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YCQM: January 12, 2020

(WCAX)
Published: Jan. 12, 2020 at 2:45 PM EST
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>> THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

I'M CAT VIGLIENZONI IN FOR DARREN PERRON.

WE'RE RECAPPING A WILD WEEK AT THE STATE HOUSE, THE LEGISLATURE BACK TO WORK.

WHAT LEADERS IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE ARE SAYING ABOUT THEIR PRIORITIES AND WHAT A NEW SESSION COULD MEAN FOR A LEGAL MARKET FOR MARIJUANA.

PLUS IS VERMONT'S LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR RUNNING FOR THE STATE'S TOP SPOT?

REPORTS SAY DAVID ZUCKER MAN WILL THROW HIS HAT IN THE RACE.

AND PROMISES AND PROTESTS, GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT DELIVERS THIS IS 2020 STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS AND THAT'S WHERE WE BEGIN THIS MORNING.

REPUBLICAN PHIL SCOTT OUTLINING HIS VISION AND CONCERNS FOR THE STATE.

HIGHLIGHTING VERMONTERS WHO HAVE DONE GOOD WORK IN THEIR COMMUNITIES, AND ALSO WARNING OF A DIRE DEMOGRAPHIC DECLINE.

>> HERE'S MY BIGGEST CONCERN.

TODAY IN VERMONT THERE ARE ABOUT 55,000 FEWER PEOPLE UNDER THE AGE OF 45, AND 44,000 MORE OVER THE AGE OF 65 THAN THERE WERE IN THE YEAR 2000.

FOR YEARS WE HAD MORE DEATHS THAN BIRTHS, AND HAVE SEEN MORE PEOPLE MOVE OUT OF VERMONT THAN IN.

AND THE IMPACT IS NOT THE SAME IN EVERY COMMUNITY.

WE HAVE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE REAL AND GROWING ECONOMIC DISPARITY FROM REGION TO REGION.

THINK ABOUT THIS.

OF THE FIVE TOWNS THAT HAVE SEEN THE MOST GROWTH IN RECENT YEARS, FOUR OF THEM ARE IN CHIT EN DON AND IN THE PAST THREE YEARS ONLY THROUGH COUNTIES HAVE ADDED WORKERS.

THE OTHER ELEVEN HAVE LOST A TOTAL OF ABOUT 18,000.

18,000.

THAT'S MORE THAN THE POPULATION OF NEARLY EVERY TOWN OR CITY IN VERMONT.

OF THE 180 LEGISLATORS IN THIS ROOM, 106 OF YOU COME FROM COUNTIES THAT HAVE LOST WORKERS.

MY FRIENDS, THIS IS WHAT A DEMOGRAPHIC CRISIS LOOKS LIKE.

IN TOO MANY PLACES AND IN THE LIVES OF TOO MANY VERMONTERS, I SEE AND FEEL THE EMOTIONAL AND FINANCIAL TOLL OF POLICIES BUILT FOR A FEW AREAS IN THE STATE THAT CAN AFFORD THEM WHEN THE REST OF THE STATE CANNOT.

THAT'S WHY I HAD AN OPEN MIND WHEN THE SENATE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE HAD AN IDEA THAT'S PAID OFF.

THEY SAID REMOTE WORKERS CAN WORK FROM ANYWHERE, SO LET'S GIVE THEM AN INCENTIVE TO WORK AND LIVE HERE IN VERMONT.

SINCE THEN, WE'VE RECEIVED WORLDWIDE ATTENTION.

MORE THAN $7 MILLION IN FREE ADVERTISING, THOUSANDS OF INQUIRIES, AND RELOCATED 371 PEOPLE TO MORE THAN 68 COMMUNITIES ACROSS 13 COUNTIES.

FOR A ONE-TIME INVESTMENT OF $500,000, BASED ON VERMONT'S AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD INCOME OF ABOUT $75,000.

WE PROJECT A RETURN ON THIS INVESTMENT OF OVER $1 MILLION OF TAX REVENUE EACH YEAR.

TOGETHER, WE'VE INCREASED STATE FUNDING FOR CHILD CARE BY ABOUT $10 MILLION, AND INVESTED 5 MILLION MORE IN HIGHER ED.

AND WE'VE ADDED NEARLY 1.5 MILLION FOR CAREER AND TRADES TRAINING.

BUT HERE TOO WE MUST MOVE MORE QUICKLY.

