STATEMENT FROM SPEAKER KROWINSKI, PRESIDENT PRO TEM BALINT ON GOVERNOR SCOTT’S CALL FOR A SPECIAL SESSION
Montpelier, Vt. – Today, House Speaker Jill Krowinski and Senate President Pro Tem issued the following statement:
“We appreciated meeting with the Governor and discussing ways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and the differences of opinion in the ways that we believe we should move forward. In our meeting today, the Governor told us that he would support the passage of legislation, similar to a proposal made by the League of Cities and Towns last week, granting limited authority to municipalities to mandate masks in their communities. While we appreciate this step toward giving Vermonters more tools to promote public health, we are deeply disappointed that there is not a broader approach to keeping Vermonters safe and our health care system afloat.
“Under current law, the Governor has the authority to approve local public health measures without the need for the legislature to reconvene, but at this point, we believe that taking any action is better than continuing down the path that we are currently on when it comes to preventing the spread of disease. The Governor has the authority to act now and he has also made it very clear that if the legislature attempted to pass any legislation other than what he has proposed during this special session, he would veto it. We are still discussing all policy options and will work with public health experts to help us evaluate alternative public health actions.
“Again, while this it is not what we had envisioned as a response to this moment in the pandemic, when Vermont has one of the highest case rates in the country, if it takes the legislature reconvening to step in on behalf of Vermonters, we are more than happy to provide a tool to help mitigate the spread of the virus in our communities.”