Forgive our single-minded focus, but this week's debate in the Vermont Senate over doctor-assisted death (Or was it "death with dignity" or "physician-assisted suicide? MUST NOT OFFEND READERS, so we'll just call it S.77) was one for the history books.
That said, there were plenty of other winners and losers this week. So, without further ado, here's The Scoreboard for the week of Friday, February 15:
The Vermont Senate — Love S.77 or hate it, the Vermont Senate conducted itself in fine form this week. Sure, debate dragged on and tensions ran high, but for the most part senators kept things civil and thoughtful. Has the Senate learned how to behave?
Sen. John Campbell — The Senate President Pro Tem garnered praise from S.77 backers for bringing a bill he disliked to the floor for an up-or-down vote. He also got his way, for the most part, by gutting the legislation.
Headline writers — Nothing like a bill called "death with dignity" to get the headline-writing juices flowin'. Good thing it's still alive... Get it?
Morris & DeMag — Faced with steep odds after Tuesday's 17-13 vote, the anti-S.77 lobby shop got the job done, dividing and conquering the bill's supporters from its wafflers.
Sen. Peter Galbraith's ego — Who knew it could get any bigger?!
Vermont Press Bureau alums — Former Statehouse scribe Tracy Schmaler is leaving her job as top flack for the Department of Justice to join David Axelrod's new firm, the Washington Post and CNN reported. That means Schmaler, who once worked for Sen. Patrick Leahy too, will no longer have to utter the words "Fast and Furious."
Vermont newspapers — Several Green Mountain rags took home top prizes at last weekend's New England Newspaper & Press Association awards in Boston. The biggest winners? Brattleboro's The Commons, Addison Independent, Saint Albans Messenger, Stowe Reporter, and Milton Independent.
Losers after the break...
Lt. Gov. Phil Scott — Duh, because he cast two tie-breaking votes this week. Scott tells The Scoreboard that's half the votes he's cast in his 2-plus years as lite gov.
Dick Walters and lobbyists for Patient Choices Vermont — Despite Adam Necrason's best efforts, it's hard to spin this week as a win for the pro-S.77 crowd. But, hey! At least they kept the thing on life support. Runner up: Gov. Peter Shumlin, who couldn't twist enough arms to keep S.77 intact.
Progressives — They were first out of the gate Thursday with counter-proposals for funding imperiled human services. But aren't they just playing into Shumlin's hand? Mr. Fiscal Conservative likes nothing more than to say that his shrill opponents on the left just wanna raise your taxes.
Conference committee members — Whichever House and Senate members are tasked with reconciling what will surely be wildly different versions of S.77 later this session will have their hands full.
Air Vermont — VTrans' request for a new Air Force One — I mean, Beechcraft Baron — drew scorn this week from Senate Transportation Committee chairman Dick Mazza. By Thursday, Shumlin seemed willing to drop the idea.
Religion — First the Pope resigns. Then Vermont clocks in at 19 percent on the religion scale. Riddle me this: If we're so godless, why aren't we making enough babies to reverse our population decline?
Sandy Miller and South Burlington — SoBurl and its ex-city manager make the Scoreboard for a second week running thanks to reporting by my colleague, Andy Bromage, who learned that Miller had been fired from another job for similar reasons. Whatever happened to background checks?