Sen. Brian Campion, Bennington

District: Bennington (Map)
Party: Democrat
Contact Information:
1292 West Rd.
Bennington, VT 05201
bcampion@leg.state.vt.us
Websitebriancampion.org
Facebook
Contact Local Paper(s):
news@benningtonbanner.com
news@manchesterjournal.com


EAI Roll Call Profiles provide a record of how legislators voted on key issues. The profiles are designed to be an educational tool, giving insight into the kinds of policies each representative supports and opposes. These bills did not necessarily become law.


 2017 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

$5.83 Billion FY18 Budget/$8 Million Property Tax Increase (H.518). Passed 30-0 on April 26, 2017. The “Big Bill” sets the total state budget, including federally funded projects, at $5.83, which represents a spending increase of 1.3 percent over the current year. The state funded portion of total spending is set at $2.48 billion, an increase of 0.7 percent. This Senate version of the budget transferred an $8 million obligation to teacher retirement into the state Education Fund, which would require a 0.8 cent increase in the non-residential property tax rate. CAMPION – YES

Create Statewide Teachers’ Healthcare Contract/$26 Million in Property Tax Savings (H.518). Passed 22-6 on May 3, 2017.  This is a tricky roll call to analyze. At face value, the bill sets state budget for FY18. However, the vote became a symbolic referendum on Governor Phil Scott’s proposal to save a potential $26 million in property taxes by restructuring how teachers negotiate and receive health insurance benefits. Those voting YES supported the budget, which was met with no new taxes or fees, opposed the Governors proposal property tax savings, or both. Those voting NO supported the Governor’s proposal and thought it should have been adopted as part of the overall budgeting process. CAMPION – YES

Legalize Growing/Possessing Marijuana, Sets Stage for Retail Sales/Taxation (S.22). Passed 22-9 on May 5, 2017. S.22 was originally a fentanyl regulation bill repurposed to be a vehicle for passage of marijuana legalization. It would remove all criminal penalties for adults 21 or older who possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and allow growing up to two mature and two immature marijuana plants per household, and would go into effect in 2018. The bill also sets up a commission that will create a framework for taxing and regulating retail sales of marijuana. Those voting YES support legalization of marijuana; those voting NO oppose it. CAMPION – YES

Raise Legal Smoking Age to 21 (S.88) Failed 13-16 on April 25, 2017. Those voting YES were in favor of raising the legal smoking age to 21, those voting NO opposed the measure. CAMPION – NO

Eliminate Parental Rights In Regard to Gender Identity Related Mental Health Counseling for Minors (H.230). Passed 24-6 on April 21, 2017. This bill proposed to allow minors (under the age of 18) to “consent to mental health treatment for any condition related to the minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity,” including counseling and psychotherapy. These services would be paid for by the child’s school or, it that is impractical, another agency. Those voting YES think this is a good idea. Those voting NO see it as a violation and usurpation of parental rights. CAMPION – YES


 Re-Elected, November 2016



2016 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

$5.8 Billion FY17 Budget (H.875). Passed 23-5 on March 24, 2016. Those voting YES on this bill approved a total $5.76 billion state budget for FY17, including $47.1 million in new spending. This represents a total increase of 2.7 percent over FY16 (not accounting for adjustments that will occur in the next legislative session.) The $1.47 billion general fund portion of the budget, however, increases by 4.8 percent, while revenue is projected to grow at just 2.2%. This budget also leaves an estimated $30 million hole for the FY18 budget. Those voting NO argued that continuing the trend of spending taxpayer dollars faster than revenue comes into the treasury is unsustainable and irresponsible. CAMPION – YES

Adjust FY16 Budget Upward by $91.8 Million (H.611). Passed 25-4 on February 10, 2016. Those voting YES voted in favor of increasing spending for FY16 by a total of $91.8 million (raising the previously accepted state budget to $5.6 billion, a 2.5% increase over FY15), $12.3 million of which is represents increases in General Fund spending (raising total General Fund Spending to $1.48 billion, a 5% increase over FY15). Those voting NO opposed these spending increases on the grounds that the state cannot continue to spend money faster than revenue is coming in, and that continuing to do so is causing a structural deficit. CAMPION – YES

