YCQM: December 9, 2012 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM: December 9, 2012

Posted: Updated:
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

FROM VERMONT'S MOST TRUSTED NEWS SOURCE, WCAX BRINGS YOU YOUR NEWSMAKERS, YOUR NEIGHBORS. THIS IS "YOU CAN QUOTE ME."

>>> AND GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE. LAW MAKE YIRS RETURN TO THE STATE HOUSE IN JANUARY AND THEY HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO.

>> THEY SURE DO, AND THIS MORNING WE'RE TALKING ABOUT LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES WITH OUR NEWSMAKER, HOUSE SPEAKER SHAP SMITH. MR. SMITH, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR BEING HERE.

>> GREAT TO BE HERE.

>> WE SHOULD SAY THAT YOU NEED TO BE ELECTED. YOU ARE RUNNING AGAIN FOR HOUSE SPEAKER, SO YOU HAVE NOT YET BEEN ELECTED. YOU HAVE A CHALLENGE FROM ANOTHER REPRESENTATIVE, BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE SAYING YOU ARE EXPECTED TO WIN. SO YOU PICKED UP TWO MORE DEMOCRATIC SEATS. HOW DIFFICULT IS IT GOING TO BE TO MANAGE 96 DEMOCRATS?

>> WELL, I MEAN --

>> THEY COME OFF OF DOING 94 TWO YEARS AGO.

>> THE CHALLENGE IS, YOU KNOW, MANAGING 150 PEOPLE, BUT IT DEFINITELY -- THERE IS A COMPONENT OF TRYING TO MANAGE A REALLY LARGE CAUCUS. YOU KNOW, I THINK PART OF TRYING TO GET PEOPLE FOCUSED IS SPENDING A LOT OF TIME TALKING TO THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS, UNDERSTANDING WHAT THEY'RE CONCERNED ABOUT, AND SEEING IF THERE'S SOME COMMONALITY AROUND THOSE CONCERNS. AND ONCE YOU'VE DONE THAT, I THINK YOU CAN POINT PEOPLE IN A DIRECTION. BUT THE REALITY IS, THERE'S ALWAYS GOING TO BE TENSION WITHIN THE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS AS THERE PROBABLY WILL BE WITHIN THE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS. AND YOU JUST HAVE TO TRY TO NAVIGATE THAT A LITTLE BIT.

>> PART OF THE TENSION DURING THE LAST BIENNIUM WAS THERE WERE MORE LIBERAL MEMBERS OF YOUR CAUCUS WHO WANTED TO PUSH NOW FURTHER ALONG TO MORE LIBERAL ISSUES WHEN IT CAME TO TAXES, FOR EXAMPLE. NOW THAT WE'VE GONE THROUGH ANOTHER ELECTION CYCLE, DEMOCRATS PICKED UP EVEN MORE SEATS. A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR WAS RE-ELECTED AND PRETTY MUCH DEMOCRATS SWEPT ALMOST EVERY POSITION AT THE TOP OF THE TICKET EXCEPT FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR. HOW DO YOU LOOK AT THE LIBERAL FACTION OF YOUR CAUCUS AND SAY, NO, IT'S NOT THE TIME TO DO X, Y, Z, THESE LIBERAL PRIORITIES?

>> I DON'T THINK YOU FORECLOSE THOSE PRIORITIESES RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX. I THINK YOU TRY TOO HEAR FROM PEOPLE IF AND BALANCE THE PRIORITIESES. WE KNOW WE'RE GOING TORE CHALLENGES WITH THE BUDGET, BUT WE OUGHT TO STEP BACK AND TAKE A LOOK AT WHERE WE ARE. IN VERMONT, WE HAVE ONE OF THE LOWEST UNEMPLOYMENT RATES IN THE NATION. IN 2011, WE HAD MEDIAN INCOME GREW. WE WERE THE ONLY STATE IN THE NATION THAT DID THAT. WE HAVE A BALANCED BUDGET. WE HAVE CHALLENGES THAT ALMOST EVERY STATE FACES, BUT WE'RE IN, I THINK, A PRETTY SOLID POSITION, SO I THINK WE NEED TO TAKE A STEP BACK AND MAKE SURE WE UNDERSTAND THE GOOD THINGS WE'RE DOING AND WE HAVE TO LOOK AT THE CHALLENGES, AND SO THE QUESTION, I THINK, THAT'S GOING TO BE FUNDAMENTAL IS WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO AS A STATE TO NOT ONLY GROW JOBS, MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE FEEL SAFE IN THEIR HOMES AND ON THEIR STREETS, AND THEN ALSO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE FEEL LIKE THOSE WHO ARE A LITTLE WORSE OFF ARE GOING TO BE OKAY.

>> GOVERNOR PETER SHUMLIN, A DEMOCRAT ALSO, RECENTLY LAID OUT HIS PRIORITIES. HE TALKED ABOUT BEING CONFIDENT THAT SOME VERY CONTROVERSIAL BILLS WOULD PASS THIS SESSION. LET'S TAKE A LISTEN TO WHAT HE HAD TO SAY.