THE DISPARITY FROM SCHOOL TO SCHOOL AND DISTRICT TO DISTRICT IS A GROWING PROBLEM.

IT'S UNFAIR TO TAXPAYERS, AND FUNDAMENTALLY UNFAIR TO OUR KIDS FOR THEIR EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES TO BE DETERMINED BY WHERE THEY LIVE.

WE NEED TO BE HONEST.

COSTS ARE RISING.

YET OPPORTUNITIES FOR TOO MANY KIDS ARE DECLINING IN TOO MANY PARTS OF THE STATE.

AND SO IS STUDENT PERFORMANCE IN AREAS LIKE READING AND MATH.

REVERSING THIS TREND HAS BEEN THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND EACH OF MY EDUCATION PROPOSALS.

AND THIS YEAR MY BUDGET WILL ONCE AGAIN INCREASE INVESTMENT IN THE CRADLE TO CAREER CONTINUUM.

IN ADDITION, I PROPOSE TO YOU TODAY THAT WE BEGIN CREATING A UNIVERSAL AFTER SCHOOL NETWORK THAT ENSURES EVERY CHILD HAS ACCESS TO ENRICHMENT OPPORTUNITIES OUTSIDE OF CURRENT CLASSROOM TIME.

AND TO ALIGN THE STUDENT'S DAY WITH THE LENGTH OF THE WORK DAY.

WE KNOW ABOUT HALF OF THE EMISSIONS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO CLIMATE CHANGE COME FROM TRANSPORTATION.

THAT'S WHY WE'VE ALSO WORKED TOGETHER TO MAKE IT MORE AFFORDABLE TO PURCHASE ELECTRIC VEHICLES AND I'M PLEASED TO REPORT WE'RE MAKING PROGRESS.

IN ADDITION TO THE PRIVATELY FUNDED CHARGING STATIONS BEING INSTALLED ACROSS THE STATE, WE'VE INVESTED OVER $1 MILLION IN CHARGING EQUIPMENT.

AND WITH INVESTMENTS TRUE THE VOLKSWAGEN SETTLEMENT WE EXPECT TO NEARLY TRIPLE THE NUMBER OF STATE FUNDED CHARGING STATIONS BY THE END OF 2020.

AND TO MAKE E.V.'S MORE AFFORDABLE TO LOW AND MODERATE INCOME VERMONTERS WE PROVIDED $1 MILLION IN PURCHASING INCENTIVES.

I'LL ALSO PROPOSE A PACKAGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORMS THAT WE SHARE WITH MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE.

WE'LL LOOK AT LITTLE THINGS THAT MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.

LIKE WAIVING LICENSE REINSTATEMENT FEES FOR SUSPENDED DRIVERS.

AND WE'LL ALSO INCLUDE BIGGER CHANGES LIKE MANDATORY MINIMUMS FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND A PROVISION TO ADDRESS THE LOOPHOLE THAT HAS ALLOWED VIOLENT MENTALLY ILL OFFENDERS TO GO FREE.

AS WE CONTINUE TO CREATE A MORE EFFECTIVE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM WE MUST REMEMBER THAT JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS AND ACCOUNTANT FOR CRIMINALS MUST BE TOP PRIORITIES.

OUR CHALLENGES ARE CLEAR.

CAN WE WORK TOGETHER?

CAN WE BE DIVIDED BILL OUR SHARED PRINCIPLES AND COMMON VALUES?

CAN WE RECLAIM THE MIDDLE, WHERE PARTISANSHIP CAN'T SURVIVE, BUT WE STRIVE FOR CONSENSUS AND CELEBRATE COMPROMISE.

MY FELLOW VERMONTERS, THE ANSWER TO THESE QUESTIONS AND THE SOLUTIONS WE SEEK, THE COURSE WE HOPE TO SET AND THE CHANGE WE NEED TO MAKE IS IN OUR HANDS.

IF OUR SENSE OF SERVICE AND DUTY IS STRONG, IF OUR COMMITMENT TO OUR NEIGHBORS IS UNWAVERING, AND IF WE REMEMBER THAT WE ARE ALL PART OF SOMETHING BIGGER THAN OURSELVES, THEN THE STATE OF THE STATE, OUR FUTURE AND OUR PEOPLE, WILL BE STRONGER THAN EVER BEFORE.

THANK YOU.

