Governor Scott’s Press Conference 12/20/22

Innkeepers are a busy bunch. To save you time, VLA attends Governor Scott’s press conferences and takes notes for you. Below is the summary from 12/20/22.

Governor Scott held his final open press conference of the year today, opening the floor for questions from the press after only brief remarks. The governor addressed questions on a potential ban of the Tik-Tok application on state-owned devices, an upcoming housing proposal, Global Foundries’ layoffs, Blue Cross Blue Shield’s decision to not contract with OneCare in 2023, and other topics.


  • Governor Scott:
    • A couple of months since last open press conference – wanted to have one more before the end of the year. No set topic. Almost entire cabinet on call.
    • Sen. Leahy delivered his farewell address to the Senate a few minutes ago. Silver lining of his departure – see more of him and Marcelle in VT.
    • At 5 p.m. – Menorah Lighting ceremony at State House. Activities and light refreshments to follow in State House.
    • Asks for recommendations to honor people committing act of kindness (on gov. website).
    • Wishes Vermonters Happy Hanukah, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.
  • Questions:
    • Jurisdictions banning Tik-Tok on state-owned devices – discussing here?
      • Scott – Yes- we are having some conversations internally. Waiting for guidance from federal government as to what this means. Don’t personally know what else is out there. What other platforms leave you vulnerable to this type of thing – probably other platforms that gather information that could be sold to some of our competitors and enemies across the globe. We all have to be very careful what we do – weighing out whether we can ban it. Don’t know how much further we can go beyond state devices. But yes – we are considering.
    • Housing developers calling for $175 million housing investment? Do you support? They argue that there’s going to be a cliff once that money is spent – to avoid, need to make another substantial investment. … Do you agree that VT needs to make another historical slug of money.
      • Scott – Something that we’re doing right now. We’ve put hundreds of millions of dollars in. Haven’t spent it all yet. On same page. Know we need more housing. Interested in what they have to say. Most of the money we’ve put towards this effort has gone to the VHCBs of the world, Housing Trust, so I think that we recognize the need… I think we’ll continue to need more housing – but how much we’ll need, I’m not sure. Starting to see the positive effects of the $37 million initial investment that leveraged more. Other approach might be for the legislature to consider how to make it less expensive to build the housing so that private companies can get into something that’s lucrative for them… Need to reflect on what are the cost drivers are – what can we do to make it easier to build decent affordable housing – zoning, planning, Act 250.
    • Any conversations with Rep. Bongartz about the housing bill that he’s working on?
      • Scott – Yes – he’s moving on the right track. We’re working with him.
    • Health care – Blue Cross Blue Shield announced that they’re not moving forward with OneCare next year – that’s 60,000 lives that will not be attributed to the All Payer Model. Reaction?
      • Scott – I just found out about it this morning. Unfortunate that the negotiations fell through. We’re going to be encouraging them to get back to the table and put together something that works for everyone. Having them come together is important.
      • Samuelson – Not much to add. Going to continue to try to get BCBS and OneCare to come together. Doesn’t jeopardize APM. Does give us an opportunity to continue our conversations as to how we can continue move forward and improve. Optimistic that they can come together
    • More that administration could be doing to promote APM and health care reform? Some critics saying that you are not taking an active role in signing providers on.
      • Scott – We’ve had this little pandemic that we’ve been focusing on – that has slowed progress. Look forward to getting back to doing our part to encourage providers to get involved. Still think that this is a worthwhile cause. Need everyone to do their part – legislature, GMCB, hospitals, insurance companies.
    • You did not join other 25 governors in calling for an end to the federal public health emergency – health insurance benefit in continuing that?
      • Scott – I received that somewhat late and had to make decision on same day that I received it. I don’t disagree with them, I think it should end. But I think it would be much more powerful if it was a bipartisan effort. Maybe from National Governor’s Association. More powerful when you’re going to the administration. Would have preferred that we try and work together with governors from the other side of the aisle. Would have signed onto something like that – but felt we need to practice what we preach.
    • New strategies that you’ll be asking the legislature about re: workforce?
      • Scott – Not today. Back on the 5th in the building to talk about the state of the state and the inaugural address. Everything that we have will be forecasting at that point. No real surprises here. Some of the same challenges that we’ve been facing – need to make sure that we don’t move to something else when something is working. Need to perfect. Think the legislature has come to better understand the workforce challenges that we have. Need stormwater, broadband… to keep an attract more people to the state.
    • People still without power?
      • Scott – Had a tremendous amount of people without power initially. Commending all of the line workers still working around the clock. Just under 1,000 without power at this point. We’ll get here. Somewhat of a dangerous storm last week with the heavy snowfall and a lot of it. Watching the storm this weekend. A bit concerned about what that could mean with the predicted 50 mph + wind, a lot of rain, and a lot of freezing afterwards. Prepared, but not great timing.
    • In November – $329K in cannabis excise tax – what is your assessment of the revenue so far?
      • Scott – This is one of the areas where I said we shouldn’t count on the money. Not going to be substantial. For those counting on this to be the answer for some of our budgetary concerns – not best initiative to follow. Not surprised that it’s down. A number of people who will still use it, but won’t want to pay taxes on it. But we’ll see. Some shops just opened – so probably too early to tell, but we shouldn’t count on the revenue to any great extend.
    • Advise on how to talk to kids about cannabis?
      • Scott – Too bad Dr. Levine isn’t on today – part of the charge of the Cannabis Board. When we chose those members, I remember talking to them about educational programs that would make sure that we deter the use of cannabis until you’re of age. The Department of Health also has the message as well.
      • French – Youth usage a concern – want to ramp up communication strategy.
      • Samuelson – Dept of Health has a lot of resources for parents already on their website. Funding also going to prevention coalitions to address the cannabis market.
    • New concerns about literacy amongst Vermont students – comment on findings? (Literacy Advisory Council)
      • French – Our performance in literacy is concerning. Created this council that has been doing great work. Findings are not news. We are building momentum across stakeholders. Targeting recovery funds. Literacy primary concern in state – report highlights some ways we can work better.
    • Reaction to Global Foundries announcement that they’ll be laying of 148 people in Essex Junction?
      • Scott – Thoughts are with those who lost their positions – seems to be the way of the world with the supply chain. Disappointed in that number of positions – only bright spot if there is one is that there’s a number of positions available throughout the state and I’m sure that we can find jobs for those that wish to continue. Anecdotally I’ve had a couple of people contact me since the announcement that was made asking for a list of the people and contact info because we could use their help right now.