But Guv praises Legislature for commercial cannabis cooperation
By Guy Page
September 18, 2020 – Memo to the Vermont Legislature from Gov. Phil Scott re: H.688, Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) veto override: this ain’t over.
Yesterday the House overrode the governor’s veto 103-47. Every Republican voted no, but the GOP loss of seats in the 2018 election showed its hand when the united GOP caucus and a few stray independents and Democrats couldn’t find the 51 votes necessary to support Scott’s veto. The Senate is expected to follow suit next week. At today’s press conference, Cambridge native and News 5 reporter David Schneider asked Gov. Scott, “Is there room to fight this bill even if the Senate votes to override?” GWSA gives carbon-reduction decision-making to an unelected, appointed 22-member Climate Council. That will likely mean a Constitutional challenge from “someone,” Scott said.
The Vermont Constitution prevents the legislative, executive and judicial branches from encroaching on each other’s powers. The Legislature can abdicate its own responsibilities, but not the governor’s, Scott said. “I feel the Legislature just wiped their hands of that because they won’t want to make the tough decisions over the next four years.”
Scott shared the thinking behind his veto decision in a Sept. 18 YouTube video:
“My biggest concern is that it’s unconstitutional. And in a big way the bill puts an unelected unaccountable council in charge of policy making, which means Vermonters will no longer have a say in the process and the council will be able to put their policy recommendations directly into law.
“Think about that – there would be 23 members, one third appointed by the governor and the other two thirds appointed by the legislature, and they would have the power to make laws. The Legislature, the elected representatives of the people, would not have to vote on it. The governor – not just me, any future governor – the person elected by Vermonters to provide executive oversight and administration, would not get to review it or decide whether to sign it or veto it.
“This is just bad policy that could lead to bad outcomes on this issue, and many others. It will most certainly lead to lawsuits.”
By contrast, Gov. Scott praised lawmakers for working with him on S54, commercial cannabis. Asked by Erin Petenko of VT Digger if he would sign the bill, he credited the Legislature for addressing some of his concerns – unlike its lack of cooperation on H688. For example, “any suggestion by the marijuana panel must come back to the Legislature….that’s the way to do things. They’ve come a long ways. I’ll be considering that when I review the bill.”
Scott added he’s heard an “uptick” in concern from “some groups I hadn’t heard from before.” Farm and racial justice groups seek a veto because, they say, it favors large commercial grows owned by out-of-state, mostly white-owned businesses.
A Rutland NAACP leader’s decision to leave town due to what she said has been ongoing harassment prompted the Rutland Herald to ask, “Are there going to be any concrete actions to prevent things like this from happening?” Scott expressed deep concern about racism nationally and in Vermont. The administration’s racial equity panel will be announcing new measures soon. He added, “I think you can expect that we will continue to take steps,” both the administration and the Legislature. “It’s going to take all of us pulling in the same direction.”
Legal immunity for vax companies up to the lawyers, Levine says – Vermont Daily asked Health Commissioner Mark Levine: “Tuesday you asked Dr. Fauci to discuss Covid vaccination. Some Vermont opponents of mandatory vaccination say pharmaceutical companies will enjoy legal immunity from damages if the vaccine proves unsafe. Is this true and if so what protections do Vermonters have in the event of personal injury from an unsafe vaccine?”
“There is no talk of mandatory vaccination,” Levine answered. “That is not anything anyone nationally or in Vermont has entertained. With regard to indemnity…those are questions for the legal team. I can’t answer them for you here….clearly that will go way beyond Vermont. I’m sure there will be some anticipation of this. The last thing we need is concerns like what you raised.”
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Soros ex-lawyer leads “war game” for post-election conflict – after yesterday’s post about both Vermont protesters and the Vermont National Guard pondering possible street conflict if the presidential election is contested, former Stowe police chief Ken Libby mentioned in an online about the Transition Integrity Project, a purportedly bipartisan, academic “war game” of what would happen if the November 3 presidential election is contested by either candidate. The document starkly predicts electoral theft by Trump:
“Participants in our exercises of all backgrounds and ideologies believe that Trump would prioritize personal gain and self-protection over ensuring an orderly administrative handoff to his successor.” It also calls “lies” concerns about election fraud and street violence.
The co-founder of TIP [see footnote, pg. 3] is Rosa Brooks, who according to her Georgetown Law School biography “in 2006-2007 was Special Counsel to the President at the Open Society Institute in New York….She currently serves on the advisory board of the Open Society Foundation’s US Programs.” The Open Society Foundation is a philanthropic/advocacy organization founded (according to its website) by billionaire progressive George Soros.
The Open Society Foundation (although not TIP) does have a Vermont lobbyist connection. As printed in the Feb. 18 Vermont Daily – “At least one veteran State House lobbyist, David Mickenberg, has ties to both the Marijuana Policy Project and Soros’ Drug Policy Alliance. According to a biography for a 2015 Burlington cable access TV news appearance, Mickenberg “spent six years at two programs started by George Soros’ Open Society Institute, the Drug Policy Alliance and the After School Corporation.”
(Editor’s personal note: after this Feb. 18 news story ran, I was summoned into the office of Vermont Senate Pro Tem Tim Ashe and informed by him that some in the State House found this column “anti-semitic.” I expressed surprise. I didn’t know George Soros was Jewish. I was informed that if I did not clarify my position or Ashe would be forced to take action (unspecified in nature). So the next day I wrote that I stand by the facts in the story and disclaim any anti-semitic views or intentions, and that the next time I reported about George Soros (today), I would make plain that his Jewish heritage has nothing to do with it.)
PHOTO: In his veto announcement, Gov. Phil Scott explains why he believes H688 is unconstitutional.
ZUCKERMAN WOULD HAVE ENFORCED MASK BAN SOONER: “Zuckerman sold his soul to Big Pharma. It’s pretty sad.”
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