Statement on Gun Regulation Bill Signing Ceremony of 4/12/18

I was privileged to witness the bill signing ceremony on the front steps of the Vermont Statehouse this past Wednesday for three pieces of legislation: S.55, a universal background check bill;
H.422, a domestic violence bill; and S.221, a “red flag” bill. These bills impose regulations on gun sales, prohibit certain gun accessories, and provide law enforcement with the authority to confiscate guns when responding to domestic violence incidents and under court order from individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others.

Governor Phil Scott, accompanied by his wife, stood at a podium before news cameras, legislators, and members of the public, both for and against the action he was about to take. He began his speech over the shouting of opponents, speaking carefully, deliberately and directly to those in front of him. Despite constant interruption by opponents, he spoke of the events and reasons for his decision to change his position regarding gun regulation in Vermont. At one point Governor Scott said, “I understand I may lose support over my decision to sign these bills today, but those are consequences I'm prepared to live with.”

I commend Governor Scott for his courage in taking this position. He is correct in saying that “public safety is the top priority of any government.” It is my hope that the Governor and the legislature will continue to work collaboratively together on the many challenges facing Vermont to achieve results that benefit Vermont and Vermonters.

Legislative Report 4/6/2018 - 2018 Doyle Poll Report

The Doyle Poll, created and still conducted by former Senator Bill Doyle, has been a tradition of Town Meetings in Vermont for decades. 113 Charlotte voters shared their opinions this year, about the same as last year's number. Of the fifteen questions, three dealt with affordability. A strong majority feel that Vermont is currently not an affordable place to live. Similar majorities believe that the minimum wage needs to increase and that employees should have paid family leave. These policies would mitigate the affordability problem for many low income Vermonters and dual income families.

Clearly, most people think we need to do a lot more to address the opiate crisis, water quality, and finding alternatives to prison for non-violent offenders. A question not answered is whether this translates to a willingness to increase spending tax dollars on these problems?

There's a strong consensus that we rely too heavily on property taxes for education, but respondents are also quite satisfied with the quality of education our district provides. The bill H.911, recently passed by the House, takes steps to relieve some of the burden on property tax by relying more on income and consumption taxes.

Governor Scott's approval rate exceeds his negative rating by 34%, which bodes well for his re-election at this time. About 34% also had no opinion on the question. About 2/3 of respondents favor a four-year term for the office of Governor. This would require a change to the Vermont Constitution, however.

There is also strong support among respondents for increasing the scope of the bottle deposit system. There are many ways to expand it including adding non-carbonated beverages such as bottled juice, water and tea, as well as adding a deposit on wine bottles. I would favor this if the law were also changed to have the state collect and manage the system. This way the deposits for unredeemed containers would accrue to the state rather than the beverage distributors.
Here are all the results of the poll in Charlotte.

Q# Question Yes No Not Sure
1 Are you concerned about the Vermont opiate crisis? 95% 3% 2%
2 Do you believe water quality is a major issue in Vermont? 79% 12% 9%
3 Should Vermont increase the minimum wage? 60% 26% 14%
4 Do you believe Vermont is an affordable place to live? 9% 65% 26%
5 Are you concerned about the decrease in Vermont's population? 60% 34% 6%
6 Should Vermont have a four year term for Governor? 65% 16% 19%
7 Should Vermont's bottle deposit law be expanded? 72% 15% 13%
8 Do you believe Governor Scott is doing a good job? 50% 16% 34%
9 Should Vermont have paid family sick leave? 61% 24% 15%
10 Does Vermont rely too heavily on property taxes to fund education? 79% 9% 12%
11 Are you satisfied with Vermont's health care? 45% 32% 23%
12 Are you optimistic about Vermont's economy? 35% 35% 30%
13 Do you think that Vermont values are a reason that many people live in Vermont? 75% 12% 13%
14 Should we reduce Vermont's prison population by using alternatives for non-violent offenders? 90% 5% 5%
15 Are you satisfied with the quality of education in your local school district? 69% 12% 19%

As your representative in Montpelier, I appreciate your input on these and other issues. Your comments help me look at issues from several perspectives, and that is a valuable opportunity for me. You can always contact me by phone at 802-425-3960 or email me at