Legislature adjourns

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(Host) The final gavel has come down on the 2004 Legislative session. Adjournment came after disagreements between the House and the Senate over next year’s capital construction bill were worked out late Thursday afternoon.

Governor Jim Douglas told lawmakers in his concluding remarks that he believes the 2004 session has been a productive year at the Statehouse. The governor identified permit reform, changes to the workers’ compensation system, the reorganization of the Human Services Agency and the creation of an Internet Sex Offenders Registry as some of the top priorities of the session:

(Douglas) “I really believe that when we look back on this biennium and when Vermonters look back on this session, we’ll all remember the extraordinary cooperation and unyielding progress that has consistently prevailed over the temptations and contentions of partisanship.”

(Host) The close of the session also marked the end of House Speaker Walter Freed’s tenure as speaker. Freed announced several weeks ago that he will not be a candidate for re-election for his House seat in Dorset:

(Freed) “I am very much proud of the work that all of you have done these past two years. It gives me a very great sense of satisfaction at this time when, yes I am retiring – that time has come. But I do leave this House with a sense of accomplishment with the participation that all of us have shared together.”

(Host) At ten minutes past ten o’clock Thursday night, the Speaker brought the final gavel down on the 2004 session:

(Freed) “The ayes appear to have it, the ayes do have it and the House will stand adjourned pursuant to the provisions of JRS 67.” (Sound of gavel and applause.)

(Host) Although lawmakers did adjourn for the year Thursday night, they also passed a resolution that will allow them to return to Montpelier in the event that the governor vetoes any legislation in the next two weeks.

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