$38 Million in New Miscellaneous Taxes (H.873) Passed 22-6 on April 26, 2016. Those voting YES approved $38 million worth of new taxes. These include stringent enforcement of the 9% rooms and meals tax on private, short term rentals such as those contracted through AirBnB, And increases the fuel gross receipts on heating oil, propane, kerosene, dyed diesel, and coal to 0.75%. Those voting NO opposed these tax increases. CAMPION – YES

Mandate Paid Sick Leave (H.187), Passed 21-8, February 3, 2016. Those voting YES supported a de facto tax on mostly small/micro businesses. According to the Joint Fiscal Office, “the total cost to employers of extending sick leave coverage to Vermont workers to be approximately $3.6 to $8.2 million dollars from the effective date until December 31, 2017 and between $6.2 and $14.3 million dollars annually thereafter.” Those voting NO opposed placing another costly mandate on Vermont businesses. CAMPION – YES

Block Paid Sick Leave Exemption for Small Businesses (H.187, Senate Amendment), Passed 15-14, February 10, 2016. Those voting YES on the Senate Amendment to the Campion Amendment ensured that businesses of five or fewer employees will be subject to the paid sick leave mandate, and want to study the impact of the mandate on those businesses. Those voting NO supported an exemption from the paid sick leave mandate for businesses with five or fewer employees. CAMPION – NO

Repeal Act 46 Spending Caps (S.233), passed 28-1, January 20, 2016. Those voting YES supported removing entirely the allowable growth thresholds (spending caps) from Act 46 (the Education Consolidation law passed in 2015), either because they believed the spending restrictions were too harsh, or because errors that ocuured in implementing the law made it unfair to apply the caps. Those voting NO believed the spending caps were the only cost control measures in Act 46, and should be left in place to put downward pressure on property taxes. CAMPION – YES

Give Towns Some Say Over Renewable Energy Siting, But State Maintains Ultimate Control (S.230), Passed 22-3, March 31, 2016. Those voting YES on this bill agreed to give towns “substantial deference” when it comes to siting renewable energy projects, provided the towns sign onto the state’s vision for renewable energy development and jump through several hoops to qualify for the deference. Those voting NO on the believed it did not go far enough in giving local communities a true veto over the siting of these projects. CAMPION – YES

Legalize Marijuana (S.241), Passed 16-13, February 24, 2016. Those voting YES on this this bill supported legalizing marijuana in the state of Vermont for citizens over 21, taxing sales of marijuana at 25%, prohibiting “home grown” marijuana as well as edible forms of the product. The law would establish a small number of licenses to grow and distribute marijuana (30 retail outfits), which would cost in total $20 million in fees to obtain. Under this bill, Vermonters would be allowed to buy half an ounce of the product, and out of state residents would be allowed a quarter of an ounce. The law would take effect in January 2018.Those voting NO did so on the grounds that this sends the wrong message to Vermont youth while we are in the midst of a greater drug addiction crisis in the state, and the fact that several law enforcement issues have not been solved, such as how do we detect and prosecute driving under the influence and implications for job related drug testing. CAMPION – YES

 

2015 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

$36 Million Tax Increase (H.489). Passed 22-7, April 30, 2015. This bill is the principal revenue-raising vehicle to fund the FY2016 budget. Those voting YES approved $36 million in new and increased taxes on Vermonters by limiting Vermonters’ home mortgage deductions to 12%, disallowing charitable deductions to out of state organizations or those that do not serve Vermonters, levying a 2.5% tax increase on satellite TV and expanding Vermont’s 6% sales tax to sweetened beverages. CAMPION – YES

