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Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen



Robo-call on fire retardants

I had one of those recorded phone calls on my answering machine last night from the Citizens for Fire Safety. It was urging me to call the House speaker and object to the passage of a bill banning certain fire retardants.

Those kinds of calls are becoming almost routine. There was a round of them for the same-sex marriage bill too.

It was hard to imagine anyone getting this call and acting on it, though. The bill is is a little harder to grasp than whether one is for or against same-sex marriage. Hard to imagine that anyone even understood quite what they were talking about.

Anybody get the call and feel compelled to dial the phone?

- Terri Hallenbeck

I didn’t get one at my home, but I property manage a nearby vacant house and there was a message on the machine. The recording made it sound like the legislature is against fire retardants, but I suspected (correctly) that it is a matter of balancing the benefits and hazards of specific chemicals, and that there are alternatives that will do the job. It seemed odd the group would be pressuring on that kind of issue just a few days before the end of the session, especially given that the bill (S.109) hasn’t even crossed over. I hate robo calls and will never take action to lobby an elected official or vote a specific way following one.
The bill to phase out the use of toxic flame retardants and replace them with safe and effective alternatives is very much alive, which is why the chemical company is spreading such misinformation. It's attached to the health care bill, H.444, and is in the final stages of passage. VT firefighters are strongly backing this bill, which makes the robocalls all the more outrageous.
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