- 1 Ways to Resist
- 2 Updates
- 3 Actions Taken by the State Government
- 4 Key Upcoming Elections
- 5 Healthcare
- 6 Policing
- 7 Immigration
- 8 Voting Rights
- 9 Mass Incarceration
- 10 Benefits / Tax Cuts
- 11 Housing/Infrastructure
- 12 Women's Rights/Reproductive Justice
- 13 LGBTQ+ Issues
- 14 Educational Justice
- 15 Consumer Protections /Worker's Rights
- 16 Climate / Environment
- 17 Disability Rights
- 18 Organizations and Events
- 19 Local News Sources
- 20 Relevant City and County Information
Ways to Resist
- Contact your elected officials:
- Governor Phil Scott (R): Elected in 2016. Up for re-election in 2018.
- Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman (P): Elected in 2016. Up for re-election in 2018
- Get involved with local organizations.
- Find organizations with state and local presences working in your area.
- Check out our Tools of Resistance.
- Look for upcoming events and opportunities and state and local events.
- 5/31/2017: The bill H.308, signed by the governor, proposes a panel for oversight of racial disparities throughout the criminal justice system. This would include policing, sentencing, and incarceration. The bill requires the Human Rights Commission and attorney general to address racial justice issues more broadly, such as in racial disparities in housing and economic development opportunities.
To see past updates for Vermont, click here.
Actions Taken by the State Government
Legislation that Supports Equity and Justice
Important bills proposed by Vermont lawmakers this legislative session that should be supported:
- S 77 would require candidates to release their tax returns from the past five years to appear on the state's ballot.
Harmful bills proposed by Vermont lawmakers this legislative session that should be opposed:
- No harmful bills identified.
See also the main policy pages for federal legislative tracking.
Key Upcoming Elections
Click here to find out if you're registered to vote. Register to vote here. The deadline is Election Day. If you register by mail, you will need proof of identification the first time you vote. Otherwise, no document is required to vote.
- Senator Bernie Sanders will be up for re-election in 2018.
- Governor Phil Scott (R) is up for re-election in 2018.
- If there is a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, 21,000 people in Vermont (or 3.4% of the population) are estimated to lose coverage, whereas 35,000 people (or 5.6% of the population) will lose coverage with a partial repeal. (Retrieved 1/29/2017 from ACA Repeal Impact, state-by-state.) Not covering preexisting conditions will disproportionately affect people with disabilities.
- The number of uninsured people in Vermont is predicted to be 27,000 by 2021 under the ACA. Without the ACA, that number is expected to increase to 49,000, a 81.0% increase.
- Vermont is among the states that lost the ability to place lifetime limits on coverage, because that practice is banned by the ACA; those limits are likely to be reinstated under a full repeal.
- Prior to the ACA's ban on gender-rating, women in Vermont could pay up to 57% more for the same coverage, compared to men; an ACA repeal could bring back that coverage gap.
- Given that a repeal of the ACA would also change payment structures and subsidies, 6,000 jobs could be lost in Vermont. When federal funding is cut, it creates a ripple effect that affects local and state revenue, thus creating losses in economic activity and employment.
- Under the ACA Repeal-and-Delay strategy, young adults in Vermont could pay $968 more in 2018.
- Five people were killed by police in Vermont from 2013 to 2016, which is one of the lowest rates per capita in the country.
- None of the people killed by police in Vermont between 2013 and 2016 were black.
- In 2013, Vermont had 26,156 immigrants, making up 4.2% of the population.
- There are estimated to be less than 5,000 undocumented immigrants in Vermont, making up 0.3% of the population.
Rights of Non-Citizens
- Vermont offers drivers’ licenses regardless of immigration status.
- Vermont does not allow undocumented immigrants to attend public college at the same in-state tuition rate as legal residents and citizens.
- Undocumented immigrants in Vermont made up 0.3% of the labor workforce in 2014.
- If all undocumented workers were removed from Vermont, the state would lose $249.5 million in economic activity.
- Undocumented immigrants paid $5.8 million in state and local taxes in Vermont in 2012. If they all had legal status, they would pay $6.7 million.
- Vermont is one of only four states with a statewide sanctuary policy.
- Vermont ranked fourth in refugee resettlement per capita in 2016, with 62 refugees per 100,000 residents.
- Voters face the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). The VRA was designed to prevent discrimination in voting. Overall, states are passing fewer laws to restrict voting rights. However, voter ID bills are the most common type of restriction.
- While 14 states will have new voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election, Vermont is not one of them, and has in fact recently initiated automatic voter registration.
- In 2014, 1,508 people were incarcerated in Vermont, plus a probation population of 5,791 and parole population of 1,098.
- Of the prison population, 121 people were serving life sentences, and 14 were serving life sentences without parole.
- In Vermont, a black person was 10.5 times more likely to be incarcerated than a white person in 2014.
- 431 people were incarcerated in private prisons in 2014.
- Corrections expenditures in 2014 were $150 million.
