Final Reading: Special veto session edition

House Speaker Jill Krowinski discusses the 2021 legislative session inside her Statehouse office on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger

The Vermont House of Representatives made quick work Wednesday morning of overriding Gov. Phil Scott’s vetoes to charter changes that would allow noncitizens to vote in local elections in Montpelier and Winooski.

With votes of 103-47 Wednesday, the lower chamber surpassed the two-thirds majority needed to counteract Scott’s two vetoes.

The House then adjourned, ending its portion of the veto session and turning it over to the Senate.

The Legislature’s veto session is set to run June 23-25.

While the charter changes were dealt with by the House, the chamber’s adjournment Wednesday marked leadership’s decision not to attempt an override of the governor’s veto of S.107, which would have shielded the records of young adults accused of certain crimes from public disclosure.

In the Senate chamber Wednesday morning, Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint, D-Windham, told her colleagues that while earlier this week she had anticipated mounting an override vote on that proposal, it was unlikely to take place.

Speaker of the House Jill Krowinski, D-Burlington, told VTDigger on Wednesday afternoon that after discussions with Balint, it had been decided that questions remained about the young adult records legislation.

“This bill is part of our broader work around criminal justice reform, and we’ll keep on working on S.107, and we can always take it back up when we meet again,” Krowinski said.

The proposal would have allowed law enforcement to release initial arrest information of those 19 years of age and younger if they were charged as adults for any “Big 12” offenses, such as murder, sexual assault or aggravated assault. 

But unlike current practice, law enforcement officials wouldn’t be able to release information of juveniles charged with other crimes — including motor vehicle crashes in which someone was killed. 

Under the legislation, the age threshold would increase to 20 next year.

Scott vetoed the bill, expressing concern about raising the age at which those charged with crimes receive protections meant for juveniles in the criminal justice system.

In an interview, Balint said she and Krowinski had been in communication throughout the week around the vote count in the House, but it became clear there was not enough support in the lower chamber to override the governor’s veto of S.107.

“It was not a surprise to me that they weren’t going to stick around to take action — she let me know that this morning,” Balint said. “Sometimes we just need to take a little bit more time, and I’m OK with that.”

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Kit Norton

About Kit

Kit Norton is the general assignment reporter at VTDigger. He is originally from eastern Vermont and graduated from Emerson College in 2017 with a degree in journalism. In 2016, he was a recipient of The Society of Environmental Journalists' Emerging Environmental Journalist award. Kit has worked at PRI's weekly radio environmental program, Living on Earth, and has written for the online news site Truthout.

Email: [email protected]

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