$14 Million Property Tax Increase (H.361). Passed 27-3, May 7, 2015. Those voting YES on this bill approved an estimated $14 million increase in school property taxes, setting the statewide homestead property tax rate at $1.59 per $100.00 for nonresidential property $1.00 multiplied by the district education property tax spending adjustment for the municipality for homestead property. The bill also creates a formula for financial incentives for districts to consolidate into Pre-K- 12 districts of no fewer than 900 students. It is highly debatable as to whether or not such consolidation will save money for taxpayers, and those voting NO see this legislation as a threat to small schools and local control. CAMPION – YES

Mandates 75% of Electric Sales Be From “Renewables” by 2032. (H.40). Passed 22-6, May 15, 2015. H.40 had many facets to it. It repealed the SPEED program and replaced it with a new RESET program, enabling Vermont utilities’ to continue to sell some Renewable Energy Credits. It also mandated that utilities have 75% of their electricity portfolio come from renewable sources by 2032. This, of course, is a mandate on customers to buy the more expensive renewables, and a requirement that more renewable electricity projects be built (25 megawatts per year). This many wind towers and solar facilities will have a negative impact on Vermont’s scenic landscape. CAMPION – YES

Allow Towns “Substantial Deference” When Siting Renewable Power Facilities (H.40, KITCHELL ET AL AMENDMENT). Failed 10-19, May 15, 2015. The Kitchell Amendment would have given “substantial deference” to local municipal conservation planning when considering the siting of a renewable energy generating facility. Those voting YES gave deference to local community planning in regard to siting renewable energy facilities. Those voting NO supported allowing minimal influence by towns when determining siting decisions and to prioritize renewable energy development over conservation. CAMPION – NO

Restrict Firearms Ownership for Some Felons/Mentally Ill Citizens (S.141). Passed 20-8, March 25, 2015. Those voting YES on the bill believe this measure will work to keep guns out of the hands of violent felons, thereby reducing violent crime. Those voting NO believe the measures will not reduce crime or improve gun safety, citing the fact that the legislation is redundant (federal legislation is already in place to police these situations), and unnecessary — a “solution in search of a problem” – as Vermont’s existing gun laws have earned Vermont the lowest violent crime rate per capita in the nation, according to the FBI. CAMPION –  YES

Allow Same Day Voter Registration (S.29) Passed 20-7, March 26, 2015. Those voting YES on S.29 would allow an individual to both register to vote and to vote on the same day (election day). Those voting NO believe this to be an invitation to voter fraud as there is not adequate opportunity for either the Town Clerk or other election monitors to verify that the persons registering to vote on election day are who they say they are, or are legal residents of where they claim to live. CAMPION – YES

Senate Blocks Photo ID Requirement for Election Day Voter Registration (S.29, DEGREE AMENDMENT). Failed 7-21, April 1, 2015. The underlying bill, S.29, establishes “election day registration” to vote. (Ie, you can walk in off the streets on the first Tuesday of November, register to vote, vote, and leave). The Degree Amendment would have required those doing so to present a valid photo ID to prove they are who they say they are, and proof of residence such as an electric bill, pay stub, etc, to prove that they live where they say they live. Those voting YES on the Degree Amendment believe that requiring voters to prove who they are and that they live where they live will help prevent voter fraud, which is critical in a state like Vermont where elections are often determined by a handful of votes. Allowing election day registration without requiring mechanisms to verify who new registrants are or where they live is an invitation to voter fraud. Those voting NO cited that the prospect of voter fraud was not a compelling enough reason to pass the amendment. CAMPION – NO


 Elected to the Senate, November 2014


2014 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

5.5% STATE SPENDING INCREASE FOR 2015 (H. 885). Passed 91-46, March 27, 2014. Those voting YES on H.885 supported general fund spending for FY2015 of $1.438 billion. This represents a 5.5% increase ($88 million) over the original FY2014 budget of $1.362 billion as passed in 2013, and a 3.8% increase over the FY2014 budget as adjusted (upward) in 2014.The 5.5% spending increase is five times the current rate of inflation (1.1%), and nearly double Vermonters’ average rate of personal income growth (2.88% for 2013). CAMPION – YES