Benefits / Tax Cuts
- Vermont residents who face a tax increase under Trump’s plan:
- Households: 17,000
- Adults and children: 46,000
- Children: 26,000
- In 2015, an average of 44,950 households and 84,994 individuals received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps) in a given month in Vermont. In 2011, approximately 15% of the population of Vermont was receiving SNAP benefits. The average monthly benefit per Vermont household was $223 per household and $116 per person in 2016.
- In 2016, an average of 5,622 households, including 2,662 families and 4,167 children, received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is direct financial assistance, in a given month. The average monthly benefit for a single parent with three children residing in Vermont was $640 in 2014. Average benefits in Vermont have fallen in value by 29.7% since 1996.
- In 2016, an average of 2,721 women received funds from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in a given month.
- In December 2015, there were 964 Social Security recipients in the "aged" category receiving $342.32 per person on average, for a total of $330,000.
- 15,700 low-income families spent more than half of their income on housing.
- In 2014, Vermont had 53 units of affordable and available housing for every 100 households categorized as “extremely low income” (at or below 30% of area median income.)
- In Vermont, there were 1,117 homeless people in 2016.
- Of the homeless population, there were 158 families, 110 veterans, 70 unaccompanied young adults (18-24), and 127 people experiencing chronic homelessness.
- Vermont received $100 million in federal rental assistance funding in 2014.
- In Vermont, more than 12,000 families relied on federal rental assistance in 2014.
- Nearly all Vermont households using federal rental assistance included children, elderly people or disabled people.
- Vermont's infrastructure received a score of C from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2015.
- This study gave the state no “good” scores and identified wastewater as being in “poor” condition.
- In 2013, the Department of Transportation found that 33.1% of Vermont's bridges were structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and 45% of Vermont's roads were in poor or mediocre condition.
- Driving on these roads leads to an additional $424 per motorist per year in increased vehicle repairs and operating costs.
Women's Rights/Reproductive Justice
- Vermont has 12 Planned Parenthood centers.
- In 2015, 11 centers were in rural, medically underserved, or health-provider shortage areas.
- On average, there is one Planned Parenthood for 9,584 women of reproductive age.
- There were nine abortion providers providers in Vermont in 2015.
- In 2014, 4.6 out of every 1,000 women of reproductive age in Vermont had an abortion. The national abortion rate is 14.6.
- Vermont has no major restrictions on abortion access.
Contraception and ACA
Vermont has moved to protect no-cost birth control. One option per person is covered under state law; this can include IUDs, oral contraception, tubal ligation, or vasectomies.
Women and Wages
- In Vermont, 10.3% of women live in poverty. Single mothers make up 32.8% of women living in poverty, while women age 65 and older make up 8.6%.
- For every dollar made by men, women are paid $0.84, which is four cents above the national average of $0.80.
- African American women are paid $0.93 for every dollar paid to white men, while Latina women make $0.69 for every dollar made by white men.
Domestic Violence in Vermont
- In 2012, 14 Vermont domestic violence organizations served 8,778 victims.
- The organizations also fielded 12,507 hotline calls and housed more than 1,065 victims.
- 1 in 7 Vermont women will be a victim of rape in her lifetime.
- Between 1994 and 2010, 51% of all homicides in Vermont were domestic violence–related.
Religious freedom law
Vermont does not have any religious freedom Laws. Religious freedom laws protect people's right to practice their religion and limit laws imposing on that right, and were intended to protect religious minorities. However, after same-sex marriage was legalized, conservative states have attempted to enact similar laws with provisions that allow discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals.
Vermont has laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, insurance, and credit. The state lacks laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in adoption and foster care.
Vermont has second-parent adoption and parental presumption for same-sex couples, but lacks laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in foster care, surrogacy and de facto parent recognition.
Hate crime laws
Vermont includes LGBTQ+ people in hate crime protections, but does not require reporting of hate crimes.
Vermont has laws for transgender inclusion in sports, protection from conversion therapy, and LGBTQ+ inclusive juvenile justice policies.
Health and safety laws
Vermont bans insurance exclusions for trans health care, has nondiscrimination protections in the ACA exchanges, and allows gender marker changes on identification documents. The state lacks some nondiscrimination laws protecting the health and safety of its LGBTQ+ citizens, including transgender inclusion in state Medicaid and gender-neutral single-occupancy restrooms.
- Vermont was ranked 6th in per-pupil spending as of 2013, with an average expenditure of $16,377 per student.
- As of 2013, Vermont ranked 25th in teacher pay, with teachers earning an average of $52,526 per year.
- 90% of students in Vermont attend public schools. As is the case in other states, students who attend private schools come from wealthier families, with private school families earning an average 22% higher income.
- As of 2014, no students were enrolled in public charter schools.
