Also wants EV mileage tax to supplement gas tax
By Guy Page
Gov. Phil Scott today threatened to veto the Brattleboro charter change allowing 16-year-olds to vote in local elections. Speaking at a noontime press conference today, Scott said he vetoed a similar bill in recent years and that his mind hasn’t changed since then.
The House yesterday gave preliminary approval to H386 on a voice vote. However, a roll call is expected on third and final reading today.
Guv waiting for appeal decision on Mifeprestone ban – like governors in many other states, Gov. Phil Scott is waiting until Friday befor taking any action about a federal judge’s ban on Mifeprestone, a chemical abortion drug.
The ban will take effect nationwide on Friday unless struck down beforehand by a federal appeals court.
Until then, the pro-legal abortion governor is keeping his powder dry regarding alternatives. “We’ve been in touch with Planned Parenthood, to seek advice,” Scott said. He said sourcing the drug through Canada is an option.
Police communications snafu exposed during ‘active shooter’ swatting – During the recent swatting incident at the Middlebury library, police outside reportedly could not communicate with police inside due to problems with the $12 million V/Comm communications system. Some first responders say the system is too complicated to train workers and that accessing it on cellphones is difficult. When asked about the incident, Gov. Scott said he’d heard “some of the same things” but added, “I don’t have any details at this point.”
Guv hopeful for rural 25-unit housing developments – The Rural Caucus of the Vermont Legislature is making progress at restoring in the House a 25-unit Act 250 exemption for rural housing construction. The exemption was removed from the Senate bill before it passed the Senate last month. “We hope to restore what was removed,” Scott said. “The fact is, we have to. We need to do something about Act 250. If we say it [housing shortage] is a crisis, we better address it like it’s a crisis.”
Contingency planning for housing for illegal immigrants – when Red border states like Texas and Florida were busing and flying illegal immigrants to blue states like New York and Massachusetts last year, Gov. Scott directed his administration to make plans to house and care for any immigrants sent to Vermont. While that immigration didn’t happen, the plans made by the administration could come in handy if many of the illegal immigrants crossing the northern border in unprecedented numbers decide to stay in Vermont.
At present, Vermont is just a pass-through state enroute to New York and other more urban states. But Scott said he hopes some will stay. “I would like to see some considered in Vermont….we do need some to stay [to work]. But thus far it hasn’t been a long stay for any of them.”
Unaware of gender reassignment surgery age limit question – Critics of S37 say it has no minimum age limits for puberty blockers or sex reassignent surgery. VDC asked Scott, “Now that our Constitution assures absolute reproductive liberty, are you concerned about standards of care shifting to allowing middle-schoolers to elect surgery over the wishes of their parents?”
Scott was unaware that the Senate bill had moved over to the House and added, “I can’t pretend to know the intricacies of that bill.” He later added that his main concern is shielding abortion/trangender care providers from legal challenges, and that his administration would look into the age limit question.
Shorter session must accompany legislative pay hike – the Vermont Senate’s approval of a pay and benefits hike is okay with Gov. Scott – with one big condition. The Legislature must reduce the length of the session to 90 days. “If the real goal is to get more people running for office, the real problem is the length of the session,” he said.
Supports open borders to assisted suicide seekers – a bill expanding access to assisted suicide to non-Vermonters has the governor’s support. “I’m supportive of it. I don’t think you can shut down the border. It has to be open to any and all,” Scott said. But he added, “I wouldn’t use it to draw people here.”
Opposes college library legislation – “I think it’s a terrible idea,” Scott said of proposed legislation requiring full funding of state colleges. “You can’t micromanage.”
EV mileage charges needed in lieu of gasoline tax – “I don’t see how we can do without it,” Scott said. As for grid capacity, Vermont will need grid upgrades and large-scale battery storage to meet eventual demand for electrification due to EVs, heat pumps, and other replacements of fossil fuel.