$12.6 MILLION INCREASE TO 2014 SPENDING (H.655). Passed 110-33, January 24, 2014. The “Budget Adjustment Act,” is designed to “tweak” spending levels passed into law by the legislature in the previous year before in response to changes in fiscal conditions. Those voting YES on this 2014 Budget Adjustment, H.655, voted for a net increase of $12.63 million in new spending to the FY2014 General Fund budget bringing total FY2014 General Fund spending up to $1.37 billion. CAMPION – YES

$56.2 MILLION PROPERTY TAX INCREASE (H. 889). Passed 89-51, April 4, 2014. Those voting YES on H.889 voted in favor of a $56.2 million property tax increase.  Residential property tax rates rise 4¢ (4%) from 94¢ to 98¢ per $100 of assessed value. Nonresidential tax rates rise 7.5¢ (5%) from $1.44 to $1.515 per $100 of value. CAMPION – YES

$1.2 MILLION MISCELLANEOUS TAX INCREASE (H. 884). Passed 104-41, March 27, 2014. The Miscellaneous Tax bill is an annual adjustment of tax provisions needed to match revenues with spending. Those voting YES on H.884 voted in favor of increasing the tax on tobacco snuff from $2.24 to $2.62, which is projected to raise $700,000, and to implement a 92% wholesale tax on electronic cigarettes, which was projected to raise $500,000. CAMPION – YES

OVER $800,000 INCREASE IN MISCELANEOUS FEES (H.735). Passed 87-48, May 9, 2014. The “Fee Bill” sets the fees for business and professional licensing and a number of state services. This year’s bill was made controversial by a provision requiring $200 fee for storage of firearms confiscated by law enforcement following domestic disturbances. Those voting YES on H.735 supported over $800,000 in fee increases. CAMPION – YES

INCREASE MINIMUM WAGE 16% TO $10.10 PER HOUR (H. 552) Passed 87-57, April 8, 2014. Those voting YES supported raising the minimum wage from $8.73 to $10.10 effective January 2015. This is a 16% increase and was estimated to cost Vermont businesses $30 million. State economist Tom Kavet testified that a rise in the minimum wage to $10 would result in the loss of 250 jobs or the equivalent in hours. Vermont already has the third highest minimum wage in the United States. CAMPION – YES

MANDATORY SCHOOL DISTRICT CONSOLIDATION (H.883). Passed 76-60, April 30, 2014. Those voting YES on the bill supported the mandate, “This bill proposes to require…[that] as of July 1, 2020, supervisory unions shall cease to exist and current school districts shall be realigned into expanded prekindergarten–grade 12 school districts (Expanded Districts) that are responsible for the education of all resident students in prekindergarten–grade 12.” This would eliminate local school boards and erode local control over education. This bill would not reduce the cost of education, and would probably, in the short term, increase costs in order to pay for the transition. CAMPION – NO

ALLOW CHILDCARE BUSINESSES TO UNIONIZE/COLLECTIVLEY BARGAIN FOR SUBSIDIES (S. 316) Passed 78-59, May 6, 2014. This bill would allow early childcare businesses to form a union to collectively bargain for taxpayer-funded subsidies.  The legislature is essentially giving a union taxpayer money to lobby the legislature about something for which the legislature is already aware it is responsible, and forces hundreds of small business people in Vermont to pay “agency fees” (85% of union dues) to a union that they do not want to join. CAMPION – YES

EXEMPT NON-UNIONIZED CHILDCARE WORKERS FROM PAYING “AGENCY FEES” TO A UNION (BOUCHARD AMENDMENT to S.316). Failed 53-86 on May 6, 2014. The underlying bill (S.316) allows early childcare businesses to form a union to collectively bargain with the state for subsidies. The Bouchard amendment would have exempted those early childcare providers who choose not to join a union from having to pay “agency fees” (85% of union dues) to that union. CAMPION – NO

