Veto Session Summary

The Vermont Legislature met on June 17th to consider bills that had been vetoed. This was my first day representing the district and it was an intense but rewarding way to begin my legislative time. I spent the weeks before the session reading up on the issues, talking to as many people as I could, reading your emails, and answering your phone calls. All of these were tremendously helpful and I look forward to continuing the dialogue with all of you.

Yield Bill/Education Property Tax Rate – As someone who has chaired school boards for many years, I understand the frustration with our school funding formula. I’ve heard from many of you that this is your top concern and I completely agree. The fix though is much larger than anything that could be accomplished in a one-day session. School budgets have been determined and state law requires that a yield/base tax rate be set to fund them. The penalty for failing to do this is a 30% increase in non-homestead rates and an 82-million-dollar deficit that would need to be made up the following year. The options were not good and risking insolvency in the ed fund and damaging our credit rating were not going to set us up well for the future. I voted yes because I believed the short-term alternatives were worse but know that hard work needs to start immediately to move toward a replacement formula that controls costs, increases voter transparency, and reduces the burden on property taxes.

Renewable Energy Standard – This bill would source 100% of our electricity supply from renewable energy by 2032. Both Green Mountain Power and the Vermont Energy Coop have already committed to 100% renewables before this date as part of their strategic plans. I met with both utilities and felt the bill strengthens their hand to purchase clean energy more efficiently and to execute their strategic vision. I voted yes.

Act 250 Reform – This bill allows temporary exemptions in designated areas to build housing and long-term reform to Act 250 to remove barriers to development. The governor had a few issues with the bill, which had merit, but sustaining the veto would have risked losing all the good things in the bill that are desperately needed and have been years in the making. I think we can address those concerns independently in the next session. I voted yes.

Safe Injection Sites – A bill to create a pilot Overdose Prevention Center in Burlington. This one was difficult for me. Those who support overdose prevention sites tell me that it took them some time to warm up to the idea. I had three weeks, many conversations, and read or listened to many studies. In the end, I still had concerns. I voted no. The bill passed. Vermont needs Burlington to thrive and those affected by opioid addiction need help. I hope the program is a success.

Restorative Justice – This was a relatively minor change to the court diversion program to allow diversion before charges are filed. The governor felt it created unfunded mandates. I read the bill; it had a provision that invalidated the program unless funding was appropriated. I didn’t see any cause for concern. I voted yes.

Neonicotinoid Ban – Bans the use of Neonicotinoid pesticides starting in 2029. The bill is tied to a similar law in New York state to ensure adequate seed supply. I voted yes on this as I heard from many of you that this was important to you but will be watching closely to ensure a non-treated seed market develops for our farmers.

Data Privacy Bill – The governor had concerns that this bill could open Vermont businesses to litigation and that it was inconsistent with surrounding states and the Senate generally agreed with these concerns. There is near universal agreement that a privacy act should be in place and that the work will continue, but this one moved to the Senate too late and there was no time to adequately vet it. I voted no and the override failed.

Election Announcement

I’m Andy Julow and I am running to continue as your State Senator for the Grand Isle District.

I became the Executive Director of the Lake Champlain Islands Economic Development Corporation in 2021, ran my own business for eleven years before that, and have been active in my community spending nine years as chair of my local school board and five as chair of the DRB.

While Vermont faces several challenges, I cannot, at this time, think of anything more pressing than reforming our school funding formula. Property taxes continue to rise, while many schools still do not have budgets, are cutting basic programming to survive, and are experiencing falling test scores.

Our school funding system is now 27 years old, and while created with the best of intentions, was built for a different tax base and a school population with different demands. Since my appointment to the Senate by Governor Scott, I have had encouraging conversations that indicate there is an appetite to address this in Montpelier.

Outside of education funding, I have a strong interest in fostering entrepreneurship and developing our recreational economy.

I live in North Hero with my wife and hiking partner Corinn. We have two grown daughters, one a graduate of Northern Vermont University and the other a Corporal in the United States Marine Corps.