Montpelier (May 3) – Vermont’s hopes to be the first state to legalize marijuana through legislation were dashed today by a House vote against legalization. The Vermont House killed Senate Language that would legalize having up to an ounce of marijuana, voting 121-28 against it. This was followed by another vote on whether or not the question should be put on a non-binding referendum for voters in the August primaries, which was also voted down 97-51. House majority leaders worked to promote “compromise language,” which would remove legalization, but add expanded decriminalization.
Pro-Legalization Representatives Scramble to Find Votes
Montpelier (May 2) – “They are stalling until they have enough votes to pass,” lobbyist Kevin Ellis explains. It’s 8:00 pm in the Statehouse in Montpelier and marijuana legalization has yet to be debated.
Although there are over 100 self-defenseless ducks on Melissa Hoffman’s ecologically innovative farm, she spoke passionately about the service that coyotes provide for the non-human maintenance of her 1,300-acre crop land. Coyotes help maintain the population of prey animals such as raccoons, rabbits, and squirrels who can devastate farmer’s crop yields in their search for food. On Friday, February 17, 2017 the Vermont State Senate’s House Committee on Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife, witnessed multiple testimonies based around re-thinking human’s relationships with the historically feared natural predator. Judy Bellairs of the VT Sierra Club spoke of the intrinsic and spiritual value of a healthy coyote population; the biologist Walter Medwid explained the necessity of predator populations for balanced a balanced ecosystem; and Rob Mullen told of the inhumane hunting methods and disrespectful social media postings of those who hunt coyotes in Vermont. The problem that all of these concerned citizens of Vermont were speaking about is the lack of research of Vermont’s coyote population as well as the absence of regulation of coyote hunting.
Located in the State House, situated at a large table in the center of a large room, 10-12 transportation committee members meet to discuss and ongoing case involving the Quechee Gorge Bridge in Quechee, Vermont. The issue at end is suicide via the bridge. Two members of VTrans sit in the front of the room and present an ongoing case involving the Quechee community. Earlier this past summer members of the community reached out to the State House for help. Since 2007 there have been 11 suicides in Vermont committed on bridges.
Burlington, April 13 – Thirty UVM students rallied for their rights on Wednesday. The group marched across campus from the Davis Center to the steps of the Waterman building. They chanted “Free tuition! Free tuition is our mission!” and “Hey hey! Ho ho!
February 25 — The Vermont State Senate passed the marijuana legalization bill Thursday with a 17-12 vote. This is only the first step toward legal weed in Vermont, but it is an important first. All similar laws in other states have been enacted through popular votes, not through the government. A poll of UVM students showed that 77 percent support marijuana legalization, compared with 55 percent of Vermonters in Vermont Public Radio’s study. Both studies were conducted February 22.
Montpelier, February 19—Tensions over fossil fuel divestment ran high at the joint Government Operations committee meeting at the State House this afternoon, and speakers found little middle ground. The committee met today to hear testimony on their proposal to divest the state retirement funds from ExxonMobil and coal extraction companies. One point of agreement was that “no one wants the pension fund to lose money,” in the words of Senator Anthony Pollina. Beyond that, however, the debate was highly polarized. Bill McKibben, long-time environmental activist and founder of 350.org, said that the intensity and urgency of climate change merit action beyond traditional government processes.