MAKE SINGLE-PAYER FINANCING PLAN(S) OPEN TO THE PUBLIC (Browning Amendment to H. 884) Failed 39-102, March 28, 2014. The Browning Amendment to H.884 would have bound committees in the House (Ways & Means) and Senate (Finance) to formally request that the Shumlin Administration submit on or before April 30, 2014 one or more financing proposals for Green Mountain Care (single payer healthcare). If the proposal(s) are not complete by that date, “all drafts, reports and other documents related to financing Green Mountain Care” would be turned over. In the event the Administration did not comply, the committees would be bound to subpoena the Administration for the information. CAMPION – NO

REPEAL AND REPLACE EDUCATION FINANCING SYSTEM (ACT 60/68)(Scheuermann Amendment to H. 889) Failed 49-83, April 3, 2014. The “Repeal & Replace amendment” proposed to repeal Vermont’s current education funding laws (Act 60/68) effective July 1, 2016 with a replacement to take effect for the 2016-2017 Academic Year. The Scheuermann Amendment comes in the wake of 37 Vermont towns voting down their school budgets. 43 towns lowered school spending, but, under the current financing system, still saw property taxes increase. Those voting NO voted to leave the status quo in place. Those voting YES voted for reform. CAMPION – NO

IMPOSE STRICTER CENTRAL PLANNING FOR LAND DEVELOPMENT (H. 823). Passed 92-44, March 13, 2014. This bill was designed to funnel development into “approved, designated centers” (urban) and discourage development in other areas (rural) by making allowances for, and in some cases subsidies to, the former, and creating legal barriers to the latter. H.823 places strict regulations on the “conditions and criteria” for obtaining development permits. In the words of House Energy & Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Tony Klein, this bill turns Act 250 into a “living document.” CAMPION – YES

REQUIRE “MAY CONTAIN GMO” LABEL ON SOME FOOD PRODUCTS (H. 112). Passed 114-30, April 23, 2014. The GMO labeling bill is popular with Vermonters because people quite logically want to know what is in the food they eat. Therefore, superficially this bill makes sense. However, there are two major concerns with H.112 in practice. 1) It opens Vermont taxpayers up to an estimated $1.5 to $8 million in legal liabilities if the law is challenged in court and the state loses – certain and likely scenarios respectively. 2) Given the number of exemptions to the labeling codified within the bill, it really doesn’t achieve the ostensible goal of enlightening consumers as to whether or not they are eating GMOs. CAMPION – YES

 

2013 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

4.7% STATE SPENDING INCREASE (H.530). Passed 91-49, March 29, 2013. Those members voting YES on the “Omnibus Appropriations Bill” voted to increase state spending by 4.7%. This is nearly 2 and a half times the rate of inflation. CAMPION – YES

$50 MILLION PROPERTY TAX INCREASE (H.265). Passed 96-45, Feb. 19, 2013. Those who voted YES on this bill voted to increase the residential property tax rate by $.05 per $100.00 of assessed value, and $.06 on non-residential property to $.94 and $1.44 respectively. The total tax increase on Vermont property taxpayers as a result of this bill is estimated at over $50 million. CAMPION – YES

$21.8 MILLION GAS TAX INCREASE (H.510). Passed 105-37, March 20, 2013. Legislators who voted YES on this bill supported a $21.8 million tax increase on gasoline – a roughly 7.5 cent per gallon increase by 2014. This represents the largest gas tax increase in Vermont history. CAMPION – YES

$27 MILLION MISCELLANEOUS TAX INCREASE (H.528). Passed 85-55, March 27, 2013. Those members voting YES voted to expand the Vermont state sales tax (6%) to bottled water, clothing (including shoes) over $110, candy, soft drinks, and dietary supplements, and to increase the tax on cigarettes and smokeless tobacco by $0.50 (total: $3.12) and $0.88 (total: $3.12) respectively. They voted to increase the Rooms & Meals tax from 9% to 9.5% for 2014, and they voted to apply the Meals tax to food sold out of vending machines. They voted to cap all itemized tax deductions at 2.5 times standard deduction, eliminated Vermont’s 8.8% tax bracket, moving those earning $178,651 and more into the top 8.95% tax bracket, formerly reserved for those earning $388,351 and above.  The total estimated cost to Vermont taxpayers: $27 million in 2014 and $32.3 million in 2015. CAMPION – YES