[APPLAUSE]

>> SO AFTER HIS SPEECH WE CAUGHT UP WITH ONE OF THE CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR, REBECCA HOLCOMBE, SHE'S RUNNING AS A DEMOCRAT.

WE ASKED HER WHAT SHE THOUGHT OF THE GOVERNOR'S MESSAGE THERE.

>> ONE OF THE CONCERNS I HAD, I THOUGHT IT WAS WONDERFUL HE STARTED OFF BY TALKING ABOUT CHARITY, TALKING ABOUT HOW VERMONTERS STEP UP TO TAKE CARE OF NEIGHBORS, FOR EXAMPLE.

BUT HERE'S THE PROBLEM, WE CAN'T DEPEND ON CHARITY TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS LIKE HUNGER AND SOLVE PROBLEMS LIKE THE FACT THAT MANY VERMONTERS CAN'T AFFORD THE FOOD THEY NEED.

WHAT WE NEED IS A PLAN, A REAL SOLUTION FOR HOW WE'RE GOING TO MEET THE NEEDS OF VERMONTERS ACROSS THE STATE WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH INCREASES IN HEALTH CARE COSTS, STRUGGLING WITH HOUSING PRICES THAT ARE GOING THROUGH THE ROOF.

SO THAT THEY TOO CAN FEEL LIKE THEY'RE OKAY IN THIS ECONOMY, ESPECIALLY GIVEN THAT THEIR WAGES ARE STAGNANT.

WHAT WE NEED AND WHAT I WORRY ABOUT IS THIS IS THE SAME THING THAT'S HAPPENED FOR THREE YEARS, AND IT'S STARTING TO FEEL LIKE THE RESTAURANT OWNER WHO STANDS OUTSIDE HIS RESTAURANT COMPLAINING ABOUT THE QUALITY OF --

AND WONDERS WHY NO ONE COMES IN TO EAT.

SO IF WE DON'T HAVE SOLUTIONS TO PROVIDE GOOD OPPORTUNITIES AND PEOPLE CAN WORK FULL-TIME AND HAVE JOBS THAT ALLOW THEM TO PAY THE BILLS, WE CAN'T EXPECT PEOPLE TO MOVE HERE AND HAVE THAT BE ENOUGH TO GREAT THE FUTURE THAT ALL VERMONTERS WANT.

>> THE OTHER HEADLINE OUT OF THE STATE OF THE STATE WERE THE PROTESTS THAT HALTED IT FOR ABOUT 20 MINUTES.

THE GOVERNOR'S SPEECH WAS INTERRUPTED, I WAS THERE AS IT WAS HAPPENING AND THEY TED THEY DID NOT FEEL LIKE GOVERNOR SCOTT WAS TAKING THE ISSUE OF CLIMATE CHANGE SERIOUSLY AND SAID THEY FELT THIS WAS HOW THEY NEEDED TO BE HEARD.

ONLY A MINUTE INTO THE GOVERNOR'S STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS AND PROTESTERS WITH EXTINCTION REBELLION HIJACKED HIS SPEECH, DEMANDING ACTION ON A NUMBER OF ISSUES, CHIEF AMONG THEM CLIMATE CHANGE.

AFTER SEVERAL MINUTES THE GOVERNOR AND LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR CONFERRED AND ORDERED THE SERGEANT AT ARMS TO RESTORE ORDER.

16 PROTESTERS WERE LED OUT AND DETAINED BY POLICE, INCLUDING ISABEL ESTRON.

DO YOU THINK THAT WAS A PRODUCTIVE WAY TO GET A CONVERSATION STARTED RTZ I THINK TO GET?

>> I THINK TO GET A CONVERSATION STARTED, DEFINITELY.

WE MAYBE COULD HAVE BEEN MORE DISRUPTIVE, BUT IT'S A GOOD WAY TO GET PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT IT.

>> SOME OF THE PROTESTERS SAID THEY EXPECTED TO WAIT THERE UNTIL THEY WERE DETAINED, OTHERS LEFT THE CHAMBER ON THEIR OWN.

THE GOVERNOR REPEATEDLY ASKED FOR YOU TO LISTEN TO HIM AND HIS SPEECH.

WHY CONTINUE GOING ON AFTER THAT?

>> WELL, THE GOVERNOR HASN'T BEEN LISTENING TO THE CRIES OF OUR YOUTH HERE IN VERMONT OR FOREVER SINCE HE'S BEEN GOVERNOR.

