Scott signs bill allowing municipalities to make mask decisions

By Kim Jarrett | The Center Square

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has signed a bill that will let municipalities pass rules requiring masks but said he and legislative leaders still have “extreme differences of opinions regarding COVID strategy.”

Michael Bielawski/TNR

The House agreed to the bill by a vote of 90-41 after a long debate of whether municipalities could impose criminal penalties for citizens not adhering to the rule.

“Legislative leaders believe we need to return to a state of emergency, impose a statewide mask mandate and a host of other restrictions,” Scott said Tuesday during a news conference. “And I don’t.”

Scott called for Monday’s special session as COVID-19 cases are increasing in Vermont, despite the state’s high vaccination rate and low hospitalization rates.

Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint, D-Windham, and House Speaker Jill Krowinski, D-Burlington, said in a news release before the special session they were disappointed a broader approach was not taken.

Other Democrats said they were disappointed Scott wouldn’t take a mask mandate further as he could do so without involving the Legislature.

Republicans opposed the bill.

The bill passed the Senate, 17-10, along party lines.

“I don’t believe the heavy-handedness of this resolution is necessary,” Sen. Randy Brock, R-Albans, said.

The House agreed to the bill by a vote of 90-41 after a long debate of whether municipalities could impose criminal penalties for citizens not adhering to the rule.

Rep. Anne Donahue, R-Northfield, proposed an amendment that would bar municipalities from charging residents criminally, but it was voted down, 86-46.

The law will allow municipalities to establish a mask policy that will be in effect for 45 days. The municipalities can renew the policy every 30 days, but the law expires April 30.

Montpelier City Manager William Fraser indicated in his Nov. 19 weekly update his city would support a mask mandate.

“Council has asked City Manager to write a letter to the City’s representatives urging them to advocate for state-wide mandates,” Fraser said in his weekly update. “The City Council has also reported their support for implementing a Montpelier mask mandate if this legislation passes.”

Scott said he believed masks work, but mandates don’t.

“I believe they will be divisive and counter-productive,” Scott said at his news conference.

Scott has advocated for vaccines and booster shots. Last week, he directed the Agency of Human Services to provide booster shots for anyone over the age of 18.

“At this point, we need to shift to getting everyone boosted to help reduce the disruption of higher cases and minimize transmission to at-risk Vermonters, particularly through the winter months,” Scott said.

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR
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4 thoughts on “Scott signs bill allowing municipalities to make mask decisions

  1. “Legislative leaders believe we need to return to a state of emergency, impose a statewide mask mandate and a host of other restrictions,” Scott said Tuesday during a news conference. “And I don’t.”

    Gee, it looks like some TRUE-VERMONTER sanity is finally showing itself.

    Balint and Krowinski are died-in-the-wool, power-hungry, Dem/Progs, who LOVE big, bloated, expensive government, and CENTRALIZED COMMAND/CONTROL to ENFORCE onto Vermonters what THEY think is “good for them”. See Note

    They hate LOCAL CONTROL, which, almost always, makes far more sense, than CENTRALIZED COMMAND/CONTROL.

    Whereas, on paper, they HAVE veto-proof majorities, the facto, they do NOT, and so, the Governor wins.

    They are the same type folks, who would subjugate already-struggling/overtaxed/over-regulated Vermonters to the unattainable GWSA requirements, at $1.25 BILLION PER YEAR, from 2022 – 2050, 28 YEARS!!

    That would be a lot of expensive “FEEL-GOOD”, which would have absolutely NO effect on Global Warming.
    That would further impoverish Vermonters, for the SOLE benefit of heavily subsidized folks with RE businesses.

    They would drive over Vermonters, with a MACK TRUCK, to achieve THEIR, impossible, very expensive “FIGHTING-CLIMATE-CHANGE GOALS”

    NOTE:

    Of course, there are exceptions, such as leading Dem/Progs showing up at social functions, i.e., not on “government business”, being recorded, on video, not wearing a mask, such as:

    Take-a knee/hairdresser PELOSI, who recently bought a $25-million mansion

    OBAMA, at his BIRTHDAY PARTY, showing off his mere $15-million mansion on Martha’s Vineyard

    In-the-basement, Joe and Jill, celebrating Thanksgiving, at the $30-million mansion of a billionaire, on Martha’s Vineyard.
    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/hiding-the-hunter-biden-evidence-to-protect-joe-biden

  2. Governor Phil Scott, I don’t see him as a leader, just following the “Squeaky Wheel ” scenario !!

    So we’ve stayed indoors for months, wore a mask, and got vaccinated, now the Governor is
    letting the cities & town make their own rules…….. a leader, Nope !!

  3. Precedent in Missouri; and its worth noting that putting too much power in the hands of unelected officials is kind of what… happened in Germany in the 1930s.

    “A Missouri judge on Tuesday ruled that local COVID-19 orders violated the Missouri Constitution, ordering local health officials to rescind them.

    Judge Daniel Green of Cole County wrote that the Department of Health and Senior Services unconstitutionally gave too much power to individual local health officials and directors. As a result, he ruled, those orders must be lifted, meaning that local health orders must be rescinded.

    “This case is about whether Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services regulations can abolish representative government in the creation of public health laws, and whether it can authorize closure of a school or assembly based on the unfettered opinion of an unelected official. This court finds it cannot,” the judge wrote in his order.”

    Source: https://www.theepochtimes.com

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