What a week it's been! This week our legislators voted on three major pieces of legislation. They voted on cannabis reform, paid family leave, and Gov. Scott's last minute attempt to undermine the right of teachers to collectively bargain health insurance with their school boards. On all of these issues, our House Progressive Caucus stood unanimously on the right side of history.
The vote on teachers' health insurance would have undermined the right of teachers to collectively bargain at the local level by creating a statewide health insurance contract. It would have also eliminated the right of teachers to strike over health benefits. We were especially troubled to see 16 Democrats, representing nearly 20 percent of the Democratic Caucus, join with Republicans to vote to weaken collective bargaining. The vote ended in a tie and is likely to come up again. In a Democratic-controlled legislature, we should not need to wonder which Democrats will join with Republicans to weaken collective bargaining rights.
Can you donate $7 a month or any amount in honor of the 7 members of our House Caucus who voted unanimously to support collective bargaining rights? Your support will help send the message that collective bargaining is a fundamental right, not something to be voted away.
We also had really good news this week. Cannabis reform and paid family leave both passed through the House! While the cannabis bill is still unlikely to pass this year, it is great news that a slim majority in the VT House and a large majority in the Senate support legalization in some form. The House bill would legalize possession and home grown cannabis, but would not allow for sales.
The paid leave bill would provide six weeks of paid leave to workers who get sick, have a child, or need to care for a loved one. This is a good thing for Vermont workers, and something we support. We look forward to working on making the bill even better in the Vermont Senate.
All three of these measures saw our Progressive Reps. standing unanimously on the side of working people and those who wish to see a rational approach to cannabis. These votes show why it is so important for us to continue building our Party and elect more Progressives who will stand on the right side of history.
Executive Director, Vermont Progressive Party
PS. We were just one vote away from seriously undermining collective bargaining rights in Vermont. Become a $10 monthly donor and help us elect one more Progressive who will stand with workers after the next election.