Daily Archives: July 6, 2021

A Veepie Special: For All the Bills I’ve Vetoed Before

We’ll get to the regular edition of The Veepies (awarding those who commit acts of stupidity and/or obtuseness in the public sphere) in a day or two. But right now, it’s time for A Very Special Veepie that deserves the solo spotlight.

The honoree is none other than Governor Nice Guy Phil Scott, for adding yet another veto to his all-time record. On Friday he vetoed S.79, a bill that would have established a rental housing registry and enforcement of safety standards. That, in and of itself, is sadly par for the course. But his fractured attempts at explaining the veto? That elevates this one into a class of its own.

The governor argued that the bill would “reduce the number of housing options for Vermonters.” Well, that would be true if some rental units would fail a safety inspection and get pulled from the market, right? And that’s kind of exactly why we need a registry and inspections, right? Because the current “system” of relying on town health inspectors clearly isn’t doing the job.

I mean, the Vermont Chamber of freakin’ Commerce supported the bill and was ““surprised and disappointed” at Scott’s veto. How intrusive could it have been?

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Son Of Hey, Let’s Have Some Fun With the Chittenden Senate District!

After I wrote my post about the Chittenden Senate district, I found out that Sen. Kesha Ram has decamped to the suburbs. Specifically, the tony confines of Shelburne. Her Legislative bio still says “Burlington,” but oh well.

This dramatically changes the calculus for reapportionment, or at least my version of it. Rather than try to amend the original post, I decided to start afresh here.

For those just joining us, Vermont is preparing the once-a-decade task of redrawing legislative districts to reflect population changes. The Legislative Apportionment Board will draw up a proposal in time for the House and Senate to approve it or make changes during the 2022 session.

Thanks to a 2019 law, districts cannot include more than three House or Senate seats. This will mean dismembering the six-seat Chittenden district, which is a good thing. Multi-member districts are basically incumbent-protection schemes.

Because Chittenden County is growing while many other areas are shrinking, the district will get at least one more seat and possibly two. (By sheer population, it warrants 7 1/2.)

Adding a Chittenden seat means taking one away somewhere else, so let’s assume the new district will have seven seats, not eight. That means shifting one sizeable community out of the district. Colchester is currently in the Grand Isle district, and it’s likely to stay there in order to protect eternal incumbent Dick Mazza.

But for purposes of this thought experiment, I’m going to focus entirely on Chittenden County and try to describe districts that would be as even as possible population-wise, and keep communities intact whenever possible. On my map, no district would have more than two seats — and the lines could easily be drawn so that each district would have a single senator.

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