Vermont House overrides governor’s veto of Affordable Heat Act

Published: May. 11, 2023 at 12:19 PM EDT|Updated: May. 11, 2023 at 7:54 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont lawmakers pushed back on Gov. Phil Scott’s veto on the biggest climate bill of the year, voting for an override.

The Affordable Heat Act seeks to wean Vermonters off heating with fossil fuels by making it more expensive.

Gov. Phil Scott vetoed the measure last week over concerns surrounding to what degree a future Legislature would be able to sign off on the plan.

The Vermont House overrode Gov. Phil Scott’s veto Thursday morning on a vote of 107-42. The Senate voted to override it on Tuesday on a count of 20-10.

Now, the clean heat standard moves forward.

Opponents worry about the cost on rural Vermonters but backers of the bill say it will help low-income Vermonters in the long run.

“Yes, it’s our responsibility to listen to our constituents. It’s also our responsibility to make sure that those with the fewest resources are being looked out for,” said Rep. Gabrielle Stebbins, D-Burlington.

“I have never received more email on any issue before us than I have received from the citizens of our state to implore me to vote no on S.5. Our citizens deserve to be listened to,” said Rep. Pattie McCoy, R-Poultney.

The regulatory Public Utility Commission will spend the next two years designing the marketplace. Lawmakers will have to sign off on the proposed plan in 2025.

The governor says lawmakers got it wrong and that he’s heard from thousands of Vermonters who said they feel ignored and are concerned about what this new law means for their wallets.

And though he lost the veto fight, he says giving it the red pen was the right thing to do. And he said more vetoes are likely.

“We’re not going to give up. There are quite a few other bills that could be vetoed, we need to look, but what I’ve seen so far leaves me to believe we are on the wrong path and we’re in for a collision course at this point,” said Scott, R-Vermont.

Our Darren Perron asked him which other bills are on his veto radar. Watch the video below to hear their conversation.

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