YCQM January 12, 2019

BURLINGTON, Vt. Announcer: FROM WCAX, THIS IS
"YOU CAN QUOTE ME."
>> Darren: GOOD MORNING,
EVERYONE.
I'M DARREN PERRON.
RIGHT NOW A "YOU CAN QUOTE ME,"
THE GOVERNOR'S GOALS.
THE GOVERNOR MAKES HIS PITCH FOR
A BETTER VERMONT.
WHAT PHIL SCOTT WANTS AND WHAT
LAWMAKERS THINK ABOUT IT.
A PANEL OF JOURNALISTS JOIN ME
THIS MORNING TO DISCUSS THE TOP
STORIES OF THE LAST YEAR AND
WHAT THEY'LL BE WATCHING THIS
YEAR.
BUT WE BEGIN WITH THE GOVERNOR'S
INAUGURAL ADDRESS.
NO BIG SURPRISES FROM THE
GOVERNOR IN HIS SPEECH TO
VERMONT, WHICH STUCK TO FAMILIAR
THEMES OF UNITY AND
AFFORDABILITY.
CAT VIGLIENZONI BEGINS OUR
COVERAGE THIS MORNING.
>> Cat: GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT TOOK
THE OATH OF OFFICE THURSDAY,
OFFICIALLY MARKING HIS SECOND
TERM AS GOVERNOR.
HE BEGAN HIS ADDRESS BY CALLING
OUT NEGATIVITY IN NATIONAL
POLITICS AND POINTING TO THE
GOOD IN THE STATE OVER THE PAST
YEAR.
>> I TRULY BELIEVE THAT IN
VERMONT, WE CAN SET A STANDARD
OTHERS ACROSS THE NATION CAN
ASPIRE TO.
>> Cat: HE THEN PIVOTED,
POINTING OUT THE STATE'S
DECLINING POPULATION AND ITS
ECONOMIC RIPPLE EFFECT.
>> BUT A STAGNANT POPULATION IS
THREATENING EVERY SERVICE WE
DELIVER, EVERY PROGRAM WE
ADMINISTER, AND EVERY INVESTMENT
WE HOPE TO MAKE.
>> Cat: MAKING ANOTHER PITCH TO
KEEP COSTS AND TAXES DOWN.
>> IF WE WANT PEOPLE TO MOVE
HERE AND STAY, WE MUST MAKE IT
MORE AFFORDABLE.
>> Cat: IS GOVERNOR ALSO TALK
ABOUT HUMAN SERVICES
INITIATIVES, PITCHING INSURANCE
REFORM A VOLUNTARY PAID FAMILY
LEAVE PLAN, CHILDCARE, AND WATER
QUALITY FIXES.
AND CONTINUING TO TRANSFORM THE
STATE'S EDUCATION SYSTEM.
>> AND THE TRUTH IS, NOT ALL OF
THEM ARE GETTING EQUAL
OPPORTUNITIES.
>> Cat: EDUCATION AND HOW TO PAY
FOR IT PITTED THE GOVERNOR AND
LAWMAKERS AGAINST EACH OTHER
LAST SESSION, AND GOVERNOR SCOTT
ADMITTED THEY WILL LIKELY DEBATE
AGAIN.
>> I RECOGNIZE THAT CHANGE OF
THIS MAGNITUDE TAKES TIME.
>> Cat: ON THE ECONOMIC FRONT,
THE GOVERNOR ALSO PLEDGED NEW
BROADBAND INVESTMENTS AND
MODERNIZING ACT 250 TO HELP
PROMOTE GROWTH.
>> WE CAN AND MUST DO BOTH.
>> Cat: HE ALSO SAID HIS BUDGET
WILL INCLUDE MONEY FOR
AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND
ATTRACTING NEW WORKERS TO
VERMONT.
>> EVEN IF YOU BELIEVE VERMONT
IS PERFECT, IT'S CLEAR WE AREN'T
DOING ENOUGH TO PERSUADE PEOPLE
TO MOVE AND STAY HERE.
>> Cat: HE ENDED BY TOUTING HIS
RECORD AND CALLING FOR LAWMAKERS
TO COMMIT TO SETTING ASIDE
DIFFERENCES AND WORKING TOGETHER
TO MAKE CHANGE.
>> IT WASN'T ALWAYS EASY OR
COMFORTABLE, BUT HARD WORK, GOOD
WORK, IS RARELY EITHER OF THESE
THINGS.
>> Darren: WE EXAMINE THE
GOVERNOR'S SPEECH.
I'M JOINED NOW BY A PANEL OF
VERMONT JOURNALISTS.
CHANNEL 3'S NEAL GOSWAMI.
JANE LINDHOLM AND PETER
HIRSCHFELD FROM VPR.
APRIL McCULLUM FROM THE
BURLINGTON FREE PRESS, AND PAUL
HEINTZ FROM SEVEN DAYS.
THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING HERE
THIS MORNING.
REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR TIME.
SO LET'S GET RIGHT TO THE
GOVERNOR'S SPEECH.
A BIT SURPRISING, WITH A
SEEMINGLY SLIGHT MOVE ON PAID
FAMILY LEAVE, SOMETHING HE
VETOED BEFORE, BUT HERE'S THE
BUT, AND IT'S A BIG BUT.
HE'S CALLING THIS TO BE
VOLUNTARY PAID FAMILY LEAVE.
WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THIS?
DO YOU THINK LAWMAKERS WILL GO
ALONG WITH IT?
>> THEY ALMOST IMMEDIATELY SAID
THEY WOULD NOT GO ALONG WITH IT.
SENATOR TIM ASHE, THE PRESIDENT
PRO TEMPORE BASICALLY MADE THE
POINT THAT THINGS THAT ARE
VOLUNTARY AREN'T REAL.
