Toxics Bill Resurrected After Snafus Nearly Spell Doom

May 10, 2014

A close vote in the Senate has brought a bill regulating toxics chemicals back to life.

The legislation appeared all but dead after a procedural error in the House delayed the bill’s delivery to the Senate. In order to pass the bill in time for a Saturday adjournment, the Senate would need a three-quarters majority to suspend its rules. And the controversial legislation seemed unlikely to garner the 23 votes it would need to be taken up by the 30-member body.

But a last-ditch lobbying effort by supporters carried the day.

The bill isn’t as strong as some lawmakers had wanted. But it will increase regulatory scrutiny of the chemicals contained in children’s products, and make Vermont one of only three states to require manufacturers to disclose whether certain their products contain certain chemicals. Chittenden Sen. Ginny Lyons introduced the bill.

“We think that the bill that you have before you … will be an important step in regulating toxic chemicals, or at least providing information about the presence of toxic chemicals in children’s products,” said Lyons.

The Senate had originally sought to heighten regulation of a broader scope of products, but the House said that plan went too far. The bill also gives the Department of Health the authority to regulate or even ban certain chemicals.