Scott rejects tenants’ rights charter change; Lawmakers poised to override pension veto

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 5:55 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - With only days left in the Vermont legislative session, the governor and lawmakers are sparring with a series of vetoes and overrides.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott Tuesday returned without signature and vetoed H.708, a charter change that would have made Burlington property owners unable to evict tenants without just cause.

Under the proposed law, landlords would have had to provide proof renters breached their written rental agreement or broke the law. The governor says the change could allow renters to remain in place forever and could discourage landlords from renting to certain Vermonters.

“More preference will be given to renters with high credit scores, no criminal history, and positive references from previous landlords, creating further disparity for Vermonters, thereby increasing both costs and inequality in the housing market,” Scott said.

Meanwhile, Vermont lawmakers are poised to override a separate veto on a pension reform bill that the governor said he opposed more out of “principle than practicality.”

The bill funnels $200 million toward the state’s $3 billion unfunded pension liability and changes the cost of living adjustment.

The governor says he wanted a separate 401k-style plan and more risk-sharing provisions. But the measure passed unanimously with bartisan support in both chambers and the veto is expected to be overridden by the Senate as early as Wednesday.

House lawmakers are also working on a major climate bill aimed at curbing home heating emissions. The bill creates a marketplace where fuel dealers can acquire credits for installing eco-friendly forms of home heating. Utility regulators would make rules for the work. Lawmakers Tuesday passed an amendment where the PUC would check back in with lawmakers.

Governor Scott has expressed skepticism over elements of the bill, comparing the conversations in the Statehouse to those over single-payer health care.

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