SO WE FELT THAT IF HE'S NOT GOING TO LISTEN TO US, THEN WE'RE GOING TO KEEP TALKING TO HIM UNTIL HE STARTS PAYING ATTENTION.

>> TOLD POLICE SAY THEY WAITED UNTIL THEY GOT THE ORDER TO INTERVENE.

>> WE ARE SOMEWHAT USED TO IT AND QUITE FRANKLY THE PROTESTERS ARE SOMEWHAT USED TO THE PROCESS AS WELL.

>> THE PROTEST INSIDE FOLLOWED A DEMONSTRATION OUTSIDE ON THE STATE HOUSE STEPS AT NOON, WHERE COSTUMED FIGURES WARNED OF IMPENDING CLIMATE DOOM, AND SAID THEY'LL AMP UP THE ACTION UNTIL GOVERNOR SCOTT MEETS THEIR DEMANDS.

>> WE WANT TO HEAR THESE THINGS.

IF WE DON'T, WE WILL STILL BE ESCALATING ACTIONS TO MAKE SURE THAT HE HEARS OUR MESSAGE.

>> OF THE 16 DETAINED, ONLY ONE PERSON WAS ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH DISORDERLY CONDUCT FOR AN INCIDENT POLICE SAY HAPPENED AFTER HE WAS ESCORTED FROM THE HOUSE CHAMBER.

GOVERNOR SCOTT IN HIS SPEECH DID MENTION GETTING MORE ELECTRIC CARS ON THE ROAD, BUT PROTESTERS SAY THAT'S NOT ENOUGH.

THEY WANT TO SEE MORE ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE, MORE EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS ON THE CLIMATE CRISIS, THEY ALSO WANT LAWMAKERS TO TELL WHAT THEY BELIEVE IS THE TRUTH ABOUT THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY, AND THEY ALSO WANT THE VOICES OF VULNERABLE PEOPLE TO BE HEARD THROUGH THAT PROCESS.

SOME OF THE PROTESTERS WERE YOUNG PEOPLE WHO TOLD ME THEY'RE FRUSTRATED BY CLIMATE CHANGE AND WORRIED FOR THE WORLD THAT THEY WILL INHERIT.

>> I HEARD THAT THERE WAS GOING TO BE SOME ACTION AT THE STATE HOUSE, AND OUTSIDE AT THE RALLY, AND I JUST WANTED TO COME UP AND SHOW MY SUPPORT HERE TODAY.

>> WHY IS THE MESSAGE THERE IMPORTANT TO YOU?

>> BECAUSE THERE'S SO MUCH SCIENCE SAYING THAT THIS IS THE LAST OF YEARS WE HAVE TO ENSURE OUR FUTURE, AND WE HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO SAY IN THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS, WE CAN'T VOTE, WE CAN'T ELECT PEOPLE, WE DON'T HAVE REPRESENTATIVES IN THERE.

SO ONE OF THE ONLY WAYS WE CAN ACTUALLY RAISE OUR VOICES IS DISRUPTIVELY.

>> DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WERE HEARD TODAY?

>> I FEEL LIKE WE WERE ABLE TO MAKE OUR MESSAGE CLEAR.

HOWEVER, IT WAS A LITTLE BIT DISRUPTIVE, BUT THE RALLY OUTSIDE WAS VERY SUCCESSFUL IN SHOWING THE SUPPORT FOR CLIMATE ACTION.

>> AND FOR YOU, IS IT INTIMIDATING TO COME INTO THE STATE HOUSE AND CALL THE DISRUPTION?

>> IT DEFINITELY CAN BE INTIMIDATING FOR SOME PEOPLE, BUT I ALSO THINK THAT IT'S SUPER IMPORTANT.

>> OF COURSE PROTESTS AT THE STATE HOUSE ARE NOT SOMETHING NEW EVEN IN THE STATE OF THE STATE. SO WE ASKED THE HOUSE AND SENATE LEADERS WHAT THEY THOUGHT OF THE DISRUPTION.

HERE'S HOUSE SPEAKER JOHNSON AND SENATE PRESIDENT PRO TEM TIM ASH.

>> THEY WILL BE LISK WITH THE EFFECTS OF OUR ACTIONS AND THE ACTIONS OF OUR PREDECESSORS LONG AFTER WE'RE HERE.

