Statehouse Headliners: Descriptions of all bills passed by the 2019 Legislature

By Guy Page

When the House adjourned Friday, the Vermont Legislature had passed 86 bills (see list below). Some have already been enacted into law. The rest wait for Gov. Phil Scott to sign, allow to pass into law unsigned, or veto.

Spokespersons for House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and the House Clerk’s Office both confirmed today the House will not return this year. However the Senate will meet Wednesday. If it approves bills sent to them by the House before it adjourned, there will be even more legislation for Scott to consider.

This afternoon, we list every bill (not including resolutions) passed by the Legislature this year. Most category and subject headings are of Headliners’ own creation, because the “official” names for many of the bills were not sufficiently descriptive.

Highlights: 

  • If an annual award was given out for the most roll calls, H.57, unrestricted abortion, would be the winner going away, with 16. No other bill reached  double figures. “Over a dozen amendments offered to H.57 on the floor of the House were overwhelmingly rejected – including those that would have protected a viable unborn child from harm,” said Sharon Toborg, Policy Analyst for Vermont Right to Life, in a statement released today. “Even some pro-choice House members were shocked that supporters of H.57 would not protect any unborn child at any stage of pregnancy, and rejected proposed amendments to involve the parents of a minor.”
  • Receiving far less public attention was removal of protections for children in the womb from little-noticed H525, the miscellaneous agriculture bill.  H.525 covers many farm-related topics, including elimination of the current required, written warning that unpasteurized milk sold at farmstands can cause “miscarriage, fetal death, or death of a newborn.” Written warning about potential bacterial harm to children, elders, and pregnant women is still required.
  • Crime-related legislation will, unless vetoed, make Vermont tougher on sex abusers and killers of firefighters/EMTs, and easier on many drug and property criminals.
  • Smoking and buying tobacco-related products will be more regulated and, for people under 21, illegal.
  • The public will be educated about bias-free policing, including not cooperating with ICE interest in illegal immigrants. A 20-person working group will investigate racial, ethnic, social, and identity bias in local Vermont schools.
  • A House/Senate Carbon Emissions Reduction Committee will be created to provide oversight when the Legislature is not in session.
  • The sale of refrigerants approved a decade or so ago to save the ozone layer will be banned (over a five year period) because they emit greenhouse gases.
  • Work will begin on cleaning up polluted state waters, and on removing lead from school drinking water.
  • Plastic bags and straws in stores and restaurants will be banned
  • Handgun sales will have a 24-hour waiting period.
  • A half-cent increase in the Universal Service fee on cellphone and cable TV bills will pay for expanding broadband to under or unserved Vermont communities.

To peruse this list or to see bills passed only by the House or Senate, click here.

Bills Passed by 2019 Legislature (not including last-minute approvals by Senate today)

