2024 Post-Crossover Update

Earlier this month, ahead of the legislature’s “crossover” deadline, we gave a snapshot of how we’re engaging in the State House in 2024.

Now that the dust has settled post-crossover, we have a better picture of legislative priorities in the last weeks of the session. Below, check the status of key bills we’ve engaged with this year.

It’s an important time to use your voice! Click on action links below to contact your lawmakers about ACLU’s priorities for 2024.

Smart Justice: Prisons and criminal legal reform

We have been pushing back as lawmakers and the Scott administration tout more criminalization and incarceration—when we should instead be advancing real and lasting solutions by investing in people’s basic needs. Send a message to your legislators today and urge them to address public safety concerns by addressing root causes.

  • H.876 – Miscellaneous changes to corrections laws. This bill makes positive steps forward, such as allowing people on parole to earn time off their sentences for good behavior, and requiring the Department of Corrections to better support people as they transition back into their communities. It would also require studies on improving visitation for children with incarcerated parents and ending the use of out of state and private prisons by 2034.

Status: Passed on the House floor on April 3

ACLU Position: Support

  • H.534Increasing penalties for low-level retail theft. If passed, this bill will allow the state to charge people with a felony with up to ten years in prison if they commit multiple retail thefts in a 14-day period in the same county that exceeds $900 in merchandise stolen. Extreme and excessive sentencing is a major driver of mass incarceration and H.534 represents a major step backwards on criminal justice reform.

Status: Passed the House, currently in Senate Judiciary

ACLU Position: Oppose

  • S.58Locking more people up for drug offenses and charging more juveniles in adult court. If passed, this misguided bill would make it easier to incarcerate more people and impose longer sentences for knowingly possessing, distributing, or selling a regulated drug. It would also create more situations when youth must be prosecuted in adult court, and delays implementation of Vermont’s “Raise the Age” statutes, again.

Status: Passed the Senate, currently in House Judiciary

ACLU Position: Oppose

  • H.645Expanding approaches to restorative justice. This bill creates a more equitable avenue to divert instances of harm or wrongdoing away from our criminal legal system into a restorative justice, community-based process in every county.

Status: Passed the House, currently in Senate Judiciary

ACLU Position: Support

Community safety and policing

With just weeks left to go, it is unclear whether Vermont will pass any meaningful police oversight and accountability measures this biennium.  Despite resistance in the legislature and opposition by the Scott administration, we thank the legislators and officials who have worked tirelessly to reimagine community safety and policing this state. You should know about these bills: 

  • H.176 and S.357Addressing over-policing and racial profiling on our roadways. These “Smarter Stops” bills would only allow traffic stops for serious safety violations, not for minor equipment infractions like a broken taillight or obscured license plate, in which Black and Latinx drivers are disproportionately targeted.

Status: H.176 and H.357 received hearings in the House and Senate respectively but neither bill made crossover. We anticipate more hearings on the bills which could potentially be incorporated into other legislation this session.

ACLU Position: Support 

Take Action

  • S.285Prohibiting the use of deceptive and coercive practices in police interrogations. Requires the creation of a binding statewide policy.

Status: Passed the Senate and  currently in House Judiciary.

ACLU Position: Support

  • S.184 Allowing automated traffic enforcement in designated work zones. This bill would help reduce unnecessary roadside stops and eliminate the opportunity for bias in enforcing traffic violations.

Status: Passed the Senate, currently in House Transportation

ACLU Position: Support

Harm reduction: A public health approach to substance use

With partners, we are working with legislators to pursue commonsense strategies including the development of evidence-backed overdose prevention centers (OPCs), public health facilities where people can receive vital medical services if necessary and be connected to treatment.  

  • H.72Creating overdose prevention centers. This bill would enable and fund the creation of overdose prevention centers in Vermont, a proven harm reduction approach that will save lives.

Status: Passed the House, currently in the Senate Health and Welfare Committe.

ACLU Position: Support

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Economic justice

The ACLU is one of several organizations supporting the Fair Share for Vermont proposal to ensure that the wealthiest Vermonters are paying their fair share in taxes. With resulting revenue, we can meet the state’s most pressing needs in housing, social services, infrastructure, education, and the environment. 

  • H.829 Enabling fair taxation. This legislation creates a 3% tax increase on income over $500,000 to fund crucial public investments in things like housing.

​​​​​​​Status: Passed the House

ACLU Position: Support

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  • H.827 Increasing tax liability for the wealthiest Vermonters. This proposal would add to the tax liability of people who have $10 million in assets.

​​​​​​​Status: In House Ways and Means, did not make crossover

ACLU Position: Support


We thank the legislature for approving a bill on March 1 that intentionally expanded who could be served by Vermont’s emergency motel housing program.

Unfortunately, the Scott administration abruptly evicted nearly 500 people from their motel housing on March 15 while they attempted to complete paperwork attesting to their eligibility to stay put. Had the process not been so needlessly rushed, most of these folks—many with disabilities—would not have been displaced at all, which is what lawmakers had intended. On April 1, the administration pushed out another 360 households.

We encourage you to join the hundreds of Vermonters who have been contacting the governor’s office. Tell them to fully commit to keeping our neighbors safely sheltered by prioritizing funding for unconditional emergency housing in Vermont.

Take Action

What’s next?

Now is a crucial time to make your voice heard. Contact your legislators using the links above or by finding their contact information here. And please consider joining our ACLU of Vermont Action Team to help make our ambitious agenda a reality.  

Join the action team

With your support, we are advancing bold solutions to safeguard our civil liberties and address the many challenges facing our state. Thank you for all you do to support our work!