To the editor: Why state lawmakers overturned Gov. Scott’s vetoes

Dear residents of Athens, Chester, Grafton and Windham,

As your state representative, I am proud to have participated in the democratic process of legislating last week.

On Monday, June 17, the state legislature reconvened at the State House to vote to override Gov. Phil Scott’s veto of six bills of importance to Vermont residents, taxpayers and public school students, including:

    1. H.887 (the so-called Yield Bill) is a balanced bill that:
      – Fully funds local school budgets approved by voters;
      – Invests tens of millions of dollars to immediately lower property tax rates in all communities;
      – Provides additional tax relief for the many Vermonters eligible for a property tax credit based on income;
      -Establishes a commission on the future of public education – with public hearings in all 14 counties – to re-imagine how Vermont provides a high quality education to our children at an affordable and sustainable rate for taxpayers.
    2. H.687 (Land Use Modernization) is a critical land use modernization bill and the first significant update to Act 250 since its inception in the 1970s. Act 250 has played a critical role in  preserving Vermont’s rural character by supporting compact development in downtown and village centers while protecting Vermont’s forests and open lands. A lack of housing stock combined with increased environmental impacts due to climate change necessitated changes to Act 250. This bill, incorporating broad areas of agreement between environmentalists, developers, regional planners, and other stakeholders, sets out strategies to make it easier to build much needed housing in the right places and better protects our natural resources.
    3. H.289 (Updating the Renewable Energy Standard) reflects a remarkable collaboration among electric utilities, environmental groups and legislators to more quickly bring more renewable energy into the grid  The updated Renewable Energy Standard raises electric utility requirements for use of renewable energy to 100% by 2030 for most utilities. The bill doubles the amount of new renewable energy built in the state, creates good-paying clean energy jobs and provides protection from rising fossil fuel energy prices. To ensure all Vermonters have access to the benefits of renewable energy, the bill funds a study to evaluate current housing programs and to make recommendations for expanding affordable housing developments for lower and moderate income residents.
    4. H.72 (Overdose prevention pilot program) establishes an overdose prevention center (OPC) pilot program in Vermont to address the growing opioid crisis. As opioid-related fatalities continue to rise alarmingly, the creation of these centers becomes imperative. Modeled after successful initiatives elsewhere and funded with the Opioid Abatement Settlement Fund, the OPC adopts a harm-reduction approach, aiming to prevent overdose deaths and mitigate public drug-related risks. The primary functions of the OPC pilot program include the provision of harm reduction supplies, emergency medical care, facilitation of access to addiction treatment and vital services, and dissemination of overdose prevention education.
    5. H.645 (Expanding access to restorative justice). With public safety a top concern for the governor this year, it was disappointing to see that he vetoed H.645, a bill specifically adopted to expand access to restorative justice programs across the state. Restorative justice is a proven tool to address crime, repair harm, and rebuild trust. It also reduces our prison population. Communities asked for a broader array of tools for addressing low level criminal offenses. Override of the governor’s veto reflects the legislature’s  commitment to offering a variety of options this session to accomplish this goal of ensuring justice for all.
    6. H.706 (Protecting Pollinators) would restrict the use of highly toxic pesticides, such as neonicotinoid pesticides, where they are used the most, with a timeline and waiver process designed to protect our threatened native pollinators while providing a just transition to alternatives for our Vermont farmers.

These six legislative bills are but a few of the many bills of importance to Vermonters that were passed into law by the legislature during the past two years. They reflect the legislature’s and my commitment to strengthening education, preserving the environment, developing housing and improving our communities. They reflect, too, my commitment to growing our economy and keeping Vermont affordable for all.

Please contact me by email at or by phone at 802-875-4663 with your thoughts and concerns.


Heather Chase
State representative
Windsor-Windham District

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