>> I'M CONFIDENT THAT REGARDLESS OF THE -- OF WHO LEADS THE VARIOUS BODIES IN THE LEGISLATURE, THAT WE CAN PASS DECRIMINALIZATION OF MARIJUANA, DEATH WITH DIGNITY, AND THE WORKERS BILL FOR CHILD CARE WORKERS.

>> SO DECRIMINALIZING MARIJUANA, DEATH WITH DIGNITY, AND CHILD CARE UNIONS. DO YOU THINK HE'S BEING REALISTIC?

>> WELL, I MEAN, I THINK THAT HE IDENTIFIED THREE ISSUES THAT LIKELY WILL BE IN FRONT OF THE LEGISLATURE, BUT I DON'T THINK THOSE ARE THE TOP PRIORITIES FOR LEGISLATION.

>> BUT THE GOVERNOR SAID HE'S CONFIDENT, CONFIDENT THAT NO MATTER WHO LEADS, THAT THOSE ISSUES WILL PASS. ARE YOU CONFIDENT THEY WILL PASS?

>> SO I SAID LAST YEAR AND I STILL BELIEVE THAT THERE ARE THE VOTES IN THE HOUSE TO PASS THE DEATH WITH DIGNITY LEGISLATION. AND THE DECRIMINALIZATION BILL HASN'T HAD HEARINGS IN THE HOUSE YET. WE SENT -- OR I SENT A LIST OF QUESTIONS TO THE COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC SAFETY THAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING RESPONSE ON TO ADDRESS SOME OF THE CONCERNS THAT HAVE BEEN RAISED. I DON'T THINK THAT'S A SLAM-DUNK, BUT I WOULDN'T SAY THAT IT'S FORECLOSED FROM PASSING THE HOUSE. EVE BEEN PRETTY CLEAR THAT IT'S NOT A BILL AT THIS POINT IN TIME THAT I SUPPORT, BUT I ALSO WANT TO HEAR WHAT THE COMMISSIONER HAS TO SAY AND I'LL TAKE THAT INTO CONSIDERATION IN DECIDING WHETHER I WOULD SUPPORT THE BILL OR NOT. AND THEN THE CHILD CARE BILL, WE KNOW THAT WE NEED TO SUPPORT OUR CHILD CARE WORKERS. THEY ARE NOT PAID AS WELL AS THEY SHOULD BE IN THE STATE OF VERMONT. A BILL PASSED THE HOUSE IN 2011 AND I WOULD EXPECT THAT THAT BILL WOULD STILL BE ABLE TO PASS IN 2013.

>> OBVIOUSLY THESE ARE CONTROVERSIAL MEASURES THAT THE GOVERNOR HAS LAID OUT HERE IN SAYING THAT THESE WILL PASS. HE ALSO HAD MENTIONED GETTING SOME SORT OF DRIVER'S LICENSE FOR IMMIGRANTS HERE. KRISTEN HAD DONE A SERIES A WHILE BACK ABOUT THE NUMBER OF IMMIGRANT FARM WORKERS. DO YOU THINK THAT THAT SHOULD BE A PRIORITY? AND HOW DOES THAT GET LEGS HERE?

>> YOU KNOW, THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION. WE HAVE A TASK FORCE OR A GROUP THAT'S TAKING A LOOK AT IT WITHIN THE LEGISLATURE. I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO THEIR RECOMMENDATIONS. I DON'T WANT TO PREJUDGE WHAT THEY RECOMMEND, AND I THINK THAT ONCE THEY PRESENT THOSE TO THE LEGISLATURE, WE'LL DECIDE WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO WITH IT. I HAVEN'T HAD A CHANCE TO TALK TO THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM TO SEE WHETHER THAT'S AN ISSUE THAT THEY WOULD WANT TO DEAL WITH FIRST OR WHETHER THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WOULD COME UP IN THE HOUSE.

>> AND WOULD THERE BE ANY SORT OF FEDERAL BACKLASH IF VERMONT MOVES FORWARD WITH SOMETHING LIKE THIS IN GRANTING DRIVER'S LICENSES TO MIGRANT FARM WORKERS OR EVEN THOSE WHO ARE WORKING HERE UNDER THE RADAR? IS THERE ANY SORT OF FEDERAL BACKLASH FROM SOMETHING LIKE THAT?

>> CERTAINLY THAT'S SOMETHING I THINK THAT WE WOULD NEED TO TAKE A LOOK AT AND I WOULD EXPECT THAT TO BE PART OF NOT ONLY CONSIDERATION IN THE RECOMMENDATIONS THAT ARE MADE TO THE LEGISLATURE, BUT IN ANY HEARINGS THAT WE HAVE IN THE LEGISLATURE. YOU KNOW, I WANT TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THE SCOPE AND DEPTH OF THE ISSUE IS AND THE CHALLENGE THAT WE'RE TRYING TO SOLVE. I DON'T WANT TO SOLVE CHALLENGES THAT DON'T EXIST. SO WE'LL TAKE IT AS IT COMES WHEN IT GETS TO THE LEGISLATURE.

