Vermont Senate returns to climate change legislation

By Guy Page

On Thursday, for the first time since adjourning in March in the early days of the pandemic, the Vermont Senate considered a slate of non-pandemic related bills.

“Just as the economy is opening, it is time to start resurrecting the typical legislative process in terms of what bills get taken up,” Senate Pro Tem Tim Ashe explained Wednesday at the Senate Caucus.

Thursday’s virtual meeting of the full Senate could be seen live on YouTube. Bills up for initial “second reading” approval include:

Guy Page

S.185, “adoption of a climate change response plan,” sponsored by Sens. Ginny Lyons (D-Chittenden) and Mark MacDonald (D-Orange), requires “the Department of Health to develop and adopt a statewide climate change response plan” and “requires regional planning commissions to develop a communications plan for the purpose of mitigating and responding to climate change related public health risks.” The state plan would be due Nov. 1. No cost estimates or allocations are mentioned in the bill.

S.337, sponsored by Natural Resources and Energy Committee, would allow Efficiency Vermont and other energy efficiency entities (EEEs) each to spend up to $2 million per year to reduce thermal and transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions.

At present Efficency Vermont, Burlington Electric Dept. and other EEEs are funded mostly by an assessment on consumer electricity bills. Their programs target electricity consumption. But climate change-minded lawmakers want to access that funding stream to pay for reducing greenhouse gas emissions for building heat and transportation. According to a State of Vermont graph, electricity ranks fourth (8%) behind transportation (45%), thermal heating (23%), and agriculture (12%).

Other non-Covid-19 bills up for review include:

S.197, prohibiting discrimination based on genetic information
S.234, miscellaneous judiciary procedures
S.243, establishing the Emergency Service Provider Wellness Commission
S.301, repealing the sunset on certificate of good applications for telecommunications

The Senate Caucus on Wednesday also engaged in a fascinating conversation on how to approach the $400 million-plus 2021 deficit.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports.

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR

12 thoughts on “Vermont Senate returns to climate change legislation

  1. The dems live in la la land.The only thing they care about is giving illegals my social security, climate change that only God can change, and every stupid ignorant thing to keep power over the people.When the shtf dems that screw the people will be shot by the same people.

  2. Great article on solar panels in Vermont on “American Thinker” as usual the commie rag Vt Digger wont let me publish it…

  3. Instead of focusing on climate change, there is a far more productive way for Ginny and Mark to use their precious time. How about drafting legislation make getting Covid-19 a felony punishable by life in self isolation??? This would be just as effective as trying to control climate in Vermont and the USA through taxation and setting a long list of dos and don’ts for us to live by.

  4. I’ll say this again. We are coming into the third week of May. The legislature should be adjourning. They need to get Vermont’s fiscal issues resulting from the coronavirus solved and adjourn. Notice that while many Vermonters have suffered job loses and have no income other than unemployment, I believe legislators are still getting full pay. Are they going to turn this into full summer employment for themselves? In fact whiles hundreds of millions of American’s suffer and face financial ruin, state and federal workers have loss nothing and continued to get their full salary.

    Second, note once again the legislature gives the power to regulate our lives a Department and other bureaucrats. S-185 requires “the Department of Health to develop and adopt a statewide climate change response plan” and “requires regional planning commissions to develop a communications plan for the purpose of mitigating and responding to climate change related public health risks.” The department will create regulations (basically laws we have to follow) and will not be accountable to the public as the legislators are.

    Let’s wrap up this session boys and girls and go home before you do anymore damage to Vermonters.

    • They can not control climate and there has always been ups and downs in climate. All they are doing is trying to tax us into complete submission!

  5. Tim Ashe wanted ideas on which programs should be cut and climate change is the first one. Knowing that every effort Vermont makes will be negated by one or two of hundreds of coal-fired generating plants being built in foreign countries clearly demonstrates that Vermont’s efforts are only feel-good measures. It was bad enough to spend millions when our economy was humming along and the State deficit was only going to be a few million dollars (only!). With massive debts being incurred it is time for the Legislature to cut the BS and work on the real problems at hand.

  6. If that legislation involves costly requirements, and increasing the spending on useless programs, that cannot happen, because THERE IS NO MONEY, WITHOUT MAKING CUTS ELSEWHERE.
    Taxing anything is off the table

  7. When the law is passed, they can tape it to one of those free chinese drones, and deliver it to the Sun.
    That’ll stop that pesky climate change.

  8. There should be only one item on the senates agenda right now and its not climate change!

    If these senators can’t figure out what they should be doing now let me help you, open the economy first, start cutting government spending and put a freeze on lobbying until Vermonters are made whole again, period end of story.

    Don’t think for one minute you can keep spending as usual as long as you can raise more taxes, COVID just kissed those days good bye!

  9. Legislating the climate is something only the equally tiny states visited by Gulliver in Swift’s renowned travelogue would attempt. Can’t the Senate come up with a more economically practical way to encourage citizens to move out of Vermont?

  10. You have to be kidding!! Spending time on this garbage instead of unemployment, health care, high taxes, how is school going to look in August, pension deficit, funding some useless programs, etc! Ladies and gentlemen of the senate, please take out your scissors and as Spike Lee says “Do the right thing”

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