YOU ACTUALLY NEED TO FORCE
PEOPLE TO TAKE PART IN IT,
OTHERWISE WILL THEY NEED THIS
BENEFIT.
I DON'T THINK THEY WILL GO ALONG
WITH IT AT ALL.
>> LAWMAKERS WENT DOWN THIS ROAD
LAST YEAR, WHICH YOU RECALL THEY
PASSED A PAID FAMILY LEAVE BILL
AND DURING THE PROCESS, THEY
VETTED THE OPTION OF MAKING IT
VOLUNTARY AND CAME TO THE
CONCLUSION THAT THAT WAS JUST
NOT GOING TO BE A VIABLE SYSTEM
IF THEY WENT THAT WAY.
PART OF THE REASON THEY WERE
LOOKING AT THE VOLUNTARY OPTION
IS BECAUSE IT WOULD HAVE GIVEN
THEM AN OPPORTUNITY TO FIND
CONSENSUS WITH PHIL SCOTT AND
AVOID THAT VETO THAT HE ISSUED
FOR THAT BILL LAST YEAR.
BUT EVEN IN THE FACE OF THAT
VETO, THEY SAID THIS ISN'T A
DIRECTION WE WANT TO MOVE.
IT'S HARD TO IMAGINE THEY CHANGE
THEIR MIND IN 2019.
>> IT DOES SEEM LIKE ONE AMONG
MANY THINGS THAT THE GOVERNOR IS
TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HIS
APPROACH ON.
SEEMS LIKE OVER THE LAST COUPLE
YEARS, HE'S TRYING TO FIGURE OUT
DIE COME OUT OF THE GATE WITH MY
PROPOSALS AND LET THE
LEGISLATURE SHOOT THEM DOWN?
DO I WAIT UNTIL THEY PROPOSE
THINGS AND TELL THEM I'M NOT
GOING FOR IT, OR FIND MIDDLE
GROUND THAT I'LL STEP HALFWAY
OVER IF YOU DO THIS.
THAT SEEMED TO BE WHAT HE DID
YESTERDAY.
>> WHAT I FOUND INTERESTING IN
THE PARTICIPATE LEAVE PROPOSAL
AND THE IDEA WAS HOW THE
REACTIONS WERE SOMEWHAT
DIFFERENT IN THE HOUSE AND THE
SENATE.
ONE TOLD US IT'S A POSITIVE
IDEA.
>> SHE'S COMING TO THE TABLE.
>> RIGHT, SHE THOUGHT THAT WAS A
POSITIVE STEP, MAYBE NOT A GIANT
LEAP, BUT AT LEAST A POSITIVE
STEP AND AS PAUL SAID, SENATOR
TIM ASHE IMMEDIATELY SHOT IT
DOWN AND SAID A VOLUNTEER
PROGRAM DOESN'T WORK.
I ASKED HIM IF A VOLUNTEER
PROGRAM DOESN'T WORK, IF PEOPLE
DON'T WANT TO BUY INTO THE
PROGRAM, DOES THAT SAY ANYTHING
ABOUT THE MERITS OF THE PROGRAM
AND HE SAID NO, IN SORT OF A BIG
GOVERNMENT VIEW, HE SAID PEOPLE
WILL UNDERSTAND ITS VALUE ONCE
THEY'RE FORCED TO BE A PART OF
IT.
THAT MIGHT BE AN INTERESTING
DEVELOPMENT MOVING FORWARD.
>> Darren: LET'S TAULK A LITTLE
BIT ABOUT -- TALK A LITTLE BIT
ABOUT THE FACT THAT LAWMAKERS
EXPECTED TO BRING UP 15 BUCKS AN
HOUR MINIMUM WAGE AGAIN.
APRIL, KICK US OFF HERE.
DO YOU THINK THIS IS GOING
ANYWHERE?
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS GOING TOS
THAT WITH IN THIS SESSION?
>> I THINK IT'S LIKELY TO PASS
AGAIN, PASS THE SENATE AND PASS
THE HOUSE AS IT DID LAST YEAR.
LAST YEAR THE GOVERNOR VETOED IT
AND IT WOULD HAVE BEEN STEPPING
VERMONT UP TO $15 AN HOUR BY THE
YEAR 2024 AND THE GOVERNOR WAS
CONCERNED ABOUT THE ECONOMIC
IMPACTS OF THAT AND THAT'S WHY
HE VETOED IT.
NOW THE NUMBERS ARE DIFFERENT
AND DEMOCRATS HAVE MORE STRENGTH
IN THE HOUSE, PARTICULARLY, AND
THEY COULD GO WITH THAT POLICY
WITH MORE LEVERAGE.
AND SO I GUESS WE'LL HAVE TO SEE
IF THE GOVERNOR IS WILLING TO
COMPROMISE ON THAT AS WELL AS HE
SEEMS TO MAYBE BE OPEN TO PAID
FAMILY LEAVE.
IT'S KIND OF TOO EARLY TO TELL
AT THIS POINT.
>> Darren: IS HIS HAND BEING
FORCED?
WE'RE TALKING ABOUT A SUPER
MAJORITY BASICALLY IF THE
PROGRESSIVES VOTE ALONGSIDE THE
DEMOCRATS ON THIS.
DO YOU THINK HIS HAND IS FORCED
HERE?
>> I DON'T THINK HIS HAND IS
FORCED AT ALL AND I THINK THE
$15-A-HOUR ISSUE IS ONE OF THE
ONES THAT DEMOCRATS ARE GOING TO
BE PARTICULARLY HARD-PRESSED TO
ACTUALLY EXERCISE THE POWER THAT
COMES WITH THAT VETO-PROOF
MAJORITY.
