Leaders say they’ll pursue reduction of phosphorus pollution in Lake Champlain even though the state doesn’t know how much the Trump administration may help.
Expanding background checks for gun sales isn’t one of those areas, he says, unless it turns out to have majority support, particularly in committee.
Scott’s plans are likely to be complicated by the decisions of President Trump, the Republican Congress and by two new leaders in the Legislature, Sen. Pro Tem Tim Ashe and House Speaker Mitzi Johnson.
Sen. Philip Baruth was named chair of the Senate Education Committee. All of the other chairs stayed the same.
House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate President Tim Ashe led a changeover in the state’s top four jobs. They identified a reduction in poverty as a priority, along with addressing budget gaps.
Legislative preview: Rural development initiatives, independent contractor bill top economic development list
Lawmakers will also consider legislation that would require all businesses to provide 12 weeks of paid parental leave and short-term disability coverage to employees.
Insiders say Ashe may become the bridge between a Republican governor, a Progressive, Democratic lieutenant governor and a Democratic majority Legislature.
Legislators are expecting to address policies concerning inmates with mental health issues and to look at the way the judiciary functions in Vermont. Marijuana legalization is likely to come up again too.
Medicaid spending will once again be a driving factor in a projected $55 million to $75 million budget gap.
The incoming president pro tem wants to focus on reducing poverty and getting rid of wasteful spending in the Vermont medical industry. Sen. Tim Ashe replaces outgoing Sen. John Campbell in the leadership post.
Sen. Claire Ayer lost bid to the top slot and a seat as “third member” of the Committee on Committees.
While lawmakers pledge to work with the new Republican governor, the new power dynamic sets up an inevitable culture clash.
Democratic incumbents as well as Progressive Rep. Chris Pearson and Debbie Ingram won their bids for Senate seats. In House races, incumbents Paul Dame of Essex and Joanna Cole of Burlington lost their seats.