Gov. Phil Scott vetoed four bills Tuesday, including one that would have raised the minimum wage to $15 by 2024. Scott also vetoed legislation that would have created a mandatory paid family leave program in Vermont.
Last week, 37 bills were delivered to Scott, giving him five business days to sign, veto or let the bills pass without his signature. Here's a breakdown of what Scott has vetoed, so far.
H.196 — "An act relating to paid family leave"
Scott has been pretty clear that he planned on vetoing the bill Speaker Mitzi Johnson called one of her top priorities for the session.
This program would allow Vermont’s small businesses to thrive and become stronger, more competitive employers. Gov. Scott, by vetoing the paid family leave bill, you will be sending a clear message that our small businesses, our employees and their families do not deserve the same shot at success as large corporations, and believe me, Vermont is listening.
— Nicole Grenier, owner of Stowe Street Café
I have repeatedly voiced that I would be — and still am — open to working to create a state-run, voluntary system, which provides this type of benefit for individuals who choose to invest a portion of each paycheck, while allowing others to opt out.
Unfortunately, the Legislature decided to pursue a program that increases taxes taken out of the paychecks of all Vermonters at a time when we’re just starting to confront the crisis of affordability facing families and businesses.
S.40 — "An act relating to increasing the minimum wage"
Scott has said he prefers the state's existing system linked to inflation over the proposed six-year incremental increase outlined in this bill.
Holding back the wages of tens of thousands of people to me is probably the farthest from providing affordability for Vermonters than I can think of.
— Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe
While I agree with the spirit of S.40, I believe the bill is more likely to harm those it intends to help, weaken small businesses and the economy as a whole, and deepen the economic inequality that exists between Chittenden County and other counties in the state.
S.105 — "An act relating to consumer justice enforcement"
Advocates of the bill say it protects consumers from unfair contract practices. Businesses say it protects them by having consumers accept and acknowledge the inherent risk in some activities.
Tuesday, Scott sided with opponents of the bill.
S.105 offers some rally important protections to consumers and employees against … frankly really abusive contract terms ... It tips the balance away from unlimited power to corporations.
— Burlington Rep. Selene Colburn
Vermont’s outdoor recreation economy and nonprofit organizations, like the YMCA, Run Vermont, and the Vermont Special Olympics, who offer recreational services to the community, have voiced opposition to provisions in this bill, noting it will greatly inhibit the use of standard waivers, which are central to daily operations.
S.197 — "An act relating to liability for toxic substance exposures or releases"
Sponsored by Bennington's two senators, Brian Campion and Dick Sears, the bill would require manufacturers who use toxic substances to pay for medical monitoring.
The bill is about fairness. It holds polluters accountable and makes sure that Vermonters get the medical testing they need to help prevent and address medical problems caused by toxic substances.
— Jon Groveman, Vermont Natural Resources Council policy and water program director
I recognize the intent of this bill is to help ensure those exposed to harmful chemicals, like PFOA, can access financial resources for medical monitoring to increase early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases that may occur because of such exposure.
However, it is important to note that there is nothing that currently keeps an individual from seeking judicial recourse to gain medical monitoring from an entity. The level of liability this legislation creates for Vermont businesses is unprecedented and counter to my administration’s goal to make Vermont more affordable.
Earlier this year Scott vetoed...
S.103 — "An act relating to the regulation of toxic substances and hazardous materials"
When vetoing the bill, Scott said the bill would have "no practical impact to how [the administration] regulates these chemicals."
A push to override Scott's veto failed.
Here's the bill's co-sponsor, Sen. Virginia Lyons, on what the bill could mean for regulating toxic substances, including those considered "of concern" to children, on Vermont Edition earlier this year.
Is there a chance for an override vote? An override session has not been scheduled, which means no override votes will be held.
There are more bills (specifically the budget and tax bill) on their way to the governor, which means more vetos could be on their way. We'll keep this post updated as they happen.