>> THE GOVERNOR GUARANTEED PASSAGE OF THAT DRIVER'S LICENSE BILL. DID HE GET AHEAD OF HIMSELF?

>> WELL, YOU KNOW, THE GOVERNOR HAS A TENDENCY TO BE FORCEFUL IN THE THINGS HE SAYS, BUT, YOU KNOW, THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH IS DIFFERENT FROM THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH AND NOT EVERYTHING THAT A GOVERNOR WANTS, THE GOVERNOR IS GOING TO GET.

>> IT'S INTERESTING YOU SAY THAT BECAUSE I THINK THE GOVERNOR FEELS VERY EMBOLDENED. HE'S COMING BACK FOR A SECOND TERM AND HE FEELS HE'S IN A VERY STRONG POSITION. IT'S BEEN A WHILE SINCE I'VE HEARD A GOVERNOR DO A PRESS CONFERENCE WHERE HE SAYS THESE FOUR BILLS THAT ARE SUPER-CONTROVERSIAL, THAT RAN INTO A LOT OF OBSTACLES AND QUESTIONS EVEN, ARE DEFINITELY GOING TO PASS. WHO IS GOING TO BE HIS PUSHBACK?

>> WELL, YOU KNOW, WE ALWAYS ARE. THE LEGISLATURE ALWAYS IS THE PUSHBACK. YOU KNOW, PEOPLE --

>> BUT DO YOU THINK AT THE END OF THESE TWO YEARS, THESE BILLS HAVE PASSED OR NOT PASSED?

>> I THINK THE DEATH WITH DIGNITY BILL WOULD PASS THE HOUSE. I DON'T KNOW WHAT HIS PROSPECTS ARE IN THE SENATE. I THINK THAT THE CHILD CARE BILL IS LIKELY TO PASS THE HOUSE. I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE PROSPECTS ARE IN THE SENATE. AND THOSE ARE ISSUES THAT THE HOUSE HAS BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF BEFORE, AND HOUSE LEADERSHIP HAS BEEN. I DON'T KNOW WHAT WE'RE GOING TO SEE AROUND THE MIGRANT WORKER LICENSE BILL, AND SO I'M NOT GOING TO SAY WHETHER IT'S GOING TO PASS OR NOT. IT REALLY DEPENDS ON WHAT THE BILL LOOKS LIKE, AND WITH REGARD TO -- I CAN'T REMEMBER THE OTHER --

>> MARIJUANA, DECRIMINALIZATION.

>> MARIJUANA. IT REALLY IS DEPENDENT ON WHAT THE ANSWERS ARE FROM THE COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY. CERTAINLY THE WIND IS AT THE BACK OF THAT MOVEMENT. WE'VE SEEN, YOU KNOW, WASHINGTON MOVE FORWARD WITH THE ISSUE, COLORADO MOVE FORWARD WITH THE ISSUE. AND I WOULD EXPECT THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TESTIMONY ON THAT ISSUE. I WOULD EXPECT THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE TO TAKE A LOOK AT IT, BUT I DON'T THINK THE VOTES HAVE BEEN COUNTED IN THE HOUSE AND, YOU KNOW, I THINK THAT THERE'S WORK STILL THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE ON THAT.

>> YOU'RE SOMEONE WHO'S BEEN SEEN AS SOMEWHAT OF A ROADBLOCK TO THIS ISSUE OF THE MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZATION. YOU LAUGH. IS THAT NOT A FAIR ASSESSMENT?

>> NO, I THINK THAT'S -- MY POSITION ON IT HAS BEEN CLEAR AND I WILL OWN THE FACT THAT IT WAS NOT A TOP PRIORITY OF MINE IN THE LAST LEGISLATIVE SESSION, AND -- BUT I -- YOU KNOW, I WORKED WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE ADVOCATES, NOT THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE, BUT PEOPLE WHO ARE ADVOCATES IN THE LEGISLATURE ON THE ISSUE TO PUT TOGETHER A TIMELINE FOR -- AND A STEP-BY-STEP OF WHAT WE WOULD NEED FOR INFORMATION AND WHEN WE WOULD CONSIDER IT.

>> SO IF YOU GET -- LIKE WHAT INFORMATION WOULD YOU NEED TO CHANGE YOUR MIND? OR IS THIS THE SORT OF ISSUE THAT YOU'RE GOING TO DECIDE THE VOTE CAN HAPPEN WHETHER OR NOT I SUPPORT IT OR NOT?

>> MY FEELING IS THAT THE VOTE CAN HAPPEN WHETHER I SUPPORT IT OR NOT.

>> LET'S MOVE ON TO WHAT'S BECOME A PRETTY BIG PROBLEM IN THE STATE OF VERMONT, AND THAT'S PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE. WE'RE SEEING PROPERTY CRIME AND ESCALATING VIOLENT CRIME WITH ROBBERIES, YOU KNOW, BASICALLY FUELED BY ADDICTION. IS THE LEGISLATURE TAKING A LOOK AT WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE THERE? AND WHAT ABOUT THE PRESCRIPTION MONITORING BILL? WHERE DOES THAT STAND?