I APPRECIATE THAT WHAT WE'RE SEEING IS REALLY THE RESULT OF FEAR AND ANXIETY ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS COMING AT US.

>> I THINK THAT THE GOVERNOR KNEW THAT THERE WOULD BE PROTESTS IN THE CHAMBER, AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT TYPE OF PLANNING WENT INTO IT BECAUSE I WASN'T INCLUDED IN THAT.

IT'S ALWAYS A CHALLENGE, PEOPLE HAVE THE RIGHT TO PROTEST, THEY CHOSE THEIR MANNER AND I'LL LET PEOPLE JUDGE FOR THEMSELVES WHETHER IT WAS EFFECTIVE.

>> MORE POLITICAL COVERAGE STILL TO COME ON "YOU CAN QUOTE ME."

BUT THE CHANNEL 3 NEWS SUNDAY MORNING DOES FOLLOW US AT 8:00 A.M. AND SCOTT FLEISCHMAN HAS A QUICK LOOK AT WHAT'S COMING UP.

>> STORIES INCLUDING A BIG VOTE IN NEWPORT ON TUESDAY, RESIDENTS WILL HAVE THEIR SAY ON WHETHER THE STREETS SHOULD BE OPEN TO ATV TRAFFIC.

PLUS A SALON OPENS UP TO GIVE HAIRCUTS TO THE HOMELESS.

AND RAIN AND WIND THREATENING TO DO DAMAGE IN OUR AREA.

WE'LL SEE YOU AT THE TOP OF THE HOUR.

>> THANK YOU, SCOTT.

STILL AHEAD, VERMONT LAWMAKERS OUTLINE THEIR TOP PRIORITIES FOR THIS NEW SESSION, AND VERMONT'S LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WILL REPORTEDLY CHALLENGE GOVERNOR SCOTT FOR THE STATE'S TOP POLITICAL OFFICE, WHAT HE TOLD US ABOUT A POTENTIAL RUN, NEXT.

>> WELCOME BACK.

CONTINUING OUR POLITICAL COVERAGE THIS MORNING, THE OTHER BIG NEWS OUT OF THE STATE HOUSE THIS WEEK WAS THAT VERMONT'S LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR COULD BE RUNNING FOR THE STATE'S TOP POLITICAL OFFICE.

DATED ZUCKERMAN AGING --

ACKNOWLEDGING RUMORS.

IF HE ENTERS HE WOULD BE THE MOST HIGH PROFILE CANDIDATE TO CHALLENGE GOVERNOR SCOTT.

I ASKED A LONG-TIME POLITICAL ANALYST FOR HIS TAKE ON THE FIELD OF CANDIDATES SO FAR.

ARE YOU RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR?

>> WELL, I'M SERIOUSLY CONSIDERING IT.

>> THAT WAS AS CLOSE AS DAVID ZUCKERMAN WOULD COME TO REPORTS THAT HE'S SEEKING THE STATE'S TOP POLITICAL OFFICE.

HE SAID THIS WEEK IS ABOUT THE LEGISLATURE.

>> THIS RUMOR GOT FLYING, BURR I'LL BE TALKING ABOUT IT NEXT WEEK.

>> IF HE DOES THROW HIS HAT IN THE RING, HE WILL LIKELY BE THE LAST MAJOR PLAYER TO DO SO, ACCORDING TO CHRIS GRAF.

>> IT'S ACTUALLY LATE IN THE POLITICAL SEASON.

>> THE DEMOCRATIC FIELD ALREADY HAS ONE MAJOR CHALLENGER, FORMER EDUCATION SECRETARY REBECCA HOLCOMBE, AND THERE'S BEEN RUMORS THAT VERMONT ATTORNEY GENERAL TJ DONOVAN IS ALSO CONSIDERING A RUN.

DONOVAN TOLD US TUESDAY HE HASN'T MADE A DECISION YET.

BUT GRAF SAYS IF ZUCKERMAN JOINS THE FIELD, IT'S UNLIKELY ANY OTHER MAJOR PLAYERS WILL.

>> I THINK THEY PROBABLY KNOW ALREADY THAT THEY'VE DECIDED THAT DAVID ZUCKERMAN'S YEAR IS THIS YEAR.

>> WHILE GOVERNOR SCOTT HAS NOT FORMALLY ANNOUNCED HIS BID FOR ANOTHER TERM, HE ALMOST CERTAINLY WILL.