- Vermont's overall graduation rate is 88%, just above the national average. By subgroups, four-year graduation rates in Vermont are as follows:
- White: 89%
- Latino: 78%
- Black: 75%
- Asian/Pacific Islander: 90%
- American Indian: N/A
- Economically Disadvantaged: 78%
- Limited English Proficient: 69%
- Students with Disabilities: 70%
Consumer Protections /Worker's Rights
- Vermont has a state minimum wage of $10.00. The state minimum wage is set to rise in 2018 to $10.50, and in 2019 it is set to rise 5% or concurrent with the consumer price index.
- Vermont has a state law for paid sick leave, in which workers accrue one hour of sick leave for every 52 hours worked. They can use 24 hours of paid sick leave in 2017 and 2018, and 40 hours in 2019 and beyond.
- Vermont has no state law for paid family leave.
- Vermont is a state with no Right-to-Work laws, which means that the state cannot prohibit unions that collectively bargain on behalf of both members and nonmembers from requiring union fees for the services they provide to all workers they represent. Such laws are designed to reduce unions' income and power.
- Vermont is a state with an at-will exemption. "At-will" means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, except an illegal one, or for no reason, without breaking the law. Likewise, an employee is free to leave a job at any time for any or no reason with no adverse legal consequences.
- Vermont also has a public policy exemption, meaning that an employer may not fire an employee if it would violate the state's public policy doctrine or a state or federal statute, including refusing to perform an act that state law prohibits (e.g., refusing an employer's request to commit perjury at a trial), reporting a violation of the law (e.g., reporting an employer's fraudulent accounting practices or use of child labor), engaging in acts that are in the public interest (e.g., joining the National Guard or performing jury duty) and exercising a statutory right (e.g., filing a claim under the state workers' compensation law).
- Vermont does allow for implied contract exemptions.. An implied contract can be created in several different ways: oral assurances by a supervisor; or handbooks, policies or practices as written assurances by the employer. This means that if there is no written contract between the employer and employee, that employee may have an exception of fixed term or even indefinite employment based on an employer's statements. As a general rule, courts disregard language promising long-term, lifetime or permanent employment as aspirational and consider the relationship to be at-will.
- Vermont does support the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. Courts have interpreted this in different ways, from requiring just cause for termination to prohibiting terminations made in bad faith or motivated by malice.
Climate / Environment
- 100% of Vermont’s electricity generation is renewable, including biomass, wind, and solar. Vermont also uses power from Canada and other New England states.
- Vermont has 12 sites on the National Priorities List.
- Approximately 7.5% of Vermont’s land is federally owned.
- In 2014, the Black and Asian or Pacific Islander populations had the highest air pollution exposure indices—of 22 and 21—compared to an overall index of 11.
- In 2012, Native American adults in Vermont were more likely to have asthma—27.8%, compared to 10.6% overall.
- The environmental agency in Vermont is the Department of Environmental Conservation, which manages water and air quality, regulates waste, and administers a number of voluntary pollution and waste reduction programs.
- The Vermont DEC receives approximately 40% of its budget from the U.S. EPA. The Trump administration's proposed budget, which was not passed, would have completely eliminated the EPA's Lake Champlain Basin Program, which provides $4.4 million in annual funding to Vermont and supports the cleanup of Lake Champlain.
- Both the State of Vermont and the Vermont Agency of Transportation have climate change action plans, which include recommendations for monitoring and reducing emissions.
- In 2015, Vermont established a mandatory renewable energy goal of 75% renewable energy by 2032.
- Vermont is tied for the 12th-highest rate of disability in the US: 14.8% of Vermont's residents are disabled, compared with the national average of 12.6%. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table R1810]
- The employment rate among disabled adults in Vermont is 41.0%, compared to the national average of 34.9%. People without disabilities in Vermont have a 81.0% employment rate. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Tables R1811 & B18120]
- Approximately 18.1% of eligible voters in Vermont have one or more disabilities, compared to a national average of 15.7%.
- Of adults with disabilities in Vermont, 21.0% live in poverty, as opposed to 8.8% of non-disabled adults. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B23024] The poverty rate for disabled children under 5 is 0.0%, as opposed to 15.7% for non-disabled children. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B18130]
- In Vermont, 5.9% of households receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income), compared to the national average of 5.4%. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B19056]
Organizations and Events
Find state/local chapters of national organizations here.
Environmental Justice Groups
Disability Rights Organizations
- Disability Rights Vermont—141 Main Street, Suite 7, Montpelier, VT, 05602. tel:802-229-1355
- Green Mountain Self-Advocates—2 Prospect Street, Suite 6 Montpelier, Vermont 05602. tel:802-229-2600.
- Vermont Center for Independent Living—11 East State St., Montpelier, VT 05602. tel:800-639-1522.
- Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights—11 East State St., Suite 2, Montpelier, VT 05602. tel:800-639-1522
- Vermont Legal Aid—Disability Law Project. Offices in Burlington, Montpelier, Rutland, Springfield, St. Johnsbury.
- Progressive Party calendar
Local News Sources
Relevant City and County Information
- Vermont General Assembly—all scheduled House Committee meetings, 2017–2018 legislative session
- Vermont General Assembly—all scheduled Senate Committee meetings, 2017–2018 Legislative Session