I'VE TALK WITH A NUMBER OF
FRESHMAN LEGISLATORS WHO ARE
GENERALLY PROGRESSIVE PEOPLE,
BUT THEY DIDN'T HEAR UNANIMOUS
SUPPORT FOR A $15-AN-HOUR WAGE
ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL AND WHILE
I THINK WE CAN EXPECT BOTH
BODIES TO GO THROUGH ANOTHER
FLOOR VOTE ON THIS BILL OR A
VARIATION THEREOF IN 2019, IT IS
FAR FROM CERTAIN WHETHER
DEMOCRATS AND PROGRESSIVES WILL
HAVE 100 VOTES IN THE HOUSE TO
OVERRIDE THE VETO.
>> I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO
NOTE, MAKE VERY CLEAR LIKE PETE
SAID, A VETO-PROOF MAJORITY IS
REALLY NOT A THING THAT EXISTS
FOR EVERY SINGLE ISSUE.
IT EXISTS ON PAPER, BUT EACH ONE
OF THESE ISSUES IS GOING TO COME
UP, THERE'S SUPPORTERS AND
OPPONENTS, PEOPLE ALONG THE
CONNECTICUT RIVER VALLEY, FOR
EXAMPLE, THAT ARE LESS INCLINED
TO GO AHEAD WITH A HIGHER
MINIMUM WAGE, AND SO EVERY
ISSUE, THE DEMOCRAT LEADERSHIP
IS GOING TO HAVE TO TRY TO WHIP
UP THOSE 100 VOTES.
I THINK BOTH SIDES, BOTH THE
LEGISLATURE AND THE GOVERNOR ARE
GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE SOME
PRETTY CAREFUL DECISIONS ABOUT
WHEN DIE REALLY FIGHT FOR MY
ISSUE -- WHEN DO I REALLY FIGHT
FOR MY ISSUES AND WHEN DO I LOOK
FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO COMPROMISE.
>> Darren: THE GOVERNOR USED
PART OF HIS SPEECH TO TALK ABOUT
EDUCATION INEQUALITY, SAYING A
STUDENT AT THIS SCHOOL IS NOT
GETTING THE SAME EDUCATION AS A
STUDENT AT THIS SCHOOL.
WHAT WAS HE SETTING UP HERE?
>> THAT'S ALWAYS A BIG QUESTION
WHEN IT COMES TO ED REFORM IDEAS
FROM THE GOVERNOR BECAUSE IT
DOES SEEM TO TAKE SEVERAL WEEK
AT MINIMUM TO GET AT WHAT HE'S
REALLY PROPOSING.
WE DON'T KNOW YET, BUT WHAT WE
DO KNOW IS THAT HE SPENT A LOT
OF TIME TRYING TO SORT OF LAY
OUT HIS CASE FOR FURTHER REFORM
EFFORTS.
DIDN'T GET VERY FAR IN HIS FIRST
TERM IN OFFICE, NOT SURE HOW FAR
HE'S GOING TO GET THIS YEAR, BUT
HE'S CLEARLY LAYING THE GROUND
WORK FOR WHAT I HOPE WILL BE
MORE SPECIFIC PROPOSALS IN THE
BUDGET ADDRESS ON THE 24th OF
JANUARY.
>> THE LINE THAT STUCK OUT THE
MOST TO ME AND THE PORTION OF
THE SPEECH THAT DEALT WITH
EDUCATION AND EDUCATION REFORM
AND INEQUALITY IN THE EDUCATION
SYSTEM WAS AT THE END OF THIS
NUMERATION OF ALL THE PROBLEMS
THAT EXISTED.
HE SAID, BUT I'VE HEARD YOU,
TALKING TO THE LEGISLATORS, AND
I UNDERSTAND THAT CHANGE OF THIS
MAGNITUDE TAKES TIME.
WE SAW HIM DURING HIS FIRST TERM
IN OFFICE COME OUT WITH THESE
MASSIVE OVERHAULS, PROPOSED
OVERHAULS FOR THE EDUCATION
SYSTEM.
THEY WENT OVER LIKE LEAD
BALLOONS IN MONTPELIER ALONG
DEMOCRATIC LAWMAKERS, AND SO I
THINK WE SEE FROM HIM AT THIS
EARLY STAGE SOME RECOGNITION
THAT A FUNDAMENTAL SHIFT OF THE
SCOPE AND SIZE THAT HE PROPOSED
DURING HIS FIRST TWO YEARS IN
OFFICE MAY NOT BE IN THE OFFING
FOR 2019.
>> AND HE'S PRETTY MUCH SAID
THAT, THAT THEY WON'T BE AS
BOLD.
HIS PROPOSALS WILL NOT BE AS
BOLD AS THEY WERE THE FIRST TWO
YEARS.
HE'LL BE NIBBLING AROUND THE
EDGES AND SETTING THE GROUND
WORK FOR EVEN BIGGER REFORMS IN
THE FUTURE IF HE CAN GET SOME
BUY-IN.
>> Darren: STATE LEADERS HAVE
SPENT YEARS TALKING ABOUT TRYING
TO CLEAN UP THE WATER IN
VERMONT, REALLY GETTING RID OF
BLUE GREEN ALGAE.
LAWMAKERS ARE EXPECTED TO PUSH
FOR FUNDING AGAIN.
THE GOVERNOR SAYS HE'S GOT A
PLAN, NONE OF US HAVE SEEN IT,
AND THE EPA IS WATCHING.
YOU THINK THE GOVERNOR WILL
FINALLY REVEAL WHAT TO DO?
NEAL, YOU BROUGHT UP THE
UPCOMING BUDGET ADDRESS.
DO YOU THINK WE'LL HEAR IN THE
BUDGET ADDRESS HIS PLAN TO PAY
FOR THIS?
