Vermont overrides vetoes on non-citizen voting in 2 cities
The Vermont Senate on Thursday voted to override Gov. Phil Scott’s vetoes of bills that would allow non-citizens to vote on local issues in the cities of Montpelier and Winooski.
The 20-10 vote on both bills came during the second day of a two-day veto session. On Wednesday, the House also voted to override the two bills that change the municipal charters of the two cities, which means the bills now become law.
Democratic Sen. President Pro Tem Becca Balint said in a written statement the Senate affirmed the decision of the voters in Montpelier and Winooski to regulate their own local elections.
“Today’s veto override votes continue Vermont’s track record supporting strong citizen engagement, and uphold the tradition of local control in our towns and cities,” she said.
The Senate also gave final approval to a bill to help enforce rental housing and safety codes that had been modified by the House.
The Senate did not attempt Thursday to override a third bill that was vetoed by the governor that would raise the age of juvenile offenders and keep identifying information confidential.
Under the terms of that proposal any public agency would be barred from releasing information about the initial arrest or charge of a person under age 20. It would allow the release of information in order to protect the health and safety of any person.
In his veto letter, Scott said that he had concerns with giving young adults protections meant for juveniles and that programs for children under 18 are often not appropriate for those over 18.
Democratic State Sen. Dick Sears, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee who has worked on criminal justice issues for years, said he was disappointed the bill did not pass this year, but he remains committed to finding ways to keep young adults out of the criminal justice system.
“The judiciary committee is willing to focus its efforts on the raise the age implementation and work with the administration to make sure we get this right,” Sears said. “We want to improve outcomes for emerging adults, increase public safety and reduce costs.”