>> SO WE ACTUALLY PASSED LEGISLATION IN THE HOUSE LAST YEAR THAT ADDRESSED A NUMBER OF THE ISSUES, BUT WE DISAGREED WITH THE GOVERNOR AND THE SENATE ON THE PRESCRIPTION DRUG MONITORING. AND THE DISAGREEMENT WENT DEEP. IT WAS REALLY AN ISSUE ABOUT PRIVACY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES AS FAR AS THE HOUSE WAS CONCERNED WITH REGARD TO ACCESS TO THE DATABASE. AND, YOU KNOW, I WOULD LIKE TO CONTINUE TO WORK TO SEE IF WE CAN BRIDGE A GAP. I THOUGHT WE WERE CLOSE AT THE END OF THE LAST SESSION, BUT, YOU KNOW, THAT'S ONE PART OF TRYING TO DEAL WITH THIS ISSUE. BUT THE ISSUE IS REALLY ABOUT TREATMENT AND IT'S ABOUT STRONG ENFORCEMENT OF OUR LAWS. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I THINK IS INTERESTING IS YOU'VE SEEN DATA RECENTLY THAT SUGGESTS THAT THE ISSUE -- THAT PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE IS GOING DOWN, BUT HEROIN USE IS GOING UP.

>> SUDDENLY A RESURGENCE LIKE WE SAW ABOUT TEN YEARS AGO.

>> SO I THINK THERE ARE A COUPLE THINGS WE NEED TO DO. I THINK WE HAVE TO TIGHTEN UP THE PENALTIES FOR PRESCRIPTION DRUG FRAUD. I THINK THAT'S DEFINITELY SOMETHING THAT -- AND WE NEED TO WORK WITH THE VERMONT MEDICAL SOCIETY TO ENCOURAGE MORE USE OF THE PRESCRIPTION DRUG MONITORING SYSTEM BY DOCTORS. I THINK IT'S AN EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR THEM TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE AREN'T TRYING TO PUT ONE OVER ON THEM, AND I'VE MET WITH LEADERS OF THE MEDICAL SOCIETY TO SEE IF THERE'S SOME WAY THAT WE COULD DO THAT. AND THEN I THINK WE REALLY NEED TO TAKE A LOOK AT TREATMENT. WE KNOW THAT IN THE FEDERAL SYSTEM, THE TREATMENT PROGRAMS FOR DRUG USE ARE ACTUALLY VERY GOOD AND HAVE A PRETTY GOOD SUCCESS RATE, AND I'D LIKE TO SEE WHAT THEY'RE DOING THERE AND SEE IF THERE'S SOME WORK THAT WE CAN TAKE FROM THERE AND APPLY IT TO THE STATE SYSTEM.

>> YOU MENTIONED THE -- TRYING TO BRIDGE THAT GAP. WHERE DID THE BREAKDOWN HAPPEN? WHAT COULD NOT -- WHAT COULDN'T YOU AGREE ABOUT?

>> THE BREAKDOWN REALLY HAPPENED ON THE NOTION THAT THERE WOULD BE ACCESS TO THE DATABASE BY LAW ENFORCEMENT, AND THIS WAS NOT A PARTISAN ISSUE. THERE WERE INDEPENDENTS, THERE WERE REPUBLICANS, THERE WERE DEMOCRATS, THERE WERE PROGRESSIVES WHO FELT VERY STRONGLY ABOUT THE NOTION THAT THE DATABASE SHOULD NOT BE ACCESSED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT WITHOUT REALLY STRONG CHECKS. AND, YOU KNOW, WE -- I'M SURE THAT WE WILL REVISIT THE ISSUE, BUT, YOU KNOW, AND SEE IF WE CAN BRIDGE THE GAP, BUT THERE WERE REALLY FIRST PRINCIPLE KIND OF DISAGREEMENTS.

>> WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A

>>> WELCOME BACK, EVERYONE. WE'RE CONTINUING OUR INTERVIEW WITH HOUSE SPEAKER SHAP SMITH. HE IS SET TO LEAD A LARGE DEMOCRATIC SUPER-MAJORITY IN THE HOUSE ALONG WITH REPUBLICANS AND INDEPENDENTS. ONE OF THE BIG ISSUES PEOPLE ARE HEARING ABOUT HAS TO DO WITH THE WATERBURY OFFICE COMPLEX AND WHAT IS NEXT. FUNDING IS STILL VERY MUCH UP IN THE AIR. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO PLAN BUDGET WISE WHEN IT COMES TO HOW MUCH VERMONTERS WILL BE ON THE HOOK FOR THIS?

>> WELL, I THINK AS THE SESSION UNFOLDS, WE'LL HAVE A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF, ONE, WHAT WE'RE GOING TO GET FROM OUR INSURANCE COMPANIES --

>> IT'S NOT GOING TO BE AS MUCH AS PEOPLE ARE HOPING.

