VT & NY Legislative Round-Up

Which bills made it?

The New York the State Senate considered two regulatory “reform” bills that would seriously impede state agencies’ ability to protect the public and the environment. One bill S. 6495 would require any new regulations to be matched by repeal or amendment of an older regulation. The second S. 6770 would require all regulations passed after 1997 to be reconsidered or they would expire. Both bills passed the Commerce, Small Business, and Economic Development Committee, but thankfully did not make it off the Senate floor. The regulations these bills vilify protect workers, keep our food safe to eat, shield consumers from defective products, and ensure families have clean water to drink and clean air to breathe.  

In Vermont a number of bills passed that represent gains for the environment. S. 123 established standardized procedures for public notices and issuance of decisions about environmental permits. The bill should allow for greater public involvement in permit decisions. H. 595 requires more transparency on the part of industries that might release hazardous materials to waters of the state and clarifies their liability for damages caused. H. 570 requires permits for commercial sellers of fish caught in the state’s waters, and better regulates introductions of fish to new waters. H. 674 requires additional public notice of combined sewer overflows.

Not all news from Vermont was good however. Although the legislature passed H.518 to increase public input to the Clean Water Fund Board, the Governor vetoed that bill. With the Governor’s action the board will remain restricted only to Agency heads appointed by the Governor.