From death with dignity to marijuana decriminalization, Gov. Peter Shumlin on Tuesday said he aims to seal the deal on several notable pieces of unfinished business from the last legislative biennium.
Shumlin in his first term was unable to deliver on some of his highest-profile legislative initiatives, including union rights for child care workers. At a morning press conference Tuesday, Shumlin said he’s confident lawmakers will send those bills to his desk in 2013.
“I’m confident that regardless of who leads the various bodies in the Legislature, that we can pass decriminalization of marijuana, death with dignity and the (unionization) bill for childcare workers,” Shumlin said. “We’re going to get them done.”
Key lawmakers aren’t so sure.
Sen. John Campbell, the Windsor County Democrat aiming for a second term as Senate president later this afternoon, was the Statehouse’s most prominent opponent to the death with dignity and childcare unionization bills. He said Tuesday his positions on those issues have not evolved in recent months, and that he’s not convinced either has the support needed to make it through the Legislature.
Campbell, however, said he won’t try to squelch a vote on any death with dignity legislation. In fact he said the topic in 2013 will receive more attention from Senate committees than it did in either of the last two sessions.
“I recognize that this issue is not going to go away, and if the majority of people want to have a debate, then that debate should happen,” Campbell said.
Campbell said he envisions joint hearings between Senate committees on judiciary and health and welfare. He said the hearings come in response to requests for additional debate from people on both sides of the issue.
“If it passes it passes. If it doesn’t it doesn’t,” Campbell said. “But I think everyone involved in this conversation agrees there are issues that need to be vetted, so I think it’s worth taking the time to vet them.”
Look for more on the governor’s wishlist for 2013, and what lawmakes have to say about it, in tomorrow’s editions of The Times Argus and Rutland Herald.