>> THERE'S NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. IT'S NOT GOING TO BE AS MUCH AS PEOPLE ARE HOPING. I THINK WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO GO BACK, SHARPEN THE PENCILS, AND SEE IF THERE ARE AREAS WE'RE GOING TO SAVE MONEY.

>> DID YOU EVER THINK WE WERE GOING TO GET 90%? IT SEEMS LIKE SOME LAWMAKERS SAID WE WERE, AND OTHERS SAID NO, WE NEVER WERE, AND THE GOVERNOR SAYS WE WERE, AND NOW HE SEEMS TO SAY WE'RE STILL NEGOTIATING, BUT I'M VERY CONFIDENT WE'RE GOING TO GET WHAT WE NEED. WHERE DO YOU STAND IN ALL THIS?

>> I'M NOT SURE WHETHER I EVER HAD A GOOD SENSE OF HOW MUCH MONEY WE WERE GOING TO GET. I KNEW THAT WE WERE GOING TO GET A LARGE CHUNK OF MONEY FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND FROM THE INSURANCE COMPANIES, BUT I NEVER PUT A PERCENTAGE NUMBER ON IT.

>> DO YOU THINK THE ADMINISTRATION KNEW? I KNOW YOU WORK VERY CLOSELY WITH THE ADMINISTRATION SECRETARY DURING THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION. DID THEY KNOW?

>> I THINK IT WAS A FLUID ENVIRONMENT FOR THEM ALL THE WAY THROUGH, AND I THINK THAT THEY BELIEVED IN GOOD FAITH, BASED ON REPRESENTATIONS THAT WERE BEING MADE BY FEMA, THAT THERE WOULD BE A LARGER REIMBURSEMENT THAN IS NOW COMING THROUGH. BUT, YOU KNOW -- AND I DON'T THINK IT'S GOING TO BE HELPFUL TO SORT OF SAY, WELL, YOU KNEW AND YOU MISREPRESENTED IT. I DON'T THINK THAT THEY DID THAT. I THINK THEY WANTED TO BELIEVE THAT THEY WERE NEGOTIATING IN GOOD FAITH WITH A PARTNER THAT WANTED THE SAME THINGS, AND IT JUST SO HAPPENS THAT, YOU KNOW, IT CAME UP SHORT. AND SO WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH WHAT'S IN FRONT OF US NOW AND, YOU KNOW, MY THINKING IS THAT WE'RE PROBABLY GOING TO HAVE TO DO THIS PROJECT OVER A COUPLE OF FISCAL YEARS. AND SO PROBABLY WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO CREATE SOME CAPACITY WITHIN OUR CAPITAL BUDGET OVER A SERIES OF TWO TO THREE BUDGET CYCLES THAT WILL BE USED FOR THE OFFICE COMPLEX.

>> AND SO WHEN DO YOU THINK VERMONTERS WILL KNOW WHAT THE STATE'S SHARE OF THIS PROJECT WILL BE?

>> MY HOPE IS THAT IT PROBABLY WILL BE BY THE END OF THE NEXT SESSION, SO SOMETIME IN APRIL OR MAY OF NEXT YEAR.

>> OKAY.

>> YOU CONTINUE TO ANTICIPATE THAT THE PROJECT, YOU KNOW, A LOT OF PLANS WERE LAID OUT TO THE MEDIA, THAT THAT PROJECT WILL BE SCALED BACK AS A RESULT OF THIS, YOU KNOW, UNDETERMINED AMOUNT OF FUNDS?

>> I CERTAINLY THINK THAT WE'LL TAKE A LOOK AT THAT QUESTION. I WILL SAY THAT I THINK THAT WE DO NEED TO MOVE FORWARD WITH IT AND, YOU KNOW, I THINK WE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT SAVING MONEY IN THE SHORT-TERM THAT'S GOING TO CREATE COSTS FOR US IN THE LONG TERM. I THINK WE REALLY OUGHT TO BE BUILDING A BUILDING THAT IS ON THE CUTTING EDGE OF EFFICIENCIES, BOTH IN ELECTRICAL AND THERMAL EFFICIENCIES. I THINK WE OUGHT TO BE ENVISIONING ON WORKPLACE THAT'S GOING TO WORK FOR VERMONTERS AND FOR STATE EMPLOYEES IN THE 21st CENTURY.

>> LETS SHIFT GEARS. WE WERE ACTUALLY CHATTING ABOUT THIS PRIOR TO THE SHOW, SORT OF THE, QUOTE/UNQUOTE, GRAYING OF THE GREEN MOUNTAINS WHERE WE'RE SEEING A LOT OF OUR YOUNG PEOPLE LEAVE THE STATE AS SOON AS THEY GET OUT OF COLLEGE. IS THE STATE TAKING A LOOK AT THIS? DO YOU THINK THIS IS CAUSE FOR CONCERN THAT WE'RE LOSING SO MANY EARLY 20-YEAR-OLDS?

>> OR IS THIS JUST SOMETHING YOU CAN'T STOP?

