Here are five things that happened this session that could mean big things for Chittenden County:
1. S. 25: An act relating to Cannabis, signed by Gov. Phil Scott on June 7, 2021
Act 62 of the legislative session, originally proposed in the Senate as S.25, was signed into law June 7. Along with a number of miscellaneous changes to the state’s law surrounding retail cannabis that was passed last year, this new law will:
- Establish a fund to aid people of color and others disproportionately affected by the prohibition of marijuana enter the new marketplace.
- Establishes specific restrictions surrounding advertising of cannabis products.
Under the law passed last year, retail cannabis operations may be able to open anywhere in the state as soon as fall 2022. Currently, municipalities have to vote to approve allowing retail cannabis.
2. S.15: An act relating to the mailing of ballots.
This act makes a series of amendments to require the mailing out of ballots to all active registered voters for the general election and creates a process for a registered voter to cure a ballot that has been deemed defective. This act:
- Places new requirements on the use of candidate nicknames
- Clarifies statutory language concerning the voting of ballots at the town clerk’s office
- Makes miscellaneous changes to election process provisions
- Requires two reports relating to State elections.
3. S.110: An act relating to labor; unemployment insurance; Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
This is an act relating to extending eligibility for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation This act provides that under certain circumstances individuals can continue to receive Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits instead of beginning a new unemployment insurance benefit year in which they would receive a decreased amount of benefits.
4. H. 426: An act relating to education; school construction
This bill proposes to:
- Require the Secretary of Education to update school facilities construction standards
- Require the State Board of Education to update and adopt the Capital Outlay Formula in State Board Rule 6124.1
- Direct the Secretary of Education to hire an independent third party to conduct a school facilities conditions assessment
- Direct the Secretary of Education to submit a report on funding school construction projects
- Require school districts or supervisory unions to designate a person responsible for facilities management
- Require school districts to develop and maintain a capital improvement plan
5. S.16. An Act relating to education; exclusionary discipline
This is an act relating to the Task Force on Equitable and Inclusive School Environments. This act:
- Creates the Task Force on Equitable and Inclusive School Environments, which shall make recommendations to end suspensions and expulsions for all but the most serious student behaviors and compile data regarding school discipline in Vermont public and approved independent schools in order to inform strategic planning, guide statewide and local decision making and resource allocation, and measure the effectiveness of statewide and local policies and practices.
- Prohibits a student enrolled in a public school who is under eight years of age from being suspended or expelled from the school; provided, however, that the school may suspend or expel the student if the student poses an imminent threat of harm or danger to others in the school.
- This act requires reporting on referrals of truancy to the State’s Attorneys.