MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) Vermont lawmakers' hopes of ending the legislative session this week have been dashed.
House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, D-South Hero, says there are too many outstanding issues to wrap up on Saturday. Instead, Johnson says she expects lawmakers to work Friday and then return for a couple of days next week.
She says House and Senate negotiators need more time to resolve differences on the state budget and revenue bill. And there are about a dozen other bills being negotiated between the two chambers. So far,
"I don't think getting to adjourning by the weekend is possible given where some of the major issues, particularly, you know, the budget. The budget is the must pass," Johnson said.
One of the reasons for adding the extra time, lawmakers say, is their growing frustration with Gov. Phil Scott for not being clearer about which legislation he'll support.
Scott was very clear with lawmakers in his first term, telling them early on which bills he would reject if they reached his desk. This year the governor is taking a more laissez-faire approach. When asked about specific bills, he says he's willing to listen.
Johnson says lawmakers need more direction so they can work to finalize important bills and close out the legislative session. "Last year, the porridge was a little too hot, when in March he was giving a list of bills he was gonna veto before those bills were ever even out of committee and finalized. This year the porridge is a little too cold with him saying, 'I'm gonna wait and see on everything,'" she said.
Scott Thursday said the House and Senate need to iron out their own differences before he'll weigh in. "There's a lot of difference between the House and the Senate. This isn't just about the differences between the legislature and the adminstration or me. They need to work out their differences first and then I have something to react to," he said.