>> THAT HAS ACTUALLY BEEN AN ISSUE FOR VERMONT FOR AGES. AS I WAS SAYING TO KRISTEN BEFOREHAND, I WAS READING A BIOGRAPHY OF PHIL HOFF AND TALKING ABOUT THE EARLY '60s, ONE OF THE REAL CONCERNS WAS POPULATION AND YOUTH SLIGHT, AND WE HAVE A CHALLENGE THERE AND I DO THINK IT'S A CHALLENGE WE HAVE TO ADDRESS. MY FEELING IS LET'S SET A GOAL. WHAT DO WE WANT TO SEE IN 2022? HOW MUCH -- YOU KNOW, WHAT DO WE WANT TO SEE THE POPULATION OF VERMONT LOOK LIKE? AND THEN WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO TO ADOPT POLICIES TO GET THERE? IS IT GOING TO MEAN INVESTING IN SCHOLARSHIP REIMBURSEMENT OR DOING SOMETHING, INCOME TAX CREDIT FOR PAYBACK OF LOANS OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT FOR YOUNG PEOPLE? WE KNOW THAT THERE ARE A LOT OF COMPANIES HERE WHO DO NEED EMPLOYEES AND WHO NEED SKILLED EMPLOYEES, AND HOW ARE WE GOING TO MATCH THOSE SKILLED EMPLOYEES, YOUNG SKILLED EMPLOYEES WITH THE EMPLOYERS THAT EXIST HERE?

>> BECAUSE A LOT OF COMPANIES, DEALER.COM, FOR EXAMPLE, IS, YOU KNOW, OFFERING INCENTIVES TO LURE PEOPLE TO VERMONT AND SO THE BUSINESSES ARE RIGHT NOW KIND OF TAKING THIS UPON THEMSELVES TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN. DO YOU THINK THE STATE HAS A RESPONSIBILITY, THOUGH, TO TRY TO GET YOUNG PEOPLE TO COME HERE TO FILL THOSE JOBS THAT ARE DESPERATELY NEEDED?

>> I THINK THE STATE HAS A RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY WILL CONTINUE TO BE VITAL AND I THINK PART OF THAT IS MAKING SURE THAT WE HAVE YOUNG PEOPLE HERE. AND, YOU KNOW, AS SOMEBODY WHO LEFT THE STATE WHEN I WAS 23 AND THEN CAME BACK WHEN I WAS 26 OR 27, I UNDERSTAND THE DESIRE OF A YOUNGER VERMONTER TO LEAVE FOR A WHILE. I HAD GROWN UP IN RURAL VERMONT AND I LOVED IT VERY MUCH, BUT I KIND OF WANTED TO SEE THE BRIGHT LIGHTS AND THE BIG CITY, AND THEN I REALIZED WHAT A GREAT PLACE VERMONT WAS AND WANTED TO MOVE BACK. AND I THINK WE HAVE A UNIVERSE THERE THAT WE COULD RECRUIT BACK HERE IF WE CAN MATCH THEM UP WITH THE JOBS THAT ARE HERE.

>> IS VERMONT TOO EXPENSIVE?

>> I THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, PARTICULARLY IN THE HOUSING AREA, IT'S CHALLENGING. IT'S NOT MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE THAN KNOWLEDGE OF THE URBAN AREAS IN THE EAST. IN FACT, IT'S -- IN MANY INSTANCES, IT'S CHEAPER, BUT, YOU KNOW, WE DO HAVE A CHALLENGE WITH THE SALARIES THAT WE PAY HERE AS OPPOSED TO THE URBAN AREAS. SO, YOU KNOW, IT WOULD BE A NICE THING TO FIGURE OUT, YOU KNOW, A WAY TO ADDRESS SOME OF THE EXPENSE ISSUES, PARTICULARLY AROUND HOUSE. TO BUY A HOUSE IN CHITTENDEN COUNTY IS VERY EXPENSIVE. IT'S EXPENSIVE IN LAMOILLE COUNTY AND HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THOSE KIND OF ISSUES?

>> HEALTHCARE IS SOMETHING THAT VERMONTERS WON'T LEARN UNTIL THE NEXT SESSION HOW MUCH IT'S GOING TO COST. WHAT TAXES ARE YOU LOOKING AT TO FUND HEALTHCARE AT THIS POINT?

>> THERE ARE TWO ISSUES HERE. ONE IS THE HEALTHCARE EXCHANGE AND ONE IS THE BROADER GREEN MOUNTAIN CARE. THE HEALTHCARE EXCHANGE WHICH COMES ON LINE IN 2014 --

>> WHICH EVERY STATE HAS TO DO UNDER OBAMACARE.

