Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott today signed a proclamation calling a special session, convening the Legislature on Monday, November 22 for the sole purpose of passing legislation narrowly tailored to grant municipalities the authority to implement time limited mask mandates, if they choose. The Legislature, however, could theoretically pass any bill. Scott vowed to veto any other action.
Governor Scott offered this path forward to legislative leadership as a compromise following their repeated calls for statewide mandates and restrictions, which the Governor does not support at this point in the pandemic. The Vermont League of Cities and Towns also requested this local authority, on behalf of their members.
In a letter sent to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the state Senate on Monday, the Governor outlined his offer. He also reiterated he would not support – and would veto – any additional measures the Legislature sought to pass during this special session.
As the Legislature debates this issue, the Governor and his team will continue to encourage Vermonters to get vaccinated, get their booster shot and – while hospitals continue to be strained – to wear masks indoors, make smart choices about gatherings, stay home when sick and use testing as a tool.
The Administration has also taken numerous steps to expand hospital capacity, including adding beds and staff, and has increased efforts to ensure patients have access to life-saving treatments like monoclonal antibodies.
“At this phase in the pandemic, with more than 20 months of experience, broad, top-down mandates and the overuse of executive emergency power is not appropriate and counterproductive to our ultimate path forward, which is getting more people vaccinated and boosted,” said Governor Scott. “COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon, and perhaps could be with us for decades, which is why we need to use the experience and knowledge we’ve gained managing the virus to continue moving forward.”
Source: Governor 11.17.2021. Montpelier www.vermont.gov