Marijuana Bill Highlights Unfocused Montpelier

Marijuana Bill Highlights Unfocused Montpelier

Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Lt. Governor David Zuckerman lobbying for marijuana when they should be focused on working with businesses to grow the economy.

Berlin, VT - Governor Phil Scott and Republican leadership in both legislative bodies remain committed to addressing the affordability crisis and growing Vermont’s economy. The affordability crisis still remains a top issue facing Vermonters, and if continued to be left unaddressed Vermonters and businesses will continue fleeing Vermont.

Sadly, Democrats and Progressives remain unfocused and easily distracted by pet-projects tailored to their special interest friends.

In response to the Vermont House of Representatives taking up H.170 today, Tim Schaffer, Communications Director for the Vermont Republican Party issued the following statement:

“Last Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee passed H.170 during an unscheduled vote -- a move that was clearly calculated. The full House will take a vote on the bill today.

“Speaker Mitzi Johnson vowed not bring this piece of legislation to the floor unless she had the votes for passage. As of a couple weeks ago, the bill was all but dead. Suddenly, the Speaker has found the votes and prioritized the bill for a House floor vote today. It is anticipated to be a tight vote.

“This is another example of an out-of-touch majority more focused on passing long-standing pet projects than relieving Vermonters of the burdens they face. In many cases, they add to the burdens like the proposed $80,000,000 in new payroll taxes on working Vermonters and $7.2 million in taxes from a $2.00 a night hotel occupancy charge.

“Additionally, this has been a project for Lt. Governor David Zuckerman for as long as he has been an elected-official in Montpelier. Over the weekend he attempted to stir up support from his base with blast e-mails and social media posts. Shouldn’t he be drumming up support for lower taxes and a Vermont economy that works better for all?

“As this legislation is forced through the House of Representatives at lightening speed, we have couple questions that must be answered by Speaker Mitzi Johnson:

  1. Movement on H.170 has been sudden. What efforts did the Speaker embark on to ensure passage of H.170 if it reached the floor.

  2. Is the Speaker spending more time trying to pass marijuana legislation or is she truly committed to relieving Vermonters from the crushing affordability crisis, lower their taxes, decrease business regulation, and growing the economy?

  3. Is the Speaker more concerned with passing legislation like H.170 than focusing on passing a balanced budget that does not increase taxes or fees?

  4. We can all agree driving under the influence of anything puts Vermonters at risk. Considering that a field-sobriety-like test for those under the influence of marijuana doesn’t exist, how does the Speaker intend to keep Vermonters safe on the road?

  5. Does the Speaker disagree with the Governor who wishes to see a field-sobriety test in place before considering the bill?

  6. What 3rd Party and/or lobbying organizations have been in contact with the Speaker's office, her staff, or other Democratic leaders?

  7. What other pet-projects that have failed to gain support in the House or Senate over the last six years will be taken up this legislative session?

“Vermont Republicans remain committed and are steadfast in our efforts to grow Vermont’s economy and relieve the crushing cost-of-living Vermonters face. These questions need to be answered by Speaker Johnson so that all Vermonters are given a clear and transparent view of how Montpelier truly operates.”