>> HE REALLY HAS TO.
HE'S BEEN SAYING IT FOR MONTHS
NOW.
HE SKATED THROUGH THE ELECTION
SAYING I'LL HAVE IT IN MY
BUDGET.
IF HE DOESN'T, THAT BECOMES A
REAL BIG PROBLEM FOR THE
GOVERNOR AND HIS CREDIBILITY.
I PRESUME IT WILL BE THERE.
YOU KNOW, IN SPEAKING TO PEOPLE
INVOLVED IN THE EFFORT TO SHAPE
WHATEVER THIS PLAN IS, IT SEEMS
LIKE THE INITIAL IDEA HE TALKED
ABOUT ONE SINGLE -- EXISTING
REVENUE SOURCE MAY NOT HAVE
CREATED ALL OF THE REVENUE HE
NEEDED FOR THIS, AND IT MIGHT BE
A WORK IN PROGRESS RIGHT UP
UNTIL THE BUDGET IS PUT OUT.
>> AND WHAT DEMOCRATS ARE
LISTENING FOR, ALL LAWMAKERS IN
THAT BUDGET ADDRESS, IS WHAT IS
THAT MONEY GOING TO BE TAKEN
AWAY FROM.
WHAT PROGRAM WOULD NEED TO BE
CUT OR REDUCED OR, YOU KNOW,
FINE EFFICIENCIES SOMEHOW TO BE
ABLE TO PAY FOR THAT OBLIGATION
THE STATE HAS.
>> THE USE OF THE WORD EXISTING
WAS REVEALING BECAUSE IT MEANS
WE'RE TAKING THIS MONEY FROM
SOMEWHERE ELSE.
>> IT WOULD COME FROM EXISTING
REVENUES.
>> NO DOUBT DEMOCRATIC STATE
LEGISLATORS ARE GOING TO OPPOSE
THAT FROM THE GET-GO.
>> ONE THING I'VE HEARD FROM
OFFICIALS IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS
AND MONTHS IS THIS IDEA OF THE
ESTATE TAX, IF THAT'S SOMETHING
THEY'RE LOOKING AT.
THE ESTATE TAX ISN'T SOMETHING
THAT THE EXISTING BUDGET RELIES
ON A LOT BECAUSE IT'S AN
EXTREMELY INCONSISTENT REVENUE
SOURCE, RIGHT?
SOMETIMES A LOT OF RICH PEOPLE
DIE IN A GIVEN YEAR, SOMETIMES
THEY DON'T.
SO I THINK WE MAY SEE A PROPOSAL
THAT SAYS PAY -- WHATEVER ESTATE
TAX REVENUE DOES COME IN IN THE
OUT YEARS, LET'S CARVE THAT OUT
AND SAVE IT FOR WATER QUALITY.
MY GUESS IS THAT DEMOCRATIC
LAWMAKERS ARE NOT GOING TO FIND
THAT TO BE A SUITABLY CONSISTENT
WAY TO PAY FOR ALL THIS, BUT --
>> AND THE EPA IS ALSO KEEPING
AN EYE ON THIS.
THIS IS A FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
MANDATE TO CLEAN UP OUR
WATERWAYS, SO IF WE DON'T HAVE A
CONSISTENT REVENUE SOURCE, THE
FEDS ARE LIKELY -- ONCE THEY'RE
UNFURLOUGHED, LIKELY TO COME AT
THIS AS WELL.
>> DEFINITELY.
>> Darren: WEED BECAME LEGAL
LAST YEAR IN THE STATE OF
VERMONT.
STILL NO LEGAL WAY TO BUY IT,
THOUGH.
WILL LAWMAKERS PUSH THROUGH A
RETAIL MARK THIS YEAR?
WHAT DO YOU THINKS THINK?
>> I THINK THERE'S ALMOST NO
QUESTION IT WILL PASS.
THE QUESTION IS HOW MANY VOTES.
THERE ARE ADVOCATES FOR
LEGALIZATION THAT ARE SORT OF
TRACKING WHERE LAWMAKERS STAND,
AND THEY'VE POLLED ALL THE NEW
MEMBERS AND THEY BELIEVE BASED
ON THEIR PUBLIC STATEMENTS AND
PRIVATE STATEMENTS THAT THERE'S
MAYBE 90 OR SO VOTES FOR THAT IN
THE HOUSE.
IT'S A LOT DIFFERENT WHEN YOU
ACTUALLY HAVE TO CAST A VOTE.
THAT MAY NOT MATERIALIZE, BUT
THE PROSPECTS SEEM BETTER THAN
EVER THAT THE HOUSE WILL BE ABLE
TO PASS A RETAIL MARKET.
THE SENATE HAS BEEN DOING IT FOR
YEARS.
IT'S ALWAYS FALLEN APART IN THE
HOUSE AND IT'S NOT ONE PARTY OR
THE OTHER.
IT'S A MIX OF PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT
IT AND DON'T SUPPORT IT.
IT'S NOT A PARTISAN ISSUE, IT'S
MORE OF A PERSONAL FEELING ABOUT
THE TOPIC.
>> AND, YOU KNOW, PHIL SCOTT
OBVIOUSLY IS THE BIGGEST ROAD
BLOCK TO THIS RIGHT NOW, BUT
THERE'S BEEN SOME SLIGHT
EVOLUTIONS IN HIS MESSAGING ON
THIS ISSUE, AND I HAVEN'T HEARD
HIM SAY IN RECENT WEEKS, I'M
ABSOLUTELY GOING TO VETO THIS
BILL IF THEY PASS IT.