>> RIGHT, EVERY STATE HAS TO DO. SOME ARE CHOOSING TO DO IT ON THEIR OWN. SOME ARE ALLOWING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO DO IT. WE'LL NEED TO FUND THE -- PART OF THE OPERATION COSTS OF THE EXCHANGE STARTING IN 2015. AND WE'LL NEED TO BE LOOKING AT WHAT REVENUES WE USE. I'M WILLING TO PUT EVERYTHING ON THE TABLE FOR THAT. YOU KNOW, IN THIS WAY, I PROBABLY DISAGREE WITH THE GOVERNOR IN THAT, YOU KNOW, I DON'T THINK THAT YOU SHOULD FORECLOSE ANY REVENUE SOURCE TO SUPPORT THAT, AND, YOU KNOW, THE QUESTION IS HOW MUCH IT'S GOING TO COST AND THEN WE CAN LOOK AT WHAT KIND OF REVENUE -- AREAS OF REVENUE AND WHETHER WE CAN FUND IT OUT OF CURRENT DOLLARS. IF WE COULD FUND IT OUT OF CURRENT DOLLARS, THAT WOULD BE MY PREFERRED OPTION. AS A FORMER MEMBER OF THE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE, THE TAXING COMMITTEE, I KNOW THE RESPONSIBILITY THAT COMES WITH RAISING REVENUE AND I THINK THE FIRST OPTION SHOULD ALWAYS BE LOOKING TO SEE WHETHER YOU CAN PAY FOR SOMETHING OUT OF YOUR CURRENT REVENUE STREAM AND RAISING NEW REVENUE SHOULD ONLY BE THE LAST OPTION.

>> SO RIGHT NOW, THE LEGISLATURE IS FOCUSED ON THAT FIRST STEP, THE EXCHANGE, AND IT HASN'T --

>> RIGHT.

>> THE GOVERNOR WAS RECENTLY ELECTED, VERY RECENTLY ELECTED TO CHAIR THE DEMOCRATIC GOVERNORS ASSOCIATION. VERY RARE FOR A SECOND-TERM GOVERNOR TO GET THIS POSITION. WHY DO YOU THINK THE GOVERNOR WANTED THIS JOB?

>> YOU KNOW, YOU'D HAVE TO ASK HIM. I THINK -- I DON'T ACTUALLY REALLY KNOW WHY HE WANTED THE JOB. TO ME, IT LOOKS LIKE 2014 WILL BE A DIFFICULT POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT AND I THINK IT WILL BE CHALLENGE, BUT I KNOW THE GOVERNOR WELL AND I KNOW THAT HE WILL DO WHATEVER HE CAN TO MEET THAT CHALLENGE.

>> ARE YOU WORRIED THAT HE COULD BE DISTRACTED BY THIS NEW POSITION AWAY FROM ISSUES IN VERMONT?

>> NO, I'M NOT WORRIED. I MEAN, THERE ARE SOME WHO WOULD SAY, OH, GOOD, HE WILL BE DISTRACTED, WE CAN DO WHAT WE WANT. BUT I THINK THE GOVERNOR IS VERY CAPABLE OF MULTI-TASKING, SO I'M NOT WORRIED THAT HE WILL LOSE FOCUS AND I HAVE FULL CONFIDENCE IN HIS TEAM. I MEAN, SECRETARY SPALDING, CHIEF OF STAFF MILLER, I MEAN, THEY'RE JUST TOP SHELF AND THEY WILL DO A GREAT JOB.

>> WELL, THERE HAS BEEN SOME SHAKE-UP IN THE ADMINISTRATION. YOU MENTIONED THERE'S A NEW CHIEF OF STAFF. THERE'S ALSO GOING TO BE SORT OF A NEW TOP POLITICAL AID REPLACING SOMEONE WHO'S BEEN WITH THE GOVERNOR FOR A LONG TIME. DO YOU THINK THAT WEAKENS THE GOVERNOR'S POSITION WITH THE LEGISLATURE AND THAT'S WHY HE'S USING SUCH STRONG LANGUAGE TO START?

>> NO, I DON'T THINK SO. WE'RE REALLY GOING TO MISS ALEX McCLAIN WHO'S BEEN HIS POLITICAL ADVISOR FOR THE LAST FOUR, SIX YEARS. SHE HAD WORKED IN THE HOUSE BEFORE THAT AND SHE IS GREAT. I MEAN, KID FROM THE KINGDOM, AS HE LIKES TO SAY, BUT SOMEBODY WHO'S REALLY POLITICALLY SHARP, BUT ALSO SOMEONE WHO HAS COMMON SENSE, SO I THINK IT'S A BIG LOSS FOR THE GOVERNOR, BUT I THINK HIS TEAM IS A GOOD ONE. LIZ IS GREAT. HE IS BRINGING ON LEWIS PORTER WHO HAS BEEN WORKED IN THE STATE HOUSE AND REALLY UNDERSTANDS IT. I THINK HE WILL BE VERY EFFECTIVE THERE AS WELL.

>> YOU HAD MENTIONED AT THE TOP OF THE SHOW WHEN WE WERE TALKING ABOUT THE GOVERNOR'S PRIORITIES, THAT THE LEGISLATURE AND THE HOUSE WILL HAVE ITS PRIORITIES AS WELL. WHAT ARE YOUR TOP PRIORITIES?

