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Legislation session ends - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Legislation session ends

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

Next January, Vermont will have a new Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Senate President, and Speaker of the House,  a first in more than 50 years.

Yesterday, the current crop completed their final official work-day together.

17 months after the two-year biennium began, the race to adjournment is over 

Several key players are stepping away while others prepare to run for re-election.

With a 5.6 billion dollar budget, and tax and fee packages generating 50 million in new revenue secured despite objection from the Republican minority, the evening largely served as the backdrop for pomp and circumstance.

"There's no better legislature than the Vermont legislature, and I'm very proud to have been a part of it," says Washington County Senator Bill Doyle.

Senator Doyle celebrated his 90th birthday, and 47th year under the Golden Dome just before leaders delivered their final remarks of the two-year session.

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, seeking to become the next governor, leaves his Senate peers, but not before offering a few last pieces of advice.

"In these seats, we must remember, we are just caretakers here, carrying on the work of those who came before us and laying the ground work for those who will come next," says Scott.

House Speaker Shap Smith won't keep his post next year, though he isn't ruling out a run  to replace Scott as Lieutenant Governor.

Smith praised his colleagues for rising above the politcally-rancorous style infecting Washington D-C's legislative climate.

"All I ask as i leave this incredible body is that you retain the faith that motivates you to do the work that you do every day here," says Smith.

Leaders describe the 2nd half of the session as one full of important, if non-sexy issues, dealing with medicaid, a patch to the state's landmark school district consolidation bill from last year, and criminal justice reform ranging from security upgrades to sentencing reform.

 A pack of lawmakers escorted Gov. Peter Shumlin into a joint session for his final address to Senators and Representatives.

Speaking without a prompter, he rattled off a long list of accomplishments, dating back embracing health care reform in his first year, to a renewable energy siting reform package awaiting his signature following a deadline deal Friday.

"You should be proud of the fact that the work we've accomplished together is extraordinary, it will have a lasting impact for generations of Vermonters to come," says Shumlin.

Lawmakers emptied their desks before leaving their final mark on history.

Shumlin still has another seven months on the clock before Vermont's next Governor greets a new class of lawmakers next January.

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