During a stop in Burlington Thursday morning, Vermont Governor Phil Scott discussed the status of the current legislative session in Montpelier.
The Vermont Legislature is considering the state budget and a number of high-profile pieces of legislation.
On a vote of 28 to 2 Thursday afternoon, Senators forwarded to the House Proposition 5, a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would guarantee “personal reproductive liberty.” Republican Governor Phil Scott supports the legislature’s actions. “I haven’t read it completely but at this point in time I think they’re moving in the right direction. (So you think Vermont does need to protect reproductive rights?) You know I have said consistently I believe in a woman’s right to choose and I understand this came as a result of concern on the federal level Roe v. Wade was going be changed. So I’m a supporter of trying to do whatever we can to protect Roe v. Wade.”
The legislature is also considering a measure that would ban several types of plastics including single-use plastic bags, plastic straws and polystyrene containers. The governor did not say if he would veto the measure because he wants to see what happens to the bill during House deliberations. “Banning plastic bags is something that’s been around for a while and I’ve said that I have no issue with that. It’s made it through the Senate, goes to the House, they’ll debate that. I think we should do whatever we can to reduce the plastic, especially the throwaway type of plastics that we utilize every single day. We should be more resourceful and as a frugal Vermonter I’m appreciative of that. Again we’ll see the way what happens in the House at this point in time but I’m it seems as though that everyone is on board with at least the plastic bags.”
Last year a number of contentious issues led to a series of vetoes and a special session. Governor Scott says this year he is pleased with the budget negotiations. “Budget is working its way through the legislative process. We’re more than halfway through. I mean there’s a lot of good things they’ve provided for, a lot of the proposals that I had forwarded in the beginning in my budget. So that’s good news. But there are a few things that aren’t in the budget that I’m concerned with and I want to take a look at. I’ll reserve judgment until we get through this a little bit further and see what the aggregate amount is.”
He added that he appreciates how well the administration is interacting with the Democratically controlled legislature this session. “They’ve been great partners. The Legislature have been much more receptive to our ideas and we’re trying a different approach. So, so far so good.”
The governor was in Burlington to announce a new energy efficiency initiative and then keynote the annual Vermont tourism summit.