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Vermont Governor Phil Scott discusses veto rationale and end of session legislative rush

Vermont Statehouse (file)
Pat Bradley
Vermont Statehouse (file)

Vermont Governor Phil Scott used part of his weekly briefing today to explain how he decides which bills from the just completed legislative session he will approve and which he will veto.

The Republican noted that since January about 100 bills were passed by the Democratically-controlled legislature, more than 60 of them in the last week of the session and about 40 of those on the last day. Scott opened his briefing saying that type of scramble often doesn’t allow him to find compromise with legislators before a bill reaches his desk and it sometimes takes a veto to forge agreements.

“Sometimes the Legislature focuses so much on their goals they don’t consider the unintended consequences and the reality is there are almost always some negative consequences as a result of any new policy,” said Scott. “Unfortunately, due to the lack of balance in the legislature they don’t want to hear about the consequences, limitations or barriers when it comes to their initiatives. This means some bills end up doing more harm than good. Another challenge we face is the legislature doesn’t always consider the practical realities that go along with the implementation.”


Agency of Natural Resources Commissioner Julie Moore said legislators are increasingly looking for quick change and fast success without providing resources such as time, money and staff to make the desired changes.

“We’ve seen a trend of rushing complex and significant policies. Legislative mandates that come without the full resources necessary to achieve the goals strain the agencies’ abilities to do the work timely and well,” Moore said. “Increasingly agencies are being put in a position of opposing legislation, not because the policy is misaligned with the agency mission, but because the resources and timelines provided are unreasonable. There is a lack of acknowledgement of the complexity of the work required to implement new legislation. We need to respect the details and allow adequate time and resources to manage them effectively.”  


Governor Scott said he must make a decision on two major bills this week including the state budget. He said based on their current review, he supports the $8.5 billion plan.

“Barring any technical problems with the bill, we’re still pouring through it, it takes a long time, but barring anything technical in the bill I plan to sign it.” 


In early April, Vermont Teddy Bear and its apparel divisions were sold. One of the new owners has notified the state that about 30 employees will be laid off. Agency of Commerce and Community Development Secretary Lindsay Kurrle explained what the state knows about the situation.

“Vermont Teddy Bear sold their assets to four companies and two companies collectively bought those four,” explained Kurrle. “And the one company that bought the manufacturing of the bears, as I understand it, they are all set. They are going to continue here in Vermont. The other company that bought the other three couldn’t come to an agreement with the owner of the building that the operations are run out of. So they are moving their operations out of state. As a result there are just under 30 employees that are impacted by this.”

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