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Vermont Gov. Scott discusses budget concerns, new U.S. Senate candidate at weekly briefing

Vermont State House
WAMC/Pat Bradley
Vermont Statehouse (file)

Members of a Vermont House and Senate conference committee are meeting this week to come to agreement on a Budget Adjustment bill. Republican Governor Phil Scott began his weekly briefing today outlining concerns he has about deliberations over the bill and actions he feels the Democratically-controlled legislature should take.

The Vermont House and Senate last week assigned members to a conference committee to review the budget adjustment proposal. Scott noted that while the budget adjustment usually contains modest changes, this year due to an influx of federal money and increased state revenues there is an opportunity to immediately address significant issues. Agency of Administration Secretary Kristin Clouser outlined the administration’s concerns.

“The administration is asking the committee specifically to adhere to prior commitments to continue using ARPA funds for high value transformational infrastructure projects including housing, clean water, climate action, broadband and economic revitalization in every county in Vermont. One time programmatic needs could be better supported through general fund dollars.”

Earlier in the day Governor Scott issued a veto of Senate bill 30. The proposal intends to close the so-called Charleston Loophole that allows automatic approval of a gun purchase if a federal background check is not flagged within three days. Governor Scott said the proposed state provision is impractical.

“I think it’s excessive to go from three days, three business days, as it currently is to 30 days and as well during that time the applications run out. So if someone is buying a gun under this proposed law if they haven’t made a decision in 30 days the applicant would have to make out another application. They could get stuck in this vicious cycle so-to-speak," said Scott. "And in this case I thought possibly going from three days to seven business days.”

A few hours before Scott’s briefing, former Vermont U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan announced her campaign for the U.S Senate seat being opened by the retirement of Democrat Patrick Leahy. The Republican will face Democrat Peter Welch, who is leaving his House set to run for Senate. Scott said he supports Nolan’s campaign.

“I’ve known both of them for quite some time. I have a lot of respect for both of them. And I served with Congressman Welch when he was in the state Senate and we always had a great relationship. Still do. But our philosophies are different. So I’m supportive of Christina," Scott asserted. "Now I’m not sure if there’s going to be any other Republicans joining the race. But at this point in time I like Christina’s style. She brings a lot to the table. She has a great background and well versed in a number of subjects. So I’m encouraged to see a candidate step up with her credentials.”

Governor Scott remained guarded as to whether he’ll be on the ballot himself.

“Sometime during this legislative session I will make my plans known.”

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