decriminalizing – or even legalizing – the possession of small amounts of
marijuana have cleared a major hurdle. The Vermont House voted 98-to-44 on Friday
to make it a civil offense – instead of a crime – to possess one ounce or less
set to vote on a bill this week that would decriminalize
the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The
House Judiciary Committee has been taking testimony for weeks and the bill is
likely to pass Tuesday afternoon.
The Vermont Senate overwhelmingly advanced a bill on Friday that
would give driver’s licenses to immigrants who are in the country
illegally. The bill would create what are described as drivers’ authorization
cards that would look different from
a regular state license.
One of the country’s top medical journals is touting Vermont’s health care reform effort as an example for the
rest of the nation. A study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine says other
states can learn some lessons from Vermont in rolling out health exchanges that are essential to
the federal Affordable Care Act.
Vermont became the first state on Monday to publish the rates
it would charge people who don’t currently have health insurance to get
coverage – a key step toward establishing the health exchanges that are central
to the federal health care law known as Obamacare. Health
officials said Monday the rates are comparable to current commercial rates.
key House committee took testimony on Thursday about whether possessing small
amounts of marijuana should be a civil offense, not a crime. In
Montpelier, decriminalization was once
considered one of the key issues of the legislative session, but it has recently
taken a back seat.
Vermont House is preparing to debate the budget and a number of new tax
proposals this week, and House leaders are already trying to line up votes for
a $1.3 billion plan that includes a contentious bid to cap welfare benefits.
the first time this legislative session, the full Vermont Senate will debate
renewable energy on Tuesday. In Montpelier, though, some lawmakers’ hopes of passing meaningful
climate change legislation that might reduce greenhouse gas emissions have already
collided with the state’s fiscal reality.
The state and the city of Montpelier
have agreed to cover cost overruns for an expanded heating district that they
month, the state surprised
local officials and taxpayers when it announced that the project is already
more than 10 percent over budget.