>> ANY CHALLENGER STARTS WITH A BIG UPHILL.

IT IS A REALLY TOUGH BATTLE TO WIN AGAINST AN INCUMBENT IN VERMONT, IT HASN'T HAPPENED IN 58 YEARS.

>> YOU THINK GOVERNOR SCOTT IS A TOUGH CANDIDATE TO BEAT?

>> I THINK THERE'S NO DOUBT.

THE COMMON THOUGHT WOULD BE AN INCUMBENT GOVERNOR HASN'T BEEN BEAT IN 50 ODD YEARS, AND I THINK WHETHER IT'S REBECCA HOLCOMBE, T.J. DONOVAN, MYSELF OR SOMEONE ELSE, IT WILL BE AN UPHILL DISCUSSION FOR SURE.

>> ZUCKERMAN IF HE CHOOSES TO RUN IS TAKING A RISK.

IF HE DOES NOT UNSEAT GOVERNOR SCOTT, HE WILL LOSE THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR SPOT AS WELL.

IT'S LIKELY THAT HE'S COUNTING ON A NATIONAL WAVE AGAINST PRESIDENT TRUMP TO BRING OUT MORE DEMOCRATIC VOTERS HERE.

WHILE THAT MAKES SENSE ON PAPER, HISTORY HAS NOT SHOWN THAT TO HAPPEN BECAUSE VERMONT VOTERS TEND TO STRAIGHT THEIR NATURAL AND LOCAL POLITICS.

HE SAID WHICH EVER CANDIDATE GETS THE NOMINATION, THEY'LL NEED TO FOCUS ON MATTERS THAT MATTER TO VERMONTERS.

AND I ASKED REBECCA HOLCOMBE WHEN SHE THOUGHT OF POTENTIAL COMPETITION FROM THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR ON THE DEMOCRATIC TICKET.

>> I THINK IT'S GREAT.

IT GIVES US A WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE A ROBUST DEBATE ABOUT DEMOCRATIC IDEALS.

WE'VE HEARD THREE YEARS NOW OF ONE VISION HOW TO MAKE VERMONT THE STATE WE WANT, I THINK WE'LL PUT SOME STRONG DEMOCRATIC IDEAS ON THE TABLE.

>> ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT NAME RECOGNITION?

>> I THINK I HAVE PRETTY GOOD NAME RECOGNITION.

I SERVED AS SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, I'VE BEEN TO EVERY COMMUNITY, I'VE BEEN VERY GRATEFUL TO VERMONTERS ALL OVER THE STATE WHO ARE INVITING ME INTO THEIR HOMES TO MEET THEM AND THEIR NEIGHBORS.

IT'S BEEN INCREDIBLY POWERFUL.

>> WE'RE EXPECTING TO HEAR MORE FROM ZUCKERMAN THIS COMING WEEK.

NEXT ON "YOU CAN QUOTE ME," LAWMAKERS ARE BACK AT WORK AND ONE OF THE ISSUES THEY WILL LIKELY TAKE UP, A MARIJUANA MAKE.

NEXT CALVIN CUTLER BRINGS US UP TO SPEED ON THE EFFORT TO MAKE BUYING AND SELLING POT LEGAL.

>> THE VERMONT LEGISLATURE ALSO WENT BACK TO WORK THIS PAST WEEK.

THE 2020 SESSION KICKING OFF WITH MAJORITY DEMOCRATS PUSHING AN AMBITIOUS AGENDA INCLUDING SEVERAL ISSUES THAT FAILED TO BECOME LAW LAST YEAR.

DEMOCRATIC LAWMAKERS IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE TOLD US THEY ARE OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THIS COMING SESSION AND THEIR ABILITY TO WORK TOGETHER.

FIRST LET'S BREAK DOWN SOME OF THEIR PRIORITIES AND SOME OF THE UNFINISHED BUSINESS FROM THE LAST SESSION.

AT THE TOP OF THE LIST, RAISING MINIMUM WAGE AND MAKING SURE WORKERS GET FADE WHEN THEY TAKE FAMILY LEAVE.

DEMOCRATS WANT TO CREATE A LEGAL MARKET FOR MARIJUANA, MORE ON THAT IN A MOMENT.

CLIMATE CHANGE IS ALSO EXPECTED TO BE A HOT TOPIC, ALONG WITH PRISON REFORM AND NEW REGULATIONS FOR VAPING AND GUNS.

