Vermont Kids Code Advocates Call for Action at House Hearings

MONTPELIER – The Vermont House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development held its first two hearings yesterday and today on the Vermont Kids Code, a nation-leading effort to protect children and their data online introduced by Rep. Monique Priestley as H.712. The Vermont Senate unanimously passed Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale’s companion bill S.289 in March.

“Today’s testimony showcased Big Tech’s blatant disregard for our children’s well-being, choosing profits over protection; in response, we will continue to pursue legislation that guarantees a secure digital world for our youth, where their mental health, safety, and privacy are prioritized,” said Rep. Priestley.

Vermonters and national experts testifying to the Committee in support of the bill included UVM Medical Center pediatrician Dr. Heidi Schumacher; Chittenden County youth advocate Juniper Galvani; Design It For Us youth advocate Zamaan Qureshi; educational tech design expert Emily Cherkin; and Casey Mock of the Center for Humane Technology.

“In too many cases, young people themselves believe they are spending too much time on social media but find themselves unable to unplug because of the features intentionally designed to keep them hooked,” said Dr. Schumacher.

Lawmakers and advocates expressed frustration with Big Tech obstructionism that continued during bill opponents’ testimony.

“The fact that the talking points you’ve heard today sound repetitive is not a coincidence,” said Mock, referring to testimony from groups including NetChoice, TechNet and Chamber of Progress. “These are front groups that are funded and coordinated by a small group of companies. Google, Meta, Amazon, Snap and TikTok hide behind these groups with good reason: due to the brand damage that results from opposing reasonable protections for kids online and having nothing to offer as an alternative.” 

Thursday’s House hearing may be viewed here and Friday’s hearing may be viewed here.

A final House committee hearing and vote on the bill are expected next week, which would bring the legislation a significant step closer to becoming law. To learn more about the Vermont Kids Code, visit