STOP ‘RAIDS’ ON THE TRANSPORTATION FUND (Koch Amendment to H.510). Failed 49-88, March 21, 2013. Those voting YES on voted to assure that no transportation funds will be appropriated for the support of government other than for true transportation purposes. This would have reduced or negated the need for a gas tax increase. CAMPION – NO

STATE OVERRIDES LOCAL CONTROL, MANDATES PRE-K (H.270). Passed 95-43, May 1, 2013. Those voting YES on H.270 voted to saddle Vermonters with an estimated $10 million cost/tax increase over the next five years, and to take away local control regarding the decision of whether or not to offer publicly funded pre-kindergarten. When the legislature established publicly funded pre-k in 2007, it did so with the assurance to communities that funding pre-k would remain voluntary. This bill reneges on that deal. CAMPION – YES

FORCE NON-UNION WORKER TO PAY FEES TO UNIONS (S.14). Passed 85-43, April 26, 2013. Those voting YES on S.14 voted in favor of forcing non-union workers to pay a fee equal to 85% of the dues unionized workers pay to the union, effectively using government power to require citizens to make payments to a private organization that they want nothing to do with. S.14 affects roughly 2,600 education, state and municipal employees, mostly low-wage support staff who can least afford the payment. CAMPION – YES

LIMIT CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS (S.82). Passed 96-49, May 8, 2013. Those voting YES on S.82 voted in favor of capping donations to independent political committees that do not coordinate with candidates or parties, despite Supreme Court precedents that are pretty clear that this constitutes a violation of the First Amendment. If the bill is challenged in court, which it likely will be, the state would most likely lose, leaving taxpayers on the hook for an estimated $5 million. CAMPION – YES

SET FIVE YEAR TIME LIMIT FOR WELFARE BENEFITS (Donahue Amendment to H.530) Failed 51-88, March 28, 2013.  Those voting YES on this amendment voted to limit Reach Up benefits to 60 cumulative months of financial assistance, excluding child-only grants, per family.  This amendment is similar to a proposal from Governor Shumlin, about which he cautioned, “Vermont was the only state left in America where welfare benefits were timeless, not temporary.” CAMPION – NO

REGULATE WATERFRONT PROPERTY RIGHTS (H.526) Passed 105-42, March 27, 2013. This bill gives the Secretary of Natural resources unprecedented power to regulate the private property of waterfront owners. S.526 dictates that property owners will require a permit from the Secretary to create or expand anything with more than 500 square feet of “impervious surface” (defined as: “those manmade surfaces, including paved and unpaved roads, parking areas, roofs, driveways, and walkways, from which precipitation runs off rather than infiltrates.”), or create more than 500 square feet of “cleared area” (defined as: “an area where existing vegetative cover, soil, or duff is permanently removed or altered.”) in a “protected shoreland area” (defined as: “all land located within 250 feet of the mean water level of a lake that is greater than 10 acres in surface area.”) CAMPION – YES

EXEMPT “CLOUD” SERVICES FROM SALES TAX (Scheuermann Amendment to H.528) Failed 53-90, March 28, 2013. This amendment would exempt internet-based “Cloud” services from Vermont’s sales tax. Defined as “charges made for the right to remotely access and use prewritten computer software, where possession of the software is maintained by the seller or a third party”, this tax would presume to charge consumers for remotely accessed services, even if they are free. Examples of “cloud” computing include Skype, Google Voice, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, as well as “cloud” storage services (Google Drive) and software production (Google Apps). CAMPION – NO

ALLOW PRIVATE DOCTOR/PATIENT CONTRACTS (Browning Amendment to H.107) Failed 44-94, March 19, 2013. Those voting YES on this amendment voted to ensure that Vermont residents would maintain the ability to enter into voluntary financial contracts with their health care providers, and prohibit the Green Mountain Care Board from placing restrictions on health care professionals’ practice locations. CAMPION – NO

 

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