MONTPELIER – A bill in the Vermont Legislature would address old, discriminatory language in deeds that used to prevent marginalized groups from buying property.

The language hasn’t had any legal standing since a 1948 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, but no state law currently exists to remove it.

Mark Hughes of the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance told us lawmakers’ intentions appear to be good, but they’re missing some important perspective at the table.

“What we have though, unfortunately, is the tail is wagging the dog,” Hughes said. “Really, this whole process has been approached from the perspective of folks who actually own land, folks who have concerns that their deeds may be attached to restrictive covenants, understandably. It’s important for us when we do this work to take into account those folks who were harmed.”

Hughes said he has been talking with committee leaders about providing testimony on the bill.

It passed the House last month, and still needs approval from the Senate.