SPEAKER JOHNSON CHALLENGED HOUSE TO TAKE ACTION.

CALVIN CUTLER TAKES US INSIDE THE STATE HOUSE.

>> REPORTER: HOUSE SPEAKER JOHNSON CALLING THE LEGISLATURE TO ORDER AND OUTLINING HER PRIORITIES FOR THE SESSION, STARTING WITH BOLSTERING THE ECONOMY AND WORK FORCE.

>> WE NEED TO DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO ENCOURAGE MORE VERMONTERS TO STAY AND PERFECT SWALED MORE PEOPLE TO --

PERSUADE MORE PEOPLE TO MAKE VERMONT THEIR ADOPTED HOME.

>> REPORTER: THEY'RE SET TO DEBATE A PAID FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE BILL, AND A BILL RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE TO $15 AN HOUR.

THEY WILL ALSO LOOK AT PRISON REFORM, SPURRED BY ALLEGATIONS OF WIDESPREAD DRUG AND SEX ABUSE WITHIN VERMONT'S ONLY WOMEN'S PRISON.

LAWMAKERS WANT TO DRUG TEST GUARDS AND CRACK DOWN ON INMATE GUARD RELATIONSHIPS.

>> I AGREE WE NEED STRONGER SANCTIONS FOR THAT BEHAVIOR IN SOME FORM, IT MIGHT BE THROUGH STATUTORY CHANGES OR OTHER DISCIPLINARY FORMS.

>> REPORTER: THE HOUSE IS WELCOMING TWO NEW LAWMAKERS, CHRISTY MORRIS WILL SUCCEED THE SENATOR WHO ARE PASSED AWAY LAST SPRING.

PETER REED WAS APPOINTED BY GOVERNOR SCOTT TO FILL A SET --

>> THAT HAS GIVEN ME DECENT BACK GROUND ON HEALTH CARE, BUT I'VE ALSO BEEN INVOLVED IN A LOT OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STUFF. SO I HOPE THAT WILL HELP ME IN THE PROCESS HERE.

>> THAT WAS CALVIN CUTLER REPORTING FOR US.

DEMOCRATS FAILED TO GET THE MINIMUM WAGE AND PAID FAMILY LEAVE BILL LAST YEAR, DESPITE HOLDING VETO PROOF MAJORITY.

THIS YEAR DEMOCRATIC LAWMAKERS SAY THEY'VE HAD CONVERSATIONS OVER THE SUMMER AND HAVE BEEN ABLE TO COME TO A COMPROMISE ON MANY ISSUES, THEY'RE STILL IN THE PROCESS OF MEETING WITH LAWMAKERS AND THE GOVERNOR.

WE HAVEN'T HEARD MUCH ABOUT THE MONEY YET EITHER.

THERE WERE SOME CONCERNS ABOUT A LOOMING BUDGET SHORT FALL.

LAWMAKERS AND THE GOVERNOR HAVE A CLOSE EYE ON THE BUDGET AND MISSED THAT POTENTIAL SHORTFALL.

GOVERNOR SCOTT ESTIMATED WE COULD BE SHORT AROUND 80 MILLION.

RIGHT NOW HIS ADMINISTRATION IS LOOKING AT STRUCTURAL CHANGES TO SAVE MONEY.

BUT WITH MORE ORGANIZATIONS REQUESTING CASH FROM THE LEGISLATURE, SUCH AS THE VERMONT STATE COLLEGE SYSTEM AND THE STATE'S NEW ALL PAYER HEALTH CARE SYSTEM, IT COULD BE A SQUEEZE.

WE'LL HEAR THE GOVERNOR'S BUDGET RECOMMENDATIONS LATER THIS MONTH ON THE 21ST.

>>> DURING THE 2020 LEGISLATIVE SESSION LAWMAKERS ARE POISED TO TAKE UP A BILL THAT WOULD LEGALIZE A TAXED AND REGULATED MARKET FOR MARIJUANA.

CALVIN CUTLER EXPLAINS.

>> THIS SESSION LAWMAKERS ARE EXPECTED TO MAKE ANOTHER GO AT A TAXED AND REGULATED MARKET FOR MARIJUANA.

