Roper: As economy struggles, Vermont Senate moves to ban mini-shampoo bottles

By Rob Roper

In a spectacular example of fiddling while Vermont burns, the Senate Finance Committee voted 6-1 to advance a bill, S.227, to “to prohibit the provision by lodging establishments of personal use products in small plastic bottles.” This directive would come as Vermont’s hotels and bed and breakfasts, a huge part of Vermont’s critical tourism industry, have been decimated by the COVID-19 prevention measures.

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Sen. Randy Brock (R-Franklin) had this to say about it:

“Why are we doing this? Well, one of the things we heard is because the large hotel companies are already going in that direction. And they may be. So that again is my point of why do we have to legislate it if it’s something they’re already doing? Well, perhaps the reason we have to legislate it is they want us to force everybody else to do it. But, it’s in their competitive interest to do it that way. Not necessarily in the public interest. And as we look at what the public interest is here… we ought to be focused on issues that really matter at this point. Why are we spending the hours that we’re spending on dealing with tiny little bottles? To prohibit people from using them, but still making them available at the desk if anybody wants them, and then making it effective three years from now. That to me doesn’t make any sense. I look at what we’re supposed to do in this body, and I’m saying, yeah, the public will look at this and laugh at us. And they ought to!” (Video: 48:08-49:25)

Though other members of the committee expressed some reservations about the timing of the bill, and recognized the poor optics of passing it — Sens. Pearson (P-Chittenden), Sirotkin (D-Chittenden) and Cummings (D-Washington) — none but Brock, in the end, voted against it.

This bill impacts an industry that is, as one of the senators noted, “struggling for its existence.” Any added regulation, any added cost to doing business at this point is nothing less than cruel. So why would six out of seven senators do this? VPIRG is “bombarding” legislators with form letters demanding that S.227 be made law. So, hopefully the full Senate and/or the House will apply more common sense and empathy should it get that far.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of state of Vermont

17 thoughts on “Roper: As economy struggles, Vermont Senate moves to ban mini-shampoo bottles

  1. Not the absolute most critical legislation, yes. But it is an important step. Plastic pollution is killing our waterways. We need to tackle it at every turn. There is just no need for all those little bottles. Personally, I use a shampoo bar that comes wrapped in paper. Little paper wrapped bars of soap and shampoo would be much better than little plastic bottles.

  2. It still amazes me that starting July 1st we can no
    Longer throw an Apple core or banana skin in the land fill but dirty diapers and used cat litter is ok. Real stupid legislation! Our Hannaford does not allow reusable bags and plastic is banned starting July 1st so I guess you fill you hands with products Again very stupid! I call these laws the Easy way out to look good to the Greenies

  3. We huffed and puffed, swelled up our chest and came up with banning small shampoo bottles? Are they serious??? You can’t make this stuff up. Can’t wait to see the next thoughtful well conceived program these numb heads dream up. As long as Vermonters send these strange thinking folks to Montpelier, they can’t expect much better.

  4. As an inn owner, the logic behind this baffles me. Many hotels are not using larger dispensers due to concern of cross-contamination. A sealed small bottle assures our guests that was is in the bottle is what is on the label. Let’s deal with the bigger issues of our farms, schools, economy, and opioid problems.

  5. This Edmund Burke quote should be read daily for the benefit of the denizens of our Legislature:

    ‘People crushed by laws, have no hope but to evade power. If the laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to the law; and those who have most to hope and nothing to lose will always be dangerous.’

    I no longer care to keep up with what’s allowed and what some petty tyrants have decided to ban, and I sincerely doubt there will be any enforcement mechanism, which renders the entire exercise moot.

  6. What the he’ll is wrong with these people. TSA won’t let you carry it without creating nightmare rules so as a traveler 10-12 times a year into hotels I rely on the hotel supplying the supplies. Large hotels going to dispensers in the shower but the system is expensive which the Marriotts and Hilton’s an affordable but the small hotels, under 100 rooms, can’t absorb that cost. This really is the case if fixing a problem that doesn’t exist while the state is close to putting the tourist industry out of business

  7. Absurdity is the order of the day for foolish legislators.
    Fiddling with tiny issues is a way to avoid dealing with big problems which they are unwilling to tackle and likely have no policy answers.
    Will real leaders please step forward.

  8. It goes to show you that our current liberal Vermont legislature cannot solve real problems such as unemployment, young people leaving the state for better opportunities, rising property taxes and a host of other problems. So to make folks think they are doing a good job and being effective they want to ban straws, tiny shampoo bottles and needlessly harass law abiding Vermont gun owners.
    Wake up Vermonters these useless people need to be removed from office and replaced with someone who will do the job that they promise us when first running for office. As voters we may not always get it right the first few times but eventually we will get the right people in. However, this cannot happen if we keep voting the same ineffective people with their own agenda every time. Albert Einstein Said it best “ Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result “

  9. to CHenry’s question: “mostly out of state” is where they come from. 2 (two) of the 7 were born in Vermont, as the Senate Finance Committee goes.

  10. Complete and total nonsense from Liberals, the states in debt, most businesses
    are in despair and our legislative leadership are pushing a bill to eliminate plastic
    shampoo bottles !!

    My God, do these people have a clue, the better question where do these people
    come from ???

    Wake up Vermont, vote these inept fools out before it’s too late !!!

    • C,
      Their clue is their agenda!


      This would never happen, if the Vermont Legislators were all born in Vermont.
      Most of the folks in the legislature were born out of state, or their parents were.

      In Winooski, they had the stupidity to invite people from Africa, from a very different culture, who did not speak English, who did not know they were infecting each other.

      Yikes, what a sad case of do-goofing gone awry, all at taxpayer expense.

      Why not have more of that.
      It would really boost Vermont’s economy

      • The situation in Winooski, and the pandering by Gov Scott and his staff, is ridiculous. It’s a convenient lie – why did they think restaurants and schools shut down? Did they not wonder and question why everybody was wearing masks?

        A majority of them have kids in school who surely explained what was happening.

      • The folks commenting here are correct, 99% of the legislature do not think like “traditional” Vermonters do. I contacted one of my so called representatives to give her my views and was told that she appreciated my contacting her but that she did not agree with my wishes and would vote according to her beliefs. We have lost control of this state to the down country, metropolitan ideas. I’m not calm enough to be in the legislature, I would shoot my mouth off and that would cause a rukus for sure. Run for election, some of you, and bring a little common sense to Montpelier.

        • I’ve been asked to run but, like you, would not abide by the rules and would most likely be dragged out and banished from the Statehouse for life.

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