Legislative Report 5/16/2022 - Legislative session comes to a productive end


The last couple of weeks of a legislative session are marked by a frenzy of movement as bills pass back and forth between the House and Senate with proposals of amendment and further proposals of amendment. When agreement can’t be reached through the amendment process, conference committees are appointed to work out a compromise acceptable to both chambers.  This year the processes worked smoothly, and agreements were able to be reached on most of the key bills.  But there were a few disappointments.


The governor used his veto pen liberally. An earlier veto of a housing bill resulted in going back to the drawing board to remove or adjust provisions he objected to. Another was the ban on firearms in hospitals which contained a provision to close the “Charleston loophole,” which allowed a firearm to be purchased if a federal background check didn’t complete in 3 days.  Senate bill S.30 required a completed background check, regardless of how long it took, for a sale to be legal, which the governor felt was unacceptable.  A compromise was reached to permit a sale after 7 business days if the background check didn’t complete, and the governor signed the bill.


After a summer of negotiations involving legislators, representatives from the teachers’ and state employees’ unions, the State Treasurer and the Commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation, a pension bill was passed with the agreement of all parties to the negotiations.  The bill, S.286, passed with unanimous support in the House and Senate. Because the bill didn’t include allowing defined contribution plans (401(k)-type plans) for new employees, a last-minute demand of the governor, he vetoed it. The consensus is that including that option would undercut the sustainability of the pension system and bring us back to square one.  For the first time in Vermont history, the veto was overridden by unanimous roll-call votes in the House and Senate.


Two more vetoes, one on a Burlington charter change that required a just cause for evictions and another on the Clean Heat Standard bill, H.715, which my committee worked on, were upheld by a one vote margin.  With 100 votes required to override, both override efforts failed on a 99 – 51 vote, very disappointing on both counts. The governor objected to the Clean Heat Standard bill after it was passed by the House because the costs are unknown, and there would be no chance for the legislature to weigh in after the Public Utility Commission designed the program.  With that objection in mind the Senate amended the bill to require legislative review and approval of the program before it could start. He vetoed the bill anyway.


Vetoes aside, the session was very productive because of the huge influx of federal ARPA and infrastructure bill money.  Bolstered by strong state revenues, many programs were enacted using one-time federal money to help low- and middle-income Vermonters, children, students, and workers who have been struggling in the COVID-impacted economy. These appropriations included $95M for broadband; $70M for housing, including $20M for the “missing middle” and manufactured housing; $26M for mental health, developmental disability services, and home health care; $138M for workforce development including nursing education, skilled trades and worker re-training;  $35M for the Vermont state college system; $50M for IT systems modernization; $215M for climate initiatives including weatherization, municipal energy resilience, advanced electrical metering, and EV incentives; $104M for clean water initiatives including municipal water and wastewater systems; and many other services for a total budget of $8.3 billion.  In his closing remarks to the House just prior to our adjournment on Thursday evening of May 12, Governor Scott praised the legislature for its work for the people and the economy of Vermont.

As always, I welcome your emails (myantachka.dfa@gmail.com) or phone calls (802-233-5238).

Announcement 5/5/2022 - I am running for re-election to the House

 It has been my privilege to serve as the Charlotte-Hinesburg State Representative for the past 12 years.  I am taking this opportunity to announce that I will be running for re-election this year for another term.

During my time in office, my priority has always been to support policies that benefit Vermonters and make Vermont, and our community in particular, a better place to live and work. I believe in a strong democracy in which all citizens can participate through their right to vote. I have advocated for a livable minimum wage, for mental health benefits for first responders, and for sustainable pension funds for our hard-working teachers and state employees, as well as many other policies to support working families. During the worst days of the pandemic I helped many employees, small business owners and self-employed persons in Charlotte to access state and federal economic assistance programs. Through my work on energy and environmental policy, Vermont has taken significant steps to address climate change. However, much more needs to be done to further reduce our greenhouse gas emissions while helping folks save money on their heating bills and adapt to the changing weather patterns.

One of my most important responsibilities is keeping you informed through my bi-weekly Legislative Reports in our local newspapers and occasional Front Porch Forum posts. You can access those reports at my website, MikeYantachka.com, for a look at what I've been working on throughout my legislative career.

With your support I will continue working to support policies that will benefit the social fabric, the economic vitality, and the natural and lived environment of Vermont. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

Rep. Mike Yantachka
Chittenden 5 District
 of Charlotte and Hinesburg