Special Legislative veto session set for July 11

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(Host) The special Legislative veto session will be held as scheduled on July 11th.

House Speaker Gaye Symington considered postponing the date until September but Symington says she’s dropping that plan because House Republicans strongly objected to the change.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) Symington says she discussed the possibility of delaying the veto session for 2 months when she learned that at least 5 Democrats were likely to be away on vacation in the middle of July.

Republicans immediately rejected the plan and they accused Symington of seeking more time to try to persuade all 93 Democrats to override the Governor’s veto of a global warming bill.

Symington says she’s disappointed that the timing of the veto session became so political:

(Symington) “If we’re going to play the political games with this we’ll just keep it as July 11th. I was simply trying to accommodate members on important votes but we will keep the session on July 11th and work hard to override the vetoes.”

(Kinzel) House Republican leader Steve Adams says Symington made the right decision:

(Adams) “I know members of my caucus had built their summer plans around July 11th. So I think the Speaker did the right thing.”

(Kinzel) In order to override the governor’s veto, all 93 Democrats, all 6 Progressives and both Independents would have to support the motion.

That could be difficult because 12 Democrats voted against the global warming bill in May. Symington hopes to convince this group of lawmakers to support the legislation:

(Symington) “It’s very difficult to override a governor’s veto and I’m working hard to get good information to members so that they can base their decision on solid information rather than just hearsay or the spin that’s being put out there.”

(Kinzel) If the session was held today, GOP leader Adams says the Democrats would lose this vote:

(Adams) “I am confident that I have enough votes with members of the Republican caucus and some others to sustain the governor’s veto.”

(Kinzel) Middlebury College political science professor Eric Davis thinks there’s a message in the timing of the veto session:

(Davis) “If the vote had been delayed until September that would have indicated that the Democrats didn’t believe that they had the votes to override the governor’s veto and needed two more months to twist some member’s arms. So delaying the vote would in a way be an indication of impending defeat.”

(Kinzel) The Legislature will be considering two gubernatorial vetoes on July 11th – the global warming legislation and a campaign finance reform bill.

For VPR News I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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