HOUSE PASSES TOWN MEETING BILLS
Vermont’s town clerks asked, and the legislature answered, passing S.172 in the first week of the session. Local election officials can now move forward in planning for 2022 Town Meetings with allowances for the ongoing pandemic.
With COVID surging again, the health and safety of voters and municipal staff is a top priority. This bill gives towns the flexibility to choose what works best for them: hold Town Meeting as usual; move the date later into the spring (when it will be warmer and the meeting could be held outdoors); or hold informational meetings online, and then vote by Australian ballot.
Additionally, the requirement for local candidates for signature petitions is waived. And Local official bodies may (permissive) conduct official business 100 percent remotely. The general ‘open meeting’ law normally requires a staffed physical location. These two changes are in effect until January 2023.
After today’s votes by the House and Senate, the bill is heading to Gov. Scott.