By Guy Page
Following a 2022 report that found emergency rooms overflowing with youth in mental health crisis, the Scott administration has called an audible to move $9.25 million from this year’s budget to quickly build an inpatient youth psychiatric facility in Bennington.
The proposed mid-year adjustment to this year’s budget will be among many reviewed at a public hearing of Vermont House Committee on Appropriations today at 1 pm in Room 11 of the State House) or videoconference (Zoom). The Governor’s proposal may be found here.
Press pushes back against committee room exclusion – because Room 11 is the largest meeting room outside of the Senate and House of Representatives, the State House press corps probably will be able to cover today’s Approps hearing in person. But in many smaller committee rooms, pandemic-related room capacity limits have forced committee chairs to expel some in-person watchers, including the press, as reported in VDC Jan. 13 (“As lawmakers discuss gun control and climate bills, press must wait outside”).
VT Digger editor Paul Heintz and six other Vermont news leaders complained in a Jan. 17 letter to Senate President Phil Baruth and House Speaker Jill Krowinski about the unprecedented in-person exclusion of the press in the People’s House. (VDC was not asked to sign the letter but shares its concerns.)
Heintz panned Baruth’s new ‘one room, one reporter policy’:
“Under your leadership, the Senate has apparently taken the position that the press is guaranteed asingle seat in each committee room. When we objected to this, Sen. Baruth, you chose to double down, rather than seek a solution that would work for all. Your chief of staff wrote, “If you have case law supporting your position we would be happy to review it.”
“In a subsequent phone conversation, you then suggested that Vermont could learn a thing or two from Washington, D.C., where it is common to restrict access to a small pool of journalists, who then provide reporting to others.
“Sen. Baruth, we would argue that, if anything, Washington could learn a thing or two from Vermont, where journalists have historically had open access to the deliberations of those writing our laws. This has contributed to a more informed, accountable and civil discourse, and we ought not abandon it.”
Corey Parent, a former Republican legislator who served two terms in both the Vermont House of Representatives and Vermont Senate, has joined Leonine Public Affairs in Montpelier as director of business and municipal affairs. Parent’s consulting firm, Forty-Four Seven Strategies, has merged with LPA, expanding their scope of services to include municipal and business consulting.
Parent will lead the expansion of LPA’s municipal services practice and expand the scope of the firm’s business services practice.
Parent represented St Albans City and Southeastern St Albans Town in the House of Representatives from 2015 to 2019, and Franklin County in the State Senate from 2019 to 2023. Before his consulting work with Forty-Four Seven Strategies, he was director of operations for the town of St Albans. He is a graduate of St Lawrence University and is pursuing an MBA from Clarkson University.
Vermont Attorney General Charity Clark is one of 18 state attorneys general backing the State of New York’s liability lawsuit against the gun industry, the Center Square reports.