By John Klar
Gov. Phil Scott has stated that he lacks time to debate me or others in the Vermont GOP primary election, yet he has publicly invested great zeal in his venture to crush not only the unseen virus of COVID, but also a claim of systemic racism in Vermont. Instead of standing up to a liberal Legislature, he has bolstered this liberal cause, going so far as to exempt BLM rallies and graffiti from the laws that apply to Republican and other political causes.
It is in this context that voters must view the current battle over the Global Warming Solutions Act (H.688), which has been passed by the Vermont House and Senate. Governor Scott supplied the relevant legislative committee a list of amendments that would have made the bill acceptable to him — but every single one was rejected. Instead, the Legislature is weighing amendments that would remove the governor’s ability to influence the Climate Council, by providing that a majority can call meetings without the initiative of the secretary of administration.
The GWSA essentially bypasses not only the governor but the electorate. It imposes questionable, arbitrary “targets” for carbon dioxide reduction, and authorizes private nonprofits to compel government agencies to do whatever courts demand to accomplish those goals. In other words, it just says “do whatever you need to do — forget about the citizenry and the voting process.”
H.688 neutralizes the governor and his role as defender of executive power, even as mail-in voting legislation causes many voters concern over guarantees of integrity in that process. Perhaps when it arrives on his desk, Governor Scott will respond to the GWSA as he did to the Legislature’s hasty push to implement mail-in voting: “If the legislature wants to take me out of it, that’s fine. I won’t stand in their way. They’re the ones who put me in to begin with.” Then the Legislature could accept that invitation and just by-pass him as they have with mail-in voting.
Instead, Governor Scott must demand that the Vermont Legislature respect those constitutional structures that preserve balance and equity in government. He must duly inform the progressive supermajority that their one-sided domination in a time of economic crisis and public health emergency will not be tolerated — that he will promptly veto H. 688.
Phil Scott was elected to defend and protect our constitutional structures and our wallets, not kowtow to progressives on remote voting, mail-in ballots, sweeping climate change laws, or disruptions by Black Lives Matter activists. It is imperative that he do so now and veto of H.688.
John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield. He is running for governor in 2020.