Btu/h, or (64,000 Btu/h)/(137,381 Btu/gal) = 0.47 gal/h would be required, at a cost of 0.47 x $2.75 = $1.29/h.

        – If heat pumps, at coefficient of performance of 1.15 at -10F, about 48,000/1.15 = 41,739 Btu/h, or (41,739 Btu/h)/(3,412 Btu/kWh) = 12.23 kW would be drawn via the wall socket, at a cost of 12.23 kW x $0.19/kWh = $2.32/h.

        – The required heat pump capacity would be about 100,000 Btu/h at 47F (standard industry rating), i.e., 4 units, each rated 25,000 Btu/h, costing about 4 x $4500 = $18000, turnkey, or $1544.15/y, if amortized at 3.5% over 15 years. See URLs.

        https://www.manta.com/cost-heat-pump-burlington-vt
        https://www.myamortizationchart.com

        – An owner would have a loss of about $1700/y, not counting service calls and parts, compared with continuing his paid-for fuel oil heating system. See table 6

        – Only highly insulated and highly sealed houses can be economically heated 100% with ASHPs. See example of such a house in Appendix.

  8. I would suggest since the enlighten ones decreed the tax payer can be sued for the

    state not meet co2 life sustaining reduction quotas, that they also be eligible to be sued for

    not implementing the running of the reduction in a fashion that works… after all

    they’ll have more cash for nothing in their self appointed raise.

  9. It sounds like these legislators are quite confident in their reelection odds. Is there anything they can do that Vermonters will clean them out?

    This pay issue goes back to the structure of the legislature. When it stays in session for half or more of the year, it really is no longer part-time, which means several things:

    1. Serving in the legislature is not an option for most people, since most people cannot take off that much time.
    2. They have lots of time to pass laws that impact Vermonters way of life and costs them dearly.
    3. Sessions cost Vermonters more.

    But year after year, the issue of session length is largely ignored, even though if you think about it, it really is the means by which the left stays in control and the means by which they destroy Vermont and pretend they are driving the nation.

  10. Let’s see, the state’s in debt at $4B and more foolish legislation and these
    clowns think they deserve a pay increase………………… pathetic !!

    Wake up people, they don’t care about you or the state, just themselves what
    a disgrace…………………………….

  11. So many of the citizens in this state are out of work and living below the poverty level and these sad excuses vote themselves a RAISE?????? How oh HOW can this be moral?

    • They are democrats. They haven’t had morals sense JFK died. — And what they have just done with their raises (automated it so no one has to vote on it again, is what the liberals in Washington did years ago with the federal budget. No one has to debate or vote on 75% of it. Its all automatic.

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