HE SAID HE WANTS A ROADSIDE TEST
TO DETERMINE MARIJUANA
IMPAIRMENT IN PLACE BEFORE
VERMONT MOVES FORWARD WITH TAX
AND REGULATE, BUT HE SAYS I'M
READY TO WORK WITH FOLKS AND SEE
WHAT WE CAN COME UP WITH THAT
DOES SATISFY MY CONCERN.
CERTAINLY HE'S VOICED SOME
OPPOSITION AND SKEPTICISM, BUT
MY SENSE IS THAT HE IS LEAVING
THE DOOR OPEN A LITTLE BIT TO
MOVE IN THIS DIRECTION.
>> AND IT'S BEEN A LONG-RUNNING
EVOLUTION IF YOU WANT TO CALL IT
THAT.
KEEP IN MIND, HE VETOED THAT
FIRST BILL TO LEGALIZE THE USE
OF POT AND THEN AFTER A FEW VERY
MINOR CHANGES WERE MADE, HE WENT
AHEAD AND SIGNED IT.
SO IT'S CLEARLY NOT AN ISSUE
THAT HE IS REALLY BEEN SET IN
STONE ON, SO I CAN SEE FURTHER
MOVEMENT.
>>.
>> Darren: WELL, THE QUESTION
BECOMES, DOES IT PASS THE HOUSE
WITH 98 VOTES OR 88 VOTES.
IF IT PASSES WITH 98 VOTES, THE
SPEAKER CAN TAKE A WALK AND
SHE'S GOT AN OVERRIDE.
IF IT PASSES WITH 80 VOTES, HE'S
GOING TO BE MORE EMBOLDENED TO
DO IT.
>> THE LAST THING THAT MAY HAVE
CHANGED IN THE INTERVENING TIME
BECAME WHEN MARIJUANA BECAME
LEGAL LAST SUMMER AND NOW, THE
GOVERNOR'S ADMINISTRATION HAS
HAD MORE TIME TO CONSIDER THE
OPTIONS ABOUT A RETAIL MARKET.
HIS MARIJUANA COMMISSION HAS
BEEN STUDYING IT, HE HAD SOME
SECRETARIES AND COMMISSIONERS
DEEPLY INVOLVED IN THAT WORK.
THEY MAY HAVE MORE INFORMATION
TO WORK WITH NOW AND THAT COULD
HELP INFORM HIS VIEW GOING
FORWARD.
>> IT'S IMPORTANT FOR ALL OF US
TO REMEMBER THAT VERMONTERS
RIGHT NOW HAVE ACCESS TO A TAX
AND REGULATE MARKET FOR
CANNABIS.
IT'S JUST NOT IN VERMONT.
YOU CAN GO A FEW MILES OVER THE
BORDER, CERTAINLY WILL WILL BE A
LOT MORE DISPENSARIES POPPING UP
IN MASSACHUSETTS IN SHORT ORDER,
SO THE QUESTION IS NOT WHETHER
OR NOT VERMONTERS ARE GOING TO
HAVE ACCESS TO RETAIL MARIJUANA,
IT'S WHETHER THEY HAVE ACCESS IN
THEIR HOME STATE.
>> Darren: AND WHETHER VERMONT
RECOUPS SOME REVENUE TO PAY FOR
EDUCATION PROGRAMS AND PUBLIC
SAFETY THINGS THEY WANT TO DO.
ACT 250 IS UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
AGAIN.
THE GOVERNOR WANTS TO REFORM THE
NEARLY 50-YEAR-OLD LAW.
IT WAS DESIGNED TO MITIGATE THE
EFFECTS OF BIG DEVELOPMENT,
NAMELY ENVIRONMENTAL AND
COMMUNITY IMPACTS.
IS THIS LAW GOING TO CHANGE?
>> THIS LAW MOST CERTAINLY IS
GOING TO CHANGE.
WE'VE SEEN A ACT 250 COMMISSION
WORKING OVER THE SUMMER.
THAT COMMISSION HAS COME OUT
WITH SOME RECOMMENDS
INDICATIONS.
I WAS INTERESTED IN THE
GOVERNOR'S SPEECH, THOUGH, HE
ALSO SAD I'LL BE PROPOSING SOME
MODERNIZATION REFORMS TO
ACT 250.
AGAIN, ONE OF THESE MARKS IN THE
SAND.
I'M GOING TO BE PUTTING
SOMETHING FORWARD, AND IT WAS
UNCLEAR TO ME WHETHER HE'LL BE
TAKING THESE CUES FROM THE
COMMISSION'S RECOMMENDATIONS OR
IF HE'S PLANNING TO DEPART FROM
THE RECOMMENDATIONS AND PUT
FORWARD HIS OWN.
>> MY GUESS IS HE'LL BE
TEMPERING SOME OF THE THINGS
THAT ARE IN THE COMMISSION'S
REPORT, LIKE THE CARBON NEUTRAL
DEVELOPMENT REQUIREMENTS AND
THINGS LIKE THAT.
>> RIGHT.
>> I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU GUYS
FEEL ABOUT THAT, BUT THINK IT'S
UNLIKELY THE GOVERNOR WILL GET
BEHIND THAT.
>> HE'S A GUY WHO WORK IN THE
CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY FOR ALL
HIS LIFE OR MOST OF HIS LIFE AND
HE HAS SPOKEN QUITE A BIT ABOUT
PERMANENT REFORM AND MAKING IT
EASIER TO DEVELOP.
SO ONE MIGHT IMAGINE THAT HE'D
HAVE DIFFERENT VIEWS ON THIS
THAN A BUNCH OF DEMOCRATIC
LEGISLATORS.
