Somewhat lost in the Vermont Yankee shuffle is a bill that will probably come before the house today. H331 is mostly about the way records are stored by the state and by local municipalities, but an amendment passed by the Senate Government Operations Committee would close to public view any records about donors or potential donors to Vermont's public universities. Not only that, but it closes to the public information about the donors to "institutionally related foundations."
According to the Vermont Press Association's Mike Donoghue, the House moved Tuesday to strike the amendment, but the issue is still in question – the amendment could be re-introduced when the bill hits the floor today.
The bill's page on the legislative web site is here.
Mike's email to the VPA members last night included the following:
We need every House member in the Vermont legislature contacted in the next few
hours and asked to vote against the amendment made by the Senate to House Bill
331 ( and re-written this morning by the House Government Operations Committee.)
The vote on the new House amendment
is expected to come before the full house Wednesday, probably at 1
The bill is designed to allow the University of Vermont,
the State Colleges and VSAC to withhold the names of donors who are giving big
money with the wish their names not be made public. This is bad public
Here is what
We had some success today in the
House when members agreed to strike the full amendment that was rushed through
It came after Peter Martin of WCAX-TV noted that as drafted
the bill would exclude all donor records, including those that didn’t ask for
(It was interesting that the Senate Government Operations
Committee, and the full senate didn’t catch that issue, but Peter picked up on
it after getting a copy of the bill yesterday. It was also interesting to hear
Peter talk about his family being an anonymous donor in the past to UVM. He
explained how it helps to shape public policy at times.)
Even with the
changes, there are concerns.
The concerns hinge on secrecy. These are public institutions – their actions should be in the public eye.