Changes to Election Laws (H.429) - May 9-12, 2023
A bill changing numerous education provisions, H.429, generated a great deal of interest this session. Numerous people testified in both the House and Senate. On May 9th, a strike-all amendment from the Senate Government Operations Committee was considered. It incorporated provisions from S.32, which would create a Ranked-Choice Voting system for presidential primary elections.Read more
Changes to Boards and Commissions (H.125) - May 9, 2023
The Senate took up H.125 on the floor Wednesday, which deals with a number of different boards and commissions. Notably, the bill would repeal the Clean Energy Development Board and limit the authority of the Vermont Telecommunications Authority.
It also repeals the Government Accountability Committee and makes the Vermont Pension Investment Commission (VPIC)more independent from the State Treasurer.Read more
Ethics Commission Oversight (S.17) - April 25, 2023
Christina Sivret introduced herself to the House Government Operations Committee on Tuesday. She talked about the Vermont Ethics Commission and the service they provide. The majority of their current responsibilities relate to training and providing advice; they have ability to receive complaints but not to investigate them. However, they do oversee that State Code of Ethics.
The concept, she explained, is that the State Code of Ethics should apply to all state employees. She discussed the fact that if there can be additional codes of ethics within a state department that may be more stringent than the statewide code.Read more
Next Steps on Ethics (H.125) - April 20, 2023
Christina Sivret (Executive Director, Vermont Ethics Commission) joined the Senate Government Operations Committee to discuss a provision they wanted added to H.125. The underlying bill delt with boards and Commissions, but the Committee had previously indicated that this was a good vehicle for the language she was looking for.Read more
Ethics Commission - March 31, 2023
Christina Sivret presentation for the Vermont Ethics Commission budget to Senate Appropriations on Friday. The total budget came up to $190K, which includes two half-time personnel, plus a contractor. The Committee asked Sivret a number of questions, but they were very receptive to the presentation.
She was able to present all her hopes relative to enforcement of the Code of Ethics and candidate disclosure requirements now being proposed to be added to H.429. She also spoke about the required training and the support they offer public officials through advisory letters.Read more
Candidate Ethics (H.429)
Christina Sivret (Executive Director, Vermont Ethics Commission) presented to the Senate Government Operations Committee on Wednesday a proposal to add language to H.429 surrounding candidate financial disclosures and the compliance with such requirements.Read more
Miscellaneous Ethics Bill - Feb 28, 2023
The Senate Government Operations Committee took up a draft bill on Tuesday that would make miscellaneous changes to ethics laws. Legislative Counsel walked through the bill with the Committee.Read more
LETTER: House Government Operations on S.171
Members of the House Government Operations Committee,
Through Campaign for Vermont, I have been working with the Administration and Legislature since 2015 to encourage the passage and strengthening of ethics laws in Vermont. Today I am writing because you are beginning to take testimony on S.171. I know this bill may be confusing in how it interrelates with existing rules, policies, and practices across different branches of government. It is not always easy to step back and see the broader picture of how these all tie together.Read more
ACTION ALERT: This is Why Ethics Matter
Friends, earlier this week we issued our first action alert of the legislative session. Both VTDigger and VPR have picked up the story and highlighted the last-minute shredding of the ethics bill that we and others have spent two years working on.
We believe strongly that a Code of Ethics should apply equally to all three branches of state government. As envisioned a few short weeks ago, S.171 would have done that. However, the future of the bill is now uncertain as the legislative and judicial branches seek to exempt themselves or set up their own ethics policies and oversight.Read more
ACTION ALERT: Two Branches of Government Try to Exempt Themselves From Code of Ethics
Over the past several years, Campaign for Vermont has worked with the legislature and the Ethics Commission to develop a Code of Ethics that would apply to all three branches of Government. As such, S.171 is currently being discussed in Senate Government Operations and is the product of several years of research and debate. But, lately the bill has hit a critical juncture in its development.Read more