Vermont governor vetoes data privacy bill, saying state would be most hostile to businesses

Jun 14, 2024, 9:27 AM

Vermont’s governor has vetoed a broad data privacy bill that would have been one of the strongest in the country to crack down on companies’ use of online personal data by letting consumers file civil lawsuits against companies that break certain privacy rules.

Republican Gov. Phil Scott said in his veto message late Thursday that the legislation would have made Vermont “a national outlier and more hostile than any other state to many businesses and non-profits.”

“I appreciate this provision is narrow in its impact, but it will still negatively impact mid-sized employers, and is generating significant fear and concern among many small businesses,” he wrote.

The legislation would have prohibited the sale of sensitive data, such as social security and driver’s license numbers, as well as financial information and health data. It also would have set meaningful limits on the amount of personal data that companies can collect and use, according to the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center based in Washington, D.C.

The Democrat-controlled Legislature plans to override the governor’s veto when it meets for a special session on Monday. The bill passed 139-3 in the House and a flurry of amendments were made in the final days of the session.

“Our collective efforts brought forth legislation that not only reflects our commitment to consumer protection from scams and identity theft but also sets a standard for the nation,” House Speaker Jill Krowinski, a Democrat, said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that so much misinformation has been spread about this bill, but we know that Big Tech and their deep pockets are fearful of no longer having unrestricted access to Vermonters’ personal information.”

More than a dozen states have comprehensive data privacy laws. When the Vermont legislature passed the bill, Caitriona Fitzgerald, deputy director of EPIC, said the legislation was “among the strongest, if not the strongest” in the country. EPIC is urging the Legislature to override the governor’s veto.

“The Vermont Data Privacy Act would have provided Vermonters with meaningful privacy rights that are lacking from other state laws, and would have rightly provided them with the opportunity to enforce those rights,” Fitzgerald said in a statement.

Scott said he also had concerns about the provision aimed at protecting children, saying that similar legislation in California “has already been stopped by the courts for likely First Amendment violations” and the state should await the outcome of that case.

The Vermont Kids Code Coalition said the legislation is different than California’s and is constitutionally sound.

Much of the legislation would have gone into effect in 2025. The ability for consumers to sue would have happened in 2027 and expired in 2029, with a study to look at its effectiveness and risks.

National News

Associated Press

Ex-Philadelphia detective convicted of perjury in coerced murder confession case

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A former Philadelphia homicide detective accused of beating a murder suspect to obtain a confession and then lying about it in court has ben convicted of obstruction and perjury charges. Prosecutors said they would seek a prison term for James Pitts, 53, when he’s sentenced in Oct. 4, but the judge overseeing […]

3 minutes ago

Associated Press

Water rescues underway in Arkansas after a new wave of storms across US and Canada

YELLVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Water rescues were underway Wednesday in Arkansas after a new wave of severe storms that have pummeled a vast swath of the U.S. and Canada, officials said. High winds, tornadoes and flooding have caused damage or deaths from the Plains to New England this week. As much as 11 inches (nearly […]

24 minutes ago

FILE - Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the former armorer for the Western film "Rust," listens to closing ar...

Associated Press

Movie armorer seeks dismissal of her conviction or new trial in fatal shooting by Alec Baldwin

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A movie armorer has asked a judge to dismiss her involuntary manslaughter conviction or convene a new trial in the shooting death of a cinematographer by actor Alec Baldwin, alleging suppression of evidence and misconduct by the prosecution. In a court filing Tuesday, defense counsel for armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed argued […]

37 minutes ago

The Butler Farm Show, site of a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate former Preside...

Associated Press

Homeland Security inspector general investigates Secret Service handling of security at Trump rally

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general says its investigating the U.S. Secret Service’s handling of security for former President Donald Trump on the day a gunman tried to assassinate him at a Pennsylvania rally. The agency says in a brief notice on its website Wednesday the objective is to evaluate the […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

2024 Election Latest: Republicans shift their gaze to national security as RNC enters third day

The third day of the Republican National Convention kicks off Wednesday with Republicans — led by the newly nominated Donald Trump and his running mate, U.S. Sen. JD Vance of Ohio — shifting their focus to issues of national security and foreign policy. Republicans are expected to focus on Democratic President Joe Biden’s handling of […]

2 hours ago

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas., speaks during the Republican National Convention Tuesday, July 16, 2024, i...

Associated Press

FACT FOCUS: A look at ominous claims around illegal immigration made at the Republican convention

After Donald Trump triumphantly entered the hall on the second night of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, the program turned to one of his signature issues: illegal immigration. An ominous video of chaos at the U.S.-Mexico border led into to a speech by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who declared, “We are facing […]

3 hours ago

Vermont governor vetoes data privacy bill, saying state would be most hostile to businesses