>> I THINK THAT WE'VE SEEN THE
GOVERNOR IN THE PAST TALK ABOUT
MAKING THE PROCESS MORE
EFFICIENT, EXPEDITING THE
ACT 250 PERMIT PROCESS AND HIS
ADMINISTRATION HAS MOVED TO TRY
TO REMOVE SOME REQUIREMENT FOR
PRIORITY HOUSING IN LIKE
DOWNTOWNS OR AREAS TO TRY TO
MAKE IT EASIER TO BUILD HOUSING.
IT COULD BE THAT HE JUST
CONTINUES ON THOSE LINES OR IT
COULD BE A MASSIVE OVERHAUL.
WE'LL HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE.
>> IT'S BEEN INTERESTING TO SEE,
THOUGH, I THINK THE NARRATIVE
OVER THE LAST TEN YEARS HAS BEEN
THE DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
DOESN'T LIKE ACT 250 AND WHAT
WE'VE BEEN HEARING THIS SUMMER
AND FALL IS THAT'S NOT EXACTLY
TRUE.
A LOT OF DEVELOPERS DO PRECIOUS
ACT 250, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE IT
KEEPS SOME LARGER DEVELOPERS
FROM OUT OF STATE CAMPING IN
VERMONT AND MAKING THESE BIG
DEVELOPMENTS.
I'LL BE INTERESTED TO SEE, TOO.
I THINK IT'S NOT A -- NOBODY IS
ASKING FOR A WHOLESALE
DEMOLITION OF ACT 250, BUT NIPS
THE DETAILS OF, YOU KNOW, HOW
EASY IS IT GOING TO BE TO
DEVELOP AND WHERE AND WHETHER
IT'S AN INCENTIVE FOR DOWNTOWNS
OR IT'S ACTUALLY RESTRICTING
WHERE PEOPLE CAN DEVELOP.
I THINK THAT'S WHERE SOME OF THE
RUB IS GOING TO COME IN.
>> Darren: MORE WITH MY
COLLEAGUES COMING UP NEXT.
>> Darren: GOVERNOR SCOTT SIGNED
NEW GUN CONTROL MEASURES INTO
LAW IN 2018 ON THE STATE HOUSE
STEPS.
AMONG OTHER THINGS, THE LAWS
INCREASE THE PURCHASE AGE TO 21,
BAN HIGH-CAPACITY MAGAZINE AND
BURCH STOCKS, AND MANDATE
BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR MOST GUN
SALES.
THE LAWS, WHICH RECEIVED
BIPARTISAN SUPPORT IN
MONTPELIER, CAUSED OUTRAGE AMONG
GUN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS.
NOW, IT WAS A TEENAGER'S PLOT TO
SHOOT UP FAIR HAVEN UNION HIGH
SCHOOL THAT SPARKED THE BILL'S
SIGNING AND NOW NEW CALLS FOR A
WAITING PERIOD ON FIREARMS
PURCHASES TO PREVENT IMPULSIVE
AKS OF GUN VIOLENCE.
AN ESSEX MAN KILLED HIMSELF IN
DECEMBER WITH A HANDGUN HE HAD
JUST PURCHASE.
HIS FAMILY SAYS A COOLING OFF
PERIOD COULD HAVE SAVED HIS
LIFE, BUT ARE LAWMAKERS READY TO
TAKE UP SUCH A DIVISIVE TOPIC
LIKE GUN REFORM AGAIN?
WHAT DO YOU GUYS THINK?
>> WELL, I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE
WOULD RATHER NOT TAKE IT UP, BUT
THERE'S CERTAIN SOME LEGISLATORS
WHO ARE INTENT ON DOING SO.
SENATOR PHIL BARUTH IS PROBABLY
ONE OF THE STRONGEST GUN CONTROL
SUPPORTERS IN THE LEGISLATURE,
HE WAS BEHIND MANY OF THE BILLS
PASSED LAST YEAR, HE'S MADE
CLEAR THAT HE'S GOING TO
INTRODUCE A BILL THAT WOULD
REQUIRE A 48-HOUR WAITING PERIOD
BEFORE SOMEONE CAN PURCHASE A
GUN.
AND INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, HE WAS
JUST NAMED TO THE SENATE
JUDICIARY COMMITTEE YESTERDAY
AND SO IT IS QUIE LIKELY THAT HE
WILL HAVE -- QUITE LIKELY THAT
HE WILL HAVE SOME SAY IN THAT
DEBATE.
I WOULD IMAGINE A LOT OF PEOPLE,
INCLUDING THE GOVERNOR, THE
GOVERNOR SAID THIS EXPLICITLY,
THAT HE'S NOT READY TO TAKE ON
ADDITIONAL LAWS AT THIS POINT.
>> I THINK WHAT WE'RE MORE
LIKELY TO SEE IS AN EXAMINATION
OF HOW THE LAWS THAT PASSED LAST
YEAR ARE WORKING AND WHETHER
SOME OF THOSE PROCESSES NEED TO
BE IMPROVED.
THINGS LIKE THE RED FLAG ORDERS
WHEN SOMEONE IS AT RISK OF
VIOLENCE AND THE PROCESS OF
REMOVING THOSE GUN IN THE
SITUATION.
I THINK THERE'S STILL QUESTIONS
THAT NEED TO BE ADDRESSED ABOUT
HOW THAT ACTUALLY WORKS AND HOW
POLICE ARE TRAINED IN DOING
THAT.
ALSO WITH DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
SITUATIONS, SIMILARLY, THERE'S
SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT
IMPLEMENTATION OF THOSE LAWS.
I THINK IF LAWMAKERS DO RETURN
TO THAT TOPIC, THAT'S ONE AREA
THEY COULD DEFINITELY LOOK AT
WITHOUT NECESSARILY GOING
FURTHER ON ADDITIONAL MEASURES.
