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Vt. House fails to override ‘just cause’ eviction, ‘Clean Heat Standard’ vetoes

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 11:36 AM EDT|Updated: May. 10, 2022 at 5:35 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont lawmakers Tuesday failed to override a pair of vetos from the governor on a major climate change bill and a Burlington charter change.

Supporters of Burlington’s “just cause eviction” charter change failed by a single vote -- 99 to 51 -- in the House to override the veto.

“Would give folks really fundamental, important rights in their housing securityy and really enable folks to have more protections when it comes to it being such a hot market for housing,” explained Rep. Emma Mulvaney Stanak, P/D-Burlington.

Lawmakers also fell short of the necessary 100 votes -- 99 to 51 -- to override the “clean heat standard” veto, which supporters call the keystone of Vermont’s Climate Action Plan.

Governor Phil Scott says he doesn’t oppose the concept but felt the bill was poorly crafted. “Democracy works best... it’s messy but it’s the best when we have the ability to petition our government, go to the Legislature, go to elected officials and explain what we’re doing,” Scott said.

While lawmakers were holding their override votes, the governor was next door addressing another bill -- Act 250 reform -- which could end in a veto. The governor brought in Democratic Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, a major supporter of new housing, to argue his case that the bill doesn’t go far enough to clear red tape for developers to build in downtowns and village centers.

“This governance reform of Act 250 would threaten Burlington’s character by taking us backwards,” Weinberger said.

Scott says he will veto the bill unless lawmakers make changes. “We’re better off without it,” he said. He also said he is considering vetoing a housing bill that includes a rental registry, an idea he vetoed in another bill last year.

House Speaker Jill Krowinski, D-Burlington, was not available for comment Tuesday on the failed overrides or the governor’s concerns on the other bills.

The legislative session “overtime” string of vetoes highlights ongoing policy disagreements between the Democratic supermajority and the Republican governor

Political historians say there have been only about 175 vetoes in state history. Fewer than 10 have been overridden -- two of them this session.

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