On the Blog: Legislative Wrap-Up

We just finished up a whirlwind legislative session here in Vermont! This was my first session with the Vermont Network and what an interesting session to join in this important work. The legislature saw a record number of bills introduced this year and the House and Senate grapples with a number of important economic and social justice issues. Advocates from across the state used their voices to support legislation that will benefit the lives of countless survivors. The Network monitored over 50 bills this session, many of which didn’t pass this year but are still in play and will be taken up again next January.

To find out about all of the bills that did move, check out our legislative summary chart that includes many of the bills we weighed in on this session. Some of the highlights are:

  • Completely lifting the statute of limitations on civil claims related to child sexual abuse. Previously, Vermont had a 6-year statute of limitation. This bill will allow survivors to seek material justice and will create opportunities for institutional reform.
  • Housing protections for victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking. The Network’s housing bill added victims to Vermont’s fair housing law and creates pathways for victims to exit a lease early without penalty if they need to, and have access to locks changes and other security measures. The law also creates protections for victim confidentiality.
  • Creating a process for victims of human trafficking to rid themselves of criminal convictions resulting from their experience as a victim of trafficking. Criminal convictions can often pose major barriers for victims to secure employment, housing and other resources they need to thrive.

Now that the session is over, I am focused on envisioning what is possible for the future of Vermont. I am curious – What do YOU think are the most important things Vermont can do to support survivors and create a violence-free state? What issues and priorities should we be considering for the 2020 session and beyond? Please send me a message at jessica@vtnetwork.org and let me know!

In deep conversation and community,

Jessica Barquist

Director of Policy and Organizing