On February 26, 2020

House overrides Scott’s veto of minimum wage increase

Speaker of the House Mitzi Johnson, D-South Hero, counts vote during a rollcall on a vote on whether to override Gov. Phil Scott’s veto of a minimum wage bill at the Statehouse in Montpelier on Tuesday, February 25, 2020. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

By Xander Landen/VTDigger

The Vermont House on Tuesday, Feb. 25, voted to override Gov. Phil Scott’s veto of a bill that would raise the minimum wage from $10.96 to $12.55 by 2022.

In a 100-49 vote, Democrats were able to just meet the two-thirds majority needed to counteract Scott’s veto pen. The Senate successfully voted to override the veto of the legislation, S.23, earlier this month, meaning the wage increase will now become law.

Six out of the eight House Democrats who opposed the minimum wage legislation on the floor in January changed their votes Tuesday, delivering the support needed to enact the legislation.

The vote was a victory for Democrats and House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, D-South Hero, who failed to reverse the governor’s veto of a paid family leave bill by just one vote earlier this month.

The question of whether House Democrats would be able beat the veto and rally the votes to enact one of their party’s largest priorities loomed large over the Statehouse in the past few weeks.

The eight Democrats who previously opposed the minimum wage bill did so for similar reasons that the governor killed the legislation.

They, like the governor, some Democrats have concerns that the mandated wage increase could harm small businesses and put stress on the rural economy.

The vote marks the first time that the Democratic Legislature has successfully reversed a governor’s veto pen since 2009, when the House and Senate overrode then-Gov. Jim Douglas’ vetoes of both a state budget and Vermont’s landmark same-sex marriage bill.

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