House ready to vote on first bill of new session

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(Host) The Vermont House has given its preliminary approval to the first bill of the new session. The legislation, sponsored by Moretown Representative Maxine Grad, increases penalties for people who attempt to elude a police officer while operating a car. The bill also elevates the charge to a felony if the chase results in serious bodily injury to the police officer or any other person other than the offender.

Burlington Representative Steve Hingtgen questioned if the proposal would deter future crime or simply put more pressure on the state’s already overcrowded jail system:

(Hingtgen) “We’re at the maximum at our prison population we have incarcerated way too many people and we really need to consider does the deterrent actually work.”

(Host) Grad argued that the bill is needed even if it doesn’t deter future criminal behavior:

(Grad) “There’s a division whether or not in fact. We heard from some witnesses, yes it will deter; and from other witnesses, no it will not deter. However what is important is that by enhancing these penalties it will add a remedy that is not currently in law.”

(Host) The measure will come up for final approval in the House on Wednesday.

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