Category Bill # Subject(s) Act #
Abortion H.57  unrestricted right to abortion
Agriculture H.525  miscellaneous farm subjects, including GMO seeds, unpasteurized milk
Agriculture S.160  agricultural development
Agriculture H.79  eligibility for farm-to-school grant assistance
Agriculture H.275  Farm-to-Plate Investment Program
Alcohol, Drugs & Tobacco H.13  changes in alcoholic beverage and tobacco laws
Alcohol, Drugs & Tobacco S.58  State hemp program
Alcohol, Drugs & Tobacco H.47  taxation of electronic cigarettes
Alcohol, Drugs & Tobacco H.26  restricting retail and Internet sales of electronic cigarettes, liquid nicotine, and tobacco paraphernalia
Alcohol, Drugs & Tobacco S.86  increasing legal age for buying and using cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, and other tobacco products from 18 to 21 years of age
Banking & Insurance S.131  insurance and securities
Banking & Insurance S.154  miscellaneous banking provisions
Banking & Insurance S.109  captive insurance companies and risk retention groups 3
Business & Industry H.104  professions and occupations regulated by the Office of Professional Regulation
Business & Industry S.18  consumer justice enforcement
Business & Industry H.533 10% funding increase for workforce training
Business & Industry H.427 creating rules for Vermont licensing equivalence of work credentials earned outside United States 10
Business & Industry H.82 Tax exemption for select timber harvesting equipment
Business & Industry S.162 promoting economic development: $5,000 for remote workers, etc.
Courts, Crime & Corrections H.287 Small probate estates
Courts, Crime & Corrections H.330 Repealing statute of limitations for civil actions based on childhood sexual abuse
Courts, Crime & Corrections H.460 Sealing and expungement of criminal history records
Courts, Crime & Corrections S.133 Family Court jurisdiction of juveniles, up to age 25
Courts, Crime & Corrections H.321 Aggravated murder for killing a firefighter or an emergency medical provider 16
Courts, Crime & Corrections H.436 Accepting international wills in VT courts 11
Courts, Crime & Corrections H.527 Executive Branch and Judicial Branch fees
Courts, Crime & Corrections S.112 Earned good time: 5 days/month of sentence
Courts, Crime & Corrections H.511 no statute of limitations for sexual exploitation of minor
Courts, Crime & Corrections H.512  Miscellaneous: alimony, medical marijuana, juveniles, campus sex crime task force
Courts, Crime & Corrections H.518 public education for fair and impartial policing
Courts, Crime & Corrections H.19 sexual exploitation of a person in law enforcement officer custody 8
Courts, Crime & Corrections H.7 Second degree aggravated domestic assault 7
Courts, Crime & Corrections H.278 Acknowledgment or denial of parentage
Courts, Crime & Corrections H.132 Protecting victims of domestic and sexual violence from housing discrimination
Education H.536  Education finance
Education H.3 Ethnic and social equity studies standards for public schools 1
Energy H.133 Required reporting on hydro, efficiency, net-metering; pipeline excavation rules; district thermal heat funding; small hydro rates; regulation of energy storage
Energy H.63 funding weatherization with Efficiency Vermont balances; all-fuels energy efficiency; creation of Carbon Emissions Reduction Committee to provide oversight when Legislature not in session
Environment H.205  the regulation of neonicotinoid pesticides
Environment H.292  miscellaneous: temporary banners over highways, September Green-up Month for rivers; moose hunting permits; crossbows; wood heat regulations.
Environment S.113 Ban on retail/restaurant use of plastic bags, straws, etc.
Environment S.55 Regulation of toxic substances and hazardous materials
Environment H.218 Lead poisoning prevention 4
Environment S.40 Testing and remediation of lead in the drinking water of schools and child care facilities
Environment S.96 Comprehensive cleanup of state waters
Environment S.49 Polyfluoroalkyl in drinking and surface waters
Firearms S.169 Firearms: mandatory waiting period, etc.
Health Care S.73 Licensure of ambulatory surgical centers
Health Care H.524 Health insurance and the individual mandate
Health Care S.7 Social service integration with Vermont’s health care system
Health Care S.41 Regulating tax-advantaged accounts for health-related expenses
Health Care S.43 Limiting prior authorization requirements for medication-assisted treatment
Health Care H.528 Rural Health Services Task Force
Health Care S.53 Proportion of health care spending allocated to primary care 17
Health Care H.204 Navigators, Medicaid records, and the Department of Vermont Health Access 15
Health Care S.89 Allowing reflective health benefit plans at all metal levels 19
Health Care S.14  Extending moratorium on home health agency certificates of need 5
Local Government H.508 Amendments to the charter of the Town of Bennington
Local Government H.547 Amendment to the charter of the City of Montpelier
Local Government H.549 Dissolution of Rutland Fire District No. 10
Local Government H.544 Amendments to the charter of the City of Burlington
Local Government H.539 Amendments to charter of Town of Stowe and merger of Town and Stowe Fire District No. 3
Local Government H.526 Town clerk recording fees and town restoration and preservation reserve funds
Local Government H.59 Codification of charter of Rutland County Solid Waste District M-2
Local Government H.58 Amendments to charter of Town of Barre M-1
Local Government H.73 Amendments to charter of City of Barre M-3
Local Government H.540 Amendments to charter of Town of Williston
Miscellaneous H.358  miscellaneous technical corrections 14
Racial, ethnic, social S.68  Indigenous Peoples’ Day replaces Columbus Day 18
State Government H.514  miscellaneous tax provisions
State Government S.134  background investigations for State employees with access to federal tax information
State Government H.16  boards and commissions
State Government S.118 Time frame for adoption of administrative rules 12
State Government H.146 Increasing number of examiners on Board of Bar Examiners from nine to 11 members 13
State Government S.11 Limiting senatorial districts to a maximum of three members 2
State Government H.543 Capital construction and State bonding
State Government H.523 Miscellaneous changes to State’s retirement systems
State Government H.541 Changes that affect revenue of State
State Government H.532 Fiscal year 2019 budget adjustments 6
State Government H.542 State budget
Technology H.135 Authority of Agency of Digital Services
Technology H.513 Broadband deployment throughout Vermont
Transportation H.529 Transportation Program and miscellaneous changes
Transportation S.149 Miscellaneous changes to laws related to vehicles and Department of Motor Vehicles
Veterans S.111  U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry
Veterans H.394  Disposition of the remains of veterans 9

Statehouse Headliners is intended primarily to educate, not advocate. It is e-mailed to an ever-growing list of interested Vermonters, public officials and media. Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership; the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare; and Physicians, Families and Friends for a Better Vermont.

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR
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2 thoughts on “Statehouse Headliners: Descriptions of all bills passed by the 2019 Legislature

  1. Just look at all this pure ” feel good ” for ninety percent of these bills nothing with any real
    good for the state like infrastructure ( Road & Bridge ) repairs.

    Please read all the bills, sickening is an understatement……..

    But it helps them feel like they’ve done something even if it’s wrong !!………..Sad.

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