>> SO, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE SEVERAL. ONE OF THEM, YOU KNOW, WE BELIEVE THAT WE'VE GOT TO FOCUS ON JOBS AND I THINK THE GOVERNOR SHARES THAT. AND SO THE QUESTION IS, HOW DO WE STRENGTHEN OUR WORKFORCE SO THAT WE HAVE THE PEOPLE THAT CAN GO INTO THE JOBS THAT ARE REMAINING UNFILLED? YOU KNOW, WE'VE TALKED A LOT ABOUT HOW TO ATTRACT STEM GRADUATES, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATH. I THINK WE NEED TO WORK WITH NOT ONLY THE UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT, BUT THE STATE COLLEGES AS WELL AS THE PRIVATE COLLEGES THAT WE HAVE TO STRENGTHEN THAT EDUCATION. YOU KNOW, WE'RE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT PUBLIC SAFETY. WE THINK THAT IT'S -- I'M REALLY WORRIED ABOUT THE REPORTS OF METH LABS THAT HAVE BEEN COMING OUT, AND YOU'VE SEEN WHAT'S HAPPENED IN OTHER STATES. I THINK WE HAVE TO STOP THAT AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE, SO YOU WILL SEE US FOCUSING ON THAT. AND STRENGTHENING OUR AGRICULTURAL AND TOURISM ECONOMY. THOSE ARE, YOU KNOW, CRITICAL GOALS. ONE OTHER THING, YOU KNOW, PATTY COMLINE, WHO WAS THE REPUBLICAN LEADER WHEN I FIRST BECAME SPEAKER, WROTE WHAT I THOUGHT WAS A REALLY GOOD PIECE ABOUT ADDRESSING SOME OF THE ISSUES AROUND BENEFIT CLIFFS AND WHAT THAT MEANS IS IF YOU MAKE $40,000, MAYBE YOU'RE GETTING HELP WITH YOUR CHILD CARE AND YOU'RE GETTING HELP WITH YOUR HEALTHCARE, AND IF YOU MAKE $40,001, ALL OF A SUDDEN, YOU DON'T HAVE THAT AND THAT'S DISCOURAGING PEOPLE FROM MOVING UP THE ECONOMIC LADDER AND WE SHOULD WANT TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO SUCCEED AND WE SHOULD HAVE SYSTEMS IN PLACE TO DO THAT, AND I THINK THAT'S SOMETHING WE HAVE TO TAKE A LOOK AT.

>> HOW DO YOU STOP THE GROWTH OF METH LABS?

>> THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION. I THINK LARGELY IT'S ENFORCEMENT, ABOUT TRYING TO MONITOR THE INGREDIENTS THAT ARE COMING IN TO THE STATE. AND I THINK WE HAVE TO HAVE STRONG PENALTIES. THOSE ARE THE ISSUES. AND, YOU KNOW, I LOOK FORWARD TO TALKING TO LAW ENFORCEMENT TO SEE WHAT THEY THINK IS APPROPRIATE IN TRYING TO PREVENT THEM. I THINK WE CAN LEARN LESSONS FROM OTHER STATES THAT HAVE HAD A REAL EPIDEMIC AND HAVE BEEN ABLE TO BASICALLY, NOT NECESSARILY RID THEMSELVES OF THE EPIDEMIC, BUT BRING THE USE OF METH DOWN IN THEIR STATES.

>> YOU HAD MENTIONED THAT A PRIORITY IS TO WORK WITH THE STATE COLLEGE SYSTEMS AND UVM, BUT VERMONT HAS TRADITIONALLY NOT FUNDED VERY MUCH OF THEIR OVERALL BUDGET. DO YOU ANTICIPATE MORE MONEY GOING TO OUR SCHOOLS?

>> WELL, YOU KNOW, WE DON'T HAVE A WHOLE LOT OF MONEY LAYING AROUND IN THE STATE BUDGET, SO I'M NOT SURE WHETHER WE'LL INCREASE SORT OF THE GENERAL FUNDING THAT GOES TO THE UNIVERSITIES, BUT I -- I WOULD BE INTERESTED IN PARTNERSHIPS THAT MIGHT REQUIRE A LITTLE BIT MORE MONEY WITH THE UNIVERSITIES AND STATE COLLEGES IF WE KNEW THAT IT WAS GOING TO BE DIRECTED IN A CERTAIN WAY.

>> VERY QUICKLY, WE USUALLY ASK PEOPLE, ARE YOU GOING TO RUN AGAIN FOR HOUSE SPEAKER OR IS THIS YOUR LAST TIME? LOOK TO THE FUTURE.

>> RIGHT, RIGHT. I REMEMBER THIS QUESTION THE LAST TIME. I'M CONCENTRATING ON THE RACE THAT I HAVE RIGHT NOW AND I'LL THINK ABOUT WHAT I'M GOING TO DO AFTER.

>> FAIR ENOUGH. HOUSE SPEAKER SHAP SMITH. THE NEW SESSION BEGINS IN JANUARY. AS ALWAYS, LAWMAKERS LOVE TO HEAR YOUR INPUT WHEN THEY ARE THERE. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR JOINING US, EVERYONE. HAVE A GREAT SUNDAY.

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