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May 11, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Scoreboard.newThe Scoreboard was scheduled to come out Friday afternoon, but after hours of deliberation, legislative leaders decided to push it off 'til Saturday.

Here are this weeks winners and losers in Vermont news and politics:


Gov. Peter Shumlin — After saying "no new taxes" for weeks, the wily gov managed to strike an agreement with legislative leadership Tuesday involving, um, no new taxes. Heck, he's even managed to convince most people he didn't try to raise $32 million in new taxes earlier this year!

Sen. Claire Ayer — The Addison County Democrat seemed on the verge of defeat Tuesday night when she was unable to draw a 16th vote to support her version of "End of Death with Digni-cide Choices" legislation. But the next day, she pulled not one but two rabbits out of her hat and pushed through a compromise on a 17-13 vote. Runner-up winners: Patient Choices Vermont lobbyists Adam Necrason, Amy Shollenberger, Jessica Oski and the rest of their team.

Migrant farmworkers — Who will soon have the right to drive. Runner-up loser: Rep. Duncan Kilmartin, who seems to think that'll help the drug cartels and terrorists.

Rutland — No joke: Rutland hit the big time this week... in The Onion. Runner-up winner: The Rutland Reader's Jim Sabataso for exhaustively chronicling Rutland's previous claims to fame. Most of which, it seems, also involved fleeting references in The Onion.

Losers after the break...

Tie Score:

Sen. Peter Galbraith — Sure, everyone in the Senate seems to revile the non-stop-talking Windham County Democrat, but his digni-cide switcheroo and campaign finance theatrics got him plenty of what he desires the most: attention and press coverage. Runner-up losers: The media — this reporter included — for enabling him.

Shap Smith and John Campbell — After letting their caucuses take votes raising $27 million and $10 million in taxes respectively, the House speaker and Senate president pro tem suddenly sided with Shumlin Tuesday to say those tax hikes weren't necessary after all. Fast-forward to Friday, though, and they seemed poised to go back at it with Shummy. Maybe.

Gun Sense Vermont — The fledgling gun-control group staged a compelling press conference at the Statehouse Wednesday. But talk about too little, too late! With legislators ready to split, the chances for action this year are zilch. 

Lawsuits — The House passed two bills this week — GMO labeling and campaign finance — that are sure to draw court challenges if signed into law. But neither appears especially likely to pass this year.

Legislators, lobbyists and reporters — On the upside, Saturday's Statehouse session was cancelled. On the downside, everybody's back next week for at least two more days.



Democracy — Only a bunch of politicians would call legislation that increases how much money corporations, unions and individuals can give to Vermont candidates "campaign finance reform." 

American Federation of Teachers — In a banner year for labor in the Vermont legislature, childcare workers failed again this week to earn the right to collectively bargain.

Sen. Bob Hartwell — For a moment Thursday, when the Bennington County Democrat called for reconsideration of the digni-cide bill he'd supported the night before, it appeared he'd come down with a case of the Galbraiths. But after prompting a minor freakout that he'd re-kill the bill, Hartwell was all, like, never mind.

Bennington — Which seems to be the prostitution capital of Vermont.

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