>> BUT GUN CONTROL ELEVATE
ADVOCATED IN THE STATE, GUN
SAFETY ADVOCATES AS THEY CALL
THEMSELVES, DO FEEL NEWLY
EMBOLDENED BY WHAT HAPPENED LAST
YEAR.
WHILE WE MAY NOT SEE THE HEAVY
DEBATE ON GUN ISSUES IN 2019
THAT WE SAW LAST YEAR, I THINK
IT'S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME
BEFORE WE DO SEE A NEW PACKAGE
OF PROPOSALS COME THROUGH THE
STATE HOUSE WHERE LEGISLATIVE
LEADERSHIP IS READY TO SORT OF
PUT THEIR WEIGHT BEHIND IT, USE
SOME OF THEIR POLITICAL CAPITAL
TO GET THEM THROUGH.
LIKE PAUL WAS SAYING, DOESN'T
SOUND LIKE 2019 IS A YEAR WHEN
FOLKS ARE FEELING PARTICULARLY
INCLINED TO GO DOWN THAT ROAD,
BUT I DON'T THINK THAT MEANS WE
WON'T SEE SIMILAR PUSH NEXT YEAR
OR IN THE BIENNIUM AFTER.
>> AND IT'S NOT AS IF ANYONE
EXPECTED A YEAR AGO THAT THE
BILLS WOULD END UP GOING
THROUGH.
SOMETIMES THIS STUFF IS PROMPTED
BY EVENTS OUTSIDE OF ANYBODY'S
CONTROL IN THE STATE HOUSE.
>> Darren: LAWMAKERS WILL PICK A
NEW ADJUTANT GENERAL THIS YEAR
AND THE ELECTION COMES AT A TIME
OF CONTROVERSY.
ALLEGATIONS OF ALCOHOL ABUSE AND
HARASSMENT.
WILL LAWMAKERS LOOK INTO THIS,
AND REALLY, WHAT CAN THEY DO?
>> WELL, THE MAIN THING THAT
THEY CAN DO IS WHEN THEY'RE
SELECTING THE NEXT ADJUTANT
GENERAL, AS THEY'RE SCHEDULED TO
DO IN THE COMING WEEKS AND
MONTHS, THEY CAN ASK SOME PRETTY
TOUGH QUESTIONS OF THE
CANDIDATES FOR THAT POST.
THAT'S THEIR REAL POINT OF
LEVERAGE.
SOME HAVE ALSO SAID THEY'RE
GOING TO HOLD HEARINGS ON THE
ALLEGATIONS THAT ARE REPORTED
LATE LAST YEAR, SO I THINK
YOU'LL SEE A LOT OF DISCUSSION
ABOUT THAT.
I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE SOME
DISCUSSION ABOUT THE MANNER IN
WHICH THE STATE CHOOSES ITS
ADJUTANT GENERAL.
>> Darren: WE'RE THE ONLY STATE
AT THIS POINT THAT ELECTS
THROUGH THE LEGISLATURE OUR
ADJUTANT GENERAL.
>> EXACTLY, AND GOVERNOR SCOTT
HAS SAID HE OPPOSES THAT.
HE THINKS THE LEADER SHOULD BE
CHOSEN BY THE GOVERNOR.
AT A SENATE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS
THE OTHER DAY, THERE WAS PRETTY
ROBUST DISCUSSION ABOUT OTHER
POSSIBILITIES, OTHER WAYS THE
LEGISLATURE COULD CONSIDER THE
QUESTION, BUT MAYBE BE MORE
INFORMED ABOUT THE
QUALIFICATIONS SET, CERTAIN
MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR CANDIDATES
FOR THAT POST, BUT I THINK YOU
WILL SEE QUITE A BIT OF DEBATE
ABOUT ALL THOSE ISSUES THIS
YEAR.
>> ARE YOU HEARING ANY
SCUTTLEBUTT FROM LAWMAKERS ABOUT
THE REPORT IN V ST. DIGGER?
ANYBODY SAYING THIS IS SOMETHING
WE NEED TO ADDRESS?
>> YEAH, I THINK FOR A LOT OF
LEGISLATORS, IT REIGNITED
LONGSTANDING CONCERNS ABOUT
CULTURE CONCERNS IN THE VERMONT
GUARD AND THERE ARE ALSO A
DECENT NUMBER OF LAWMAKERS WHO
FEEL LIKE THE REPORTING WAS
IMPORTANT AND BROUGHT TO LIGHT
THINGS THAT NEEDED TO BE AIRED
OUT, BUT THAT HAVE A GENERAL
SENSE OF -- THEY BELIEVE IN THE
SOUNDNESS OF THE UNDERLYING
STRUCTURE THERE AND THAT WHILE
IT MAY BE IMPORTANT FOR THE
LEGISLATURE TO SERVE ITS
WATCHDOG ROLE, THEY FEEL
GENERALLY GOOD ABOUT HOW THINGS
ARE GOING.
SO THE QUESTION WILL BE, IF
PEOPLE HAVE REAL CONCERNS ABOUT
WHAT'S GOING ON THERE, ARE THEY
GOING TO BE ABLE TO USE THIS
LEGISLATIVE PROCESS TO INSINUATE
THAT BODY MORE IN OVERSIGHT OF
THE GUARD.
>> IT'S A TRICKY SITUATION
BECAUSE YOU'RE DEALING WITH A
LOT OF FEDERAL MILITARY POLICIES
AND WHERE THE STATE CAN WEIGH IN
AND WHAT THE STATE CAN DO WHEN
IT COMES TO THE MILITARY IS KIND
OF IN QUESTION, I THINK.