BUT FOR MANY QUESTIONS STILL REMAIN ABOUT WHAT THIS MARKET WOULD LOOK LIKE, WHO WOULD BE ABLE TO SELL, AND WHO WOULD REALLY BENEFIT.

>> WE PRODUCE OUR OWN ORGANICALLY GROWN HEMP FLOWER, INDOORS HERE IN THE STORE.

LIKE I MENTIONED WE WILL BE SCALING THAT UP SIGNIFICANTLY.

>> REPORTER: FOR BUSINESS OWNERS LIKE HER, A VOTE CAN'T COME SOON ENOUGH.

HER BUSINESS MODEL HAS BLOOMED AS MARIJUANA LAWS HAVE TAKEN ROOT HAD THE LEGISLATURE FROM DECRIMINALIZATION TO LEGALIZATION, TO A POTENTIAL REGULATED MARKET.

GREEN STATE GARDENERS IS RAMPING UP ITS PRODUCT SELECTION AND IS LOOKING TO OFFER CLASSES TO EDUCATE PEOPLE ABOUT RESPONSIBLY GROWING AND CONSUMING MARIJUANA.

>> MAKING SURE THAT PEOPLE ARE REALLY PREPARED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE AND SKILL SET TO MAKE THE BEST USE OF WHAT THEY'VE PURCHASED.

>> REPORTER: RIGHT NOW RAP SELLS EQUIPMENT TO GROW AND CULTIVATE MARIJUANA AND HEMP AT HOME.

IN ADDITION TO CBD PRODUCTS.

>> WAYS TO MAKE OILS, BUTTERS, TINCTURES, WAYS FOR PEOPLE TO ACHIEVE A SOLVENTLESS EXTRACT.

>> REPORTER: IF AND WHEN THE LEGISLATURE PULLS THE TRIGGER ON LEGAL SALES, IT WILL OPEN UP A FLOOD OF NEW BUSINESSES AND EXPANSION OF CURB BUSINESSES, SUCH AS MEDICAL DISPENSARIES, WHICH IS WHY HE CAN'T WAIT FOR THE VOTE.

>> WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERY DAY VERMONTERS HAVE ACCESS TO RETAIL LICENSING, DISTRIBUTION LICENSING, LAB TESTING, THE FULL GAMUT.

>> REPORTER: THOUGH HE SUPPORTS A LEGAL MARKET FOR POT, HE SAYS THE BILL NEEDS TO BE SURE ALL VERMONTERS ARE ENTITLED TO LICENSES AS WELL AS OUT OF STATE COMPANIES.

HE THINKS THE MARKET SHOULD LOOK LIKE THE CRAFT BEER SCENE, WANTS TO SEE LICENSES FOR ON SITE CONSUMPTION, WHERE PEOPLE WILL BE ABLE TO BY AND CONSUME IT.

>> LOOK AT OUR MICRO BREWERIES AND BARS, IT MAKES SENSE FOR US TO BE DOING THAT.

LET'S COLLECT THOSE TOURISTS DOLLARS.

>> REPORTER: THE VERMONT GROWERS ALSO WANT TO MOVE THE REGULATION OF MARIJUANA INTO THE AGENCY OF AGRICULTURE SO IT CAN SAVE TAXPAYER DOLLARS.

BUT SOME ARE TAKING THE NEXT STEP TO FULL BLOWN RECREATIONAL SALES, SAYING IT WOULD ONLY HELP COMPANIES AND LEAVE SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS IN THE DARK.

>> YOU CAN SEE WITH THE LOBBYING EFFORTS THAT THAT'S STILL NOT ENOUGH. WHAT THIS IS ULTIMATELY ABOUT IS MAKING A PROFIT OFF OF ADDICTION.

>> REPORTER: IN THE MEANTIME, SHE SAYS HER BUSINESS IS DEDICATED TO THE DEVELOPING NEEGDZ OF VERMONT'S HEMP AND MARIJUANA --

THE BILL COULD PASS THROUGH, ALTHOUGH SOME LAWMAKERS ARE STILL CONCERNED ABOUT ROADWAY SAFETY, ITS USE AROUND KIDS, AND ITS IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT.

CALVIN CUTLER, CHANNEL 3 NEWS.

>> THAT WILL DO IT FOR US THIS MORNING ON "YOU CAN QUOTE ME."

THE CHANNEL 3 NEWS CONTINUES NEXT WITH SCOTT FLEISCHMAN.

MAKE IT A GREAT DAY.

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