Twenty-four lawmakers who don't value Ethics?

When the Vermont House took a final vote on S.8, the bill making Vermont the 48th state in the country to pass ethics laws, there were 24 lawmakers who voted against it. While we don't make any assumptions about the reasons these lawmakers chose to vote against government ethics, we do believe it raises questions about their commitment to a transparent and accountable government. We encourage voters to contact the Legislators below for an explanation. 

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Fundraising goal extended

Friends,

Several weeks ago we launched a campaign to support our report on Re-Energizing Vermont's Public Education System with a goal to raise $10,000 before the end of the legislative session. I am happy to say that we broke that threshold this week, with just a few days left in the session. However, the Legislature has been reluctant to move forward with this plan.

In order to realize meaningful savings for Vermont property taxpayers we must extend our legislative campaign through the summer and set a new fundraising target of $18,000. We need your help to make this happen, extending our advocacy for an innovative plan that could save taxpayers $350 million. 

Here is why you should support the initiative...

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Letter to House Government Operations

TO:                      REPRESENTATIVE TOWNSHEND
CC:                      HOUSE GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS COMMITTEE
FROM:                BENJAMIN KINSLEY, PAUL BURNS, BILL SCHUBART
SUBJECT:           CHANGES TO GOVERNMENT ETHICS BILL S.8

 

Dear Representative Townshend:

First, we would like to thank you and your committee for the considerable amount of time you have put into S.8. As you are well aware, ethics legislation can become complicated as you get into the nuts and bolts of it.

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House Guts Ethics Bill

Email Blast Sent to Supporters on April 24, 2017. Subscribe!

Friends,

The House Government Operations Committee has stripped the last remaining piece of oversight authority from the state ethics commission created by S.8. Research shows that strong ethics enforcement is critically important; any conflict of interest, revolving door, or nepotism regulations will not be effective. The piece removed by the House committee gave the commission authority to enforce oversight of egregious violations such as bribery.

Perhaps Representative Brumsted said it best; “[the commission] seems really fake to me, almost.” Yes, yes it does.

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Make Vermont an Education Destination

Originally appeared in the Caledonian Record on April 19, 2017

While the Vermont Legislature has been grappling with Vermont’s shrinking student enrollment with heavy handed mandates like Act 46, which in some school districts will do more harm than good, the Campaign for Vermont has put a more creative and more promising proposal on the table. Issued March 23rd and entitled “Re-Energizing Vermont’s Public Education System: Making Vermont an Education Destination” the proposal calls for Vermont to become more active in recruiting international exchange students.

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Ethics Hits Roadblock

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Ethics legislation hit a roadblock in the House on Wednesday when Representative David Deen mislead lawmakers about what was contained in S.8. He cautioned lawmakers to resist independent ethics oversight. We pushed back, but we need your help to make sure Vermont enacts meaningful ethics reform!
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April 6 Ethics Testimony - House Government Operations

As the committee has dug into S.8 you have discovered that perhaps some of these ethics issues are not quite as simple as they first appeared. In my previous testimony I said that an ethics commission must be independent, nonpartisan, and quasi-judicial to act as a meaningful enforcement mechanism.

After yesterday’s testimony there were a number of questions about the jurisdiction of an ethics commission and where the line is for separation of powers between the Legislative and Executive Branch. This is a question that has been debated for a few years now and the Secretary of State, CFV, VPIRG, and others had argued that there are ways to handle perceived delegation of power issue.

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Mathis Highlights Need for Ethics

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – MARCH 31, 2017

CONTACT:
Benjamin Kinsley
ben@campaignforvermont.org
(802) 448-2380

Bill Mathis again made headlines amid controversy last week when he was elected as vice-chair of the State Board of Education (SBE). Two new members of the board voted against him because of his involvement in proposed changes to how the state treats independent schools.

This argument, however, misses a more important point. In January, a group of independent legislators questioned whether Mathis’ employment at a national education research group that received funding from teachers unions violated the Vermont Executive Code of Ethics. “Much of the work conducted by the NEPC – including materials authored by Dr. Mathis – have direct bearing on public policy matters before the SBE,” they wrote.

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A Huge Opportunity

Email Blast Sent to Supporters on April 2, 2017. Subscribe!

Friends,

We released a report last week on Re-Energizing Vermont’s Education System and introducing $350 million in potential savings for Vermont property tax payers.

Vermont is well-positioned to take advantage of increasing global demand for access to American education systems. International applications for U.S. student visas has increased tenfold since 2008. Vermont’s public school system has the capacity to meet this demand (having lost 20,000 students since 1998) as well as small classroom sizes and good educational outcomes that would be attractive to these students. In fact, there are three public high schools in Vermont that are already doing this!

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CFV Releases Plan to Save Taxpayers $350 Million

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MARCH 23, 2017

CONTACT:
BENJAMIN KINSLEY
(802) 448-2380
BEN@CAMPAIGNFORVERMONT.ORG

 

Group Releases Plan for $350 Million in Taxpayer Savings

Burlington, VT – Campaign for Vermont Prosperity (CFV), a non-partisan advocacy and policy development group, today released a plan that could save property taxpayers as much as $350 million per year.

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