I THINK THE FOCUS MIGHT BE ON
HOW WE ELECT THE ADJUTANT
GENERAL AND WHAT QUESTIONS YOU
CAN ASK OF THEM AND GET ANSWERS
FROM THEM ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING
THERE DURING THAT PROCESS AS
OPPOSED TO TRYING TO REALLY USE
SOME OVERSIGHT AUTHORITY THAT
MAY NOT REALLY EXIST FOR
LAWMAKERS HERE.
>> I THINK IT WILL BE REALLY
INTERESTING TO SEE THE POOL THAT
EMERGES FOR THAT POSITION WHEN
IT'S TIME TO ELECT THAT NEW
ADJUTANT GENERAL AND I DON'T
HAVE A GOOD SENSE OF WHO THE
CANDIDATES MIGHT BE, IF THERE'S
A WOMAN AMONG THEM.
IF THERE'S SOMEONE THAT'S NOT ON
OUR RADAR CURRENTLY THAT COULD
BE THE NEXT ADJUTANT GENERAL.
>> Darren: THE VERMONT ATTORNEY
GENERAL SAYS HE'S ALMOST DONE
INVESTIGATING RACIAL HARASSMENT
ALLEGATIONS BY A FORMER STATE
REPRESENTATIVE.
KIAH MORRIS OF BENNINGTON
DROPPED HER RE-ELECTION BID LAST
FALL AND RESIGNED FROM THE
HOUSE, REPORTED THREAT MUCH
HARASSMENT TO AUTHORITIES.
MORRIS WAS THE ON-AFRICAN
AMERICAN WOMAN IN THE 150-MEMBER
VERMONT HOUSE.
THE A.G. SAYS THERE WAS
HARASSMENT, BUT IT'S UNCLEAR IF
IT RISES TO A CRIME.
HE'S EXPECTED TO RELEASE MORE
INFORMATION TOMORROW.
IN LIGHT OF THAT, DO YOU THINK
WE'RE GOING TO SEE ANY KIND OF
REFORM, ANY KIND OF BILLS PUT
FORWARD ABOUT RACIAL HARASSMENT
IN VERMONT?
>> DEFINITELY.
THERE ARE AT LEAST HALF A DOZEN
THAT SOME ADVOCATES PLAN TO PUT
FORWARD, INCLUDING ONES THAT
DEAL WITH CREATING ETHICS
STUDIES PROGRAMS FOR SCHOOLS.
THERE'S A CONSTITUTIONAL
AMENDMENT PROPOSED THAT WOULD
ELIMINATE REFERENCES TO SLAVERY
IN THE CONSTITUTION.
THERE'S SOME DISCUSSION OF
COMMISSION TO LOOKING AT
REPARATIONS FOR SLAVERY.
THERE'S A LOT OF DIFFERENT IDEAS
IN THE AIR.
I DON'T HAVE A GREAT SENSE AT
THIS POINT OF WHICH ONES ARE
GOING TO GAIN PURCHASE.
>> AND SPECIFIC TO KIAH MORRIS'S
EXPERIENCE, WE'LL HAVE TO SEE
WHAT THE A.G. REPORT SAYS.
IT COULD BE A VERY BROAD, IT
COULD LOOK AT A LOT OF DIFFERENT
AREAS, BUT THERE ARE SOME
DISCUSSIONS ABOUT WHETHER THE
STATE'S LAWS ARE SUFFICIENT TO
PROTECT PEOPLE FROM THE KIND OF
HARASSMENT SHE RECEIVED, MAYBE
SPECIFIC TO ONLINE OR THIS IDEA
OF CRIMINAL THREATENING, WHICH
IS RELATIVELY NEW CONCEPT IN
VERMONT LAW, WHETHER THAT NEEDS
TO BE ADJUSTED TO BE ABLE TO
PROTECT PEOPLE WHO FEEL LIKE
THEY'RE REALLY IN FEAR FOR THEIR
LIVES OR THEIR SAFETY, LIKE SHE
WAS, BUT MAYBE DON'T HAVE A
RECOURSE IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE
SYSTEM.
>> BEYOND WHAT HAPPENED
LEGISLATIVELY, I'M INTERESTED IN
THE ONGOING CULTURAL
CONVERSATION IN VERMONT.
I THINK VERMONTERS TYPICAL LIKE
THE WAY WE APPEAR TO THE OUTSIDE
WORLD AS FAIRLY PROGRESSIVE.
YES, OUR DEMOGRAPHICS SAY WE'RE
MOSTLY WHITE, BUT THAT'S NOT A
PROBLEM HERE, BUT WHEN AN ISSUE
LIKE THIS COMES TO THE FOREFRONT
AND BECOMES NATIONAL NEWS, I
HOPE IT CAUSES VERMONTERS TO
PAUSE AND THINK ABOUT WHAT'S
HAPPENING IN OUR COMMUNITIES AND
IN OUR CULTURE AND I DO HOPE
THAT CONVERSATION WILL CONTINUE
OUTSIDE THE LEGISLATURE THIS
YEAR AS PEOPLE REALLY LOOK AT
WHAT RACISM LOOKS LIKE IN THE
STATE OF VERMONT.
IF KIAH MORRIS SPURRED THAT, I
THINK THAT'S A GOOD CONVERSATION
FOR US TO BE HAVING.
>> Darren: VERY QUICKLY, BERNIE
SANDERS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT.
>> YES.
>> BERNIE SANDERS RUNNING FOR
PRESIDENT?
>> YES.
>> DON'T KNOW.
>> IF I HAD TO GUESS, I'D SAY
ABSOLUTELY YES, SIR.
>> I WOULD ALSO SAY YES.
>> Darren: THAT WILL DO IT FOR
US.
THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH.
ENJOYED THE CONVERSATION THIS
MORNING.
HOPE YOU DO, TOO.
TAKE CARE, EVERYBODY, WE'LL SEE
YOU SOON.
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