June 18, 2024   

Contact: Emily Hagan-Howe, Communications Director, ACLU of Vermont, [email protected], (802) 223-6304 x121  

(Montpelier, VT) – The Vermont legislature convened yesterday for a one-day session to reconsider several bills vetoed by Governor Scott. Among these bills were H.72, an act relating to authorizing and funding overdose prevention centers (OPCs), and H.645, an act related to expanding restorative justice approaches in diversion. Ultimately, the vetoes of those bills were overridden by the legislature. 

The following statement can be attributed to ACLU of Vermont Executive Director James Lyall: “For all the challenges facing our communities, Vermonters know that we need more ambitious, humane, evidence-driven solutions. The restorative justice infrastructure made possible by H.645 and the promotion of harm reduction strategies through overdose prevention centers in H.72 will make our communities healthier, safer, and more resilient. 

“H.72—an historic achievement in response to a devastating overdose crisis in our communities—will allow public health experts to utilize a range of harm reduction strategies, including life-saving medical care for those who need it. H.645 will ensure that all Vermont counties have access to restorative justice processes, which have been shown to reduce recidivism and foster accountability, improving community safety for all of us. 

“Taken together, these bills represent effective and humane responses to the complex challenges facing Vermont communities. The punitive approaches of the past have failed us for too long, and we are grateful to the lawmakers who worked to pass these life-saving harm reduction and restorative justice policies this year.”