Legislature called back

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(HOST) Governor Douglas has called the Legislature back into session on June 16th so that lawmakers can remove a provision from the state budget that deals with a labor dispute between the faculty and the management of the Vermont State Colleges.

But House Speaker Gaye Symington says there’s no need for a session because the faculty will agree to the phase-out of their early retirement program when they meet on June 17th.

The governor said he would veto the budget because it called for binding arbitration on the faculty’s early retirement plan. He said that action overturned a previous ruling by the Vermont Labor Relations Board and was unacceptable. Now, the governor will review the speaker’s request with his legal advisors.

Douglas says there’s no need for the session to take much time.

(Douglas) “A special session can be done in an hour – literally. A budget can be crafted without the offending language. It can be passed – H.1, brought up, rules suspended, rushed through both chambers and put on my desk in literally an hour.”

(HOST) In a special session, any issue can be brought up for consideration.

Senate president Peter Welch says he doesn’t know if there will be an effort to expand the scope of the session beyond the state budget.

(Welch) “We’re starting to get phone calls from legislators who have a desire to do various things that they didn’t get done during the regular session. But there’s not been a decision about what more than dealing with this budget issue will be done, if anything.”

(HOST) The cost of a one-day special session is roughly $50,000.

Douglas says lawmakers should be willing to work for free. But Legislative leaders note that members of the Administration will certainly be paid for the time they spend on the session. And they believe legislators deserve to be paid as well.

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