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Statement from Governor Phil Scott on the Senate Passage of S.58

March 26, 2024

Montpelier, Vt. - Governor Phil Scott today issued the following statement:

“At the beginning of the legislative session, I said that our top priorities must be affordability, housing, and public safety. Today, the Senate took important steps towards strengthening our public safety tools with the passage of S.58. I want to thank the Senate Judiciary Committee, in particular Senator Sears, for his leadership and collaboration on this bill.

“S.58 takes steps to update current law to ensure accountability for those selling and trafficking deadly fentanyl and xylazine, which can be found as components of most drug sales. It also strengthens our ability to prosecute and enhances the penalty when death results from these sales. 

“This bill again delays the ‘raise the age’ provision, which has put older, more violent offenders into our DCF system and creates a number of unintended consequences that harm, rather than help, our youth. Unfortunately, we have observed drug traffickers are preying on young adults, using them because they know accountability is less likely. 

“Finally, it’s important to note the Senate added a provision for the protection of apartment residents by expediting court hearings for offenders dealing drugs out of a dwelling when they are not the tenant. Courts may also prohibit the offender’s return to the dwelling.  

“This bill is a great example of what we can accomplish when we work together. I look forward to working with the House to ensure this package of reforms gets to my desk for signature.”