The commission came out of a months-long scramble earlier this year as Scott and Democratic legislative leadership were at an impasse over a proposal to change how teachers’ health care benefits are negotiated.
Republican see the session as a win; Democrats ‘aren’t spiking the football.’
House Republican leaders have indicated that they are not likely to accept a rules suspension. If they follow through with that threat, they would effectively kill the bill for this year.
Peter Sterling, aide to the Senate president, says Gov. Phil Scott’s proposal for statewide negotiations could cost teachers more. The Vermont School Boards Association says that’s not necessarily the case.
The board came out against the idea — put forward by some legislators near the end of the session — to force budget cuts if districts didn’t reach a certain outcome in negotiations with teachers.
The House clerk said the budget and property tax bill vetoes needed to come in separate letters. Scott’s spokesperson called the rejection “hyper-political.” The clerk’s office later accepted resubmitted versions.
The worst thing for a party, even one as strong as the Vermont Democrats, is to have working families and small businesses feel they are taking a back seat to a special interest group.
Lawmakers, lobbyists and the media were complaining the session was boring until Gov. Scott rolled out his proposal to negotiate with teachers statewide over health care benefits.
The leaders of the Vermont House and Senate said they have directed their caucuses to get some rest. Meanwhile, the governor sought to assure Vermonters that he would not allow a government shutdown.
Top Democrats say the House and Senate will move ahead with remaining legislation even without the governor’s support and adjourn as early as the end of the week.
Mitzi Johnson says her plan would address concerns about teacher benefits that are holding up adjournment. The Senate president wouldn’t comment, while unions rejected it.
Ahead of lawmakers’ return for an unbudgeted 19th week of this session, progress is slow.
If school districts fail to find savings in health insurance costs, they would have to cut budgets — without hurting direct instructional programs.
Lawmakers were unable to reach a deal with Gov. Phil Scott and will return to Montpelier next week to try and complete their work for this year’s legislative session.