With the passage of the state budget bill last week, the Vermont Legislature has completed its session – until June’s veto session.

Some great things came out of this year’s session and some questionable things did too.




Legislators voted to make universal, free school meals available to all Vermont students regardless of ability to pay. This is good news and it is an affordable way to make sure that all students can learn and succeed without being distracted by hunger.

The child care bill that passed last week is long overdue and represents an historic investment in Vermont families. It benefits all of us when our employees have reliable and affordable child care and it benefits all of us when child care workers can make a living wage. It’s a win-win all around.

The Legislature’s passage of the HOME bill is significant and will do more to address the state’s chronic lack of housing than any almost measures that can be taken at the local level. The bill eliminates single-family zoning through the state by legalizing duplexes anywhere single-family homes are allowed and four-plexes in any area served by public water and wastewater.



The Affordable Heat Act is a well-intentioned effort to keep the state on track to meet its goals of reducing greenhouse gasses, but its critics contend it goes too far and they may be right. It’s hard to fathom how requiring fuel providers to fund ‘incentives’ for middle- and lower-income Vermonters to cover cleaner heat will not create higher fuel prices for all of us. It’s going to a study committee.

Selling state assets is never a good idea, but VTrans Secretary Joe Flynn proposed that. Last month he urged legislators to consider selling the Caledonia County Airport, using fuzzy math to suggest continued state ownership would cost $14 million. Conveniently – in news that smacks of cronyism and a smoky backroom deal - Kyle Clark of Beta Technologies is interested in buying it. Why would we sell state assets? Would we sell our state parks?

And finally, the most egregious miss is regarding the homeless. Let’s not pretend that legislators and the governor are doing anything other than unhousing the 2,500-3,000 people who have been enrolled in the motel voucher program, despite all the other funding that is being allocated to housing.