I apologize that it has been a few weeks since my last legislative update, but I’ve hard at work making sure we improve our fiscal and economic well-being in this state. It is clear that this legislative session is already shaping up to be a consequential one. Many proposals and issues have come up that are worthy of their own updates. Such as Governor Scott’s plans to make State Government more responsive and efficient, level funding our state budget, to further invest in critical initiatives such as workforce development, combating opiate addiction and cleaning up Lake Champlain. I am going to focus this legislative update on an issue that lacks clarity, which highlights the worst of what our politics has become, and what the proposed solutions are.
In early January, I took an oath to support the Constitution of Vermont and the Constitution of the United States. Taking that oath means supporting the founding documents of our state and nation at all times, not just those that are convenient to us as elected officials. This means it’s my job to oppose actions, legislation, and even laws that run afoul of them. During my first term, I opposed legislation that would limit our rights, as prescribed by Article 16 of the Vermont Constitution and the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, to bear arms.
Now, we have been confronted with a series of Executive Orders out of Washington DC, that infringe on our 10th Amendment Rights, as well as, our 1st and 4th Amendment Rights. It also brings into question potential issues with the 14th Amendment.
One of the President’s Executive Orders makes it easier to deputize local law enforcement for federal action. The bill in front of this would only allow the President to do this with the permission of the Governor. The State Police and Local Police are paid for by the State of Vermont and our local communities and therefore are our resources and should be used in a manner that meets our state and local needs. The bill does not allow them to turn a blind eye or break federal laws, as some are suggesting. The legislation was carefully crafted to also keep our current working relationship with federal authorities in tack, and the Governor’s office has been communicating with the Federal Government about the steps we are taking.
Some have suggested that this legislation makes Vermont a sanctuary state, let me be clear, it does not.
The other portion of this bill which I think is the most important is not allowing our state law enforcement officials to collect and share information with the Federal Government for the purposes of creating a registry based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, etc. Creating “lists” of this nature is just un-American in my mind. They violate 1st, 4th, and potentially 14th Amendment Rights of Americans.
I know many of you may not agree with my reasoning, but this is about protecting our Constitution and with it the ideals that make us America.
Thank you for your time.