Bucchieri: S265 treats public servants like privileged elites

“If someone gets emotional or heated because they don’t like the direction a school board or elected officials are going in, are they in danger of being arrested, since it appears ‘threatening’ to someone?”

by Wendy Bucchieri

S265, the “criminal threatening” bill, just passed the Vermont Senate and has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee. It proposes (in its own words) “to expand the scope of the crime of criminal threatening to include threats to third persons. The bill also proposes eliminating a person’s lack of intent, or inability to carry out the threat as an affirmative defense.”

In section H of this bill, the Senators list themselves and all public servants as special recipients, with special mention to the protections of being threatened. This bill expands the “Threat” for themselves and its definitions but diminishes the ‘We the Vermonters’ ability to be innocent until proven guilty.

Not having to prove ‘intent’ allows this bill to be used to violate, or at least to really dampen our ability to address our elected officials with grievances. If someone gets emotional or heated because they don’t like the direction a school board or elected officials are going in, are they in danger of being arrested, since it appears “threatening” to someone? The law is very subjective.

And don’t say it can’t happen. We saw DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas call for parents protesting at school board meetings to be treated as domestic terrorists. Free speech is definitely under attack.

In this divisive time, we need to see our legislators looking out for the people they represent – not for themselves. Any laws made that elevates one group of people over another causes division. The fact that these Senators have elevated themselves above the people that they are supposed to serve is telling.

Our laws should be plainly stated for all citizens – period!

My advice for public officials in this hour: if you can’t take the heat, then don’t take the seat!

The author is an Arlington resident.

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6 replies »

  1. “Show me where it says that protesters are supposed to be polite and peaceful. I can show you outraged citizens are what made America what she is and led to major milestones.”

  2. Kiah Morris and her husband James Lawton threaten people who criticize her actions and motives even though she is a public personality. She’s in charge of RAD now so bet your bottom dollar she sics her sycophants on you for questioning her silly words and shady deeds.

  3. I suppose that even a comment here, on Vermont Daily would constitute a threat. For example, if I were to state that Sen. Sears was off his rocker and ignorant of Vermont’s Constitution for his work on this bill, then I am guilty of threatening? Would Mr. Bucchieri, by writing his comments also be complicit of violating S.265? If Sen. Sears deems these words threatening, then yes. What a dangerous and slippery slope to allow this elitist legislation to even be brought for a committee vote, say nothing of a floor vote. The amendments proposed by S.265 for 13 VSA 1702 are so ambiguous that simple gestures and a “Hello” could be considered threatening. It is legislative overreaction and frankly, garbage. These alleged legislators seem to believe they are above any laws they create. That they are “special recipients” of this unconstitutional mandate shows the collective contempt many legislators have toward the people they were elected to serve. The 1st. Amendment of The US Constitution not withstanding, Vermont’s founders had a few things that they enshrined as important as well, in the Vermont Constitution.
    For our forgetful legislative members-
    Article 13: That the people have a right to freedom of speech, and of writing and publishing their sentiments, concerning the transactions of government, and therefore the freedom of the press ought not to be restrained.
    Article 20: That the people have a right to assemble together to consult for their common good–to instruct their Representatives–and to apply to the Legislature for redress of grievances, by address, petition or remonstrance.
    And finally for voters whom missed out on civics class in school:
    Article 18: That frequent recurrence to fundamental principles, and a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, industry, and frugality, are absolutely necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty, and keep government free; the people ought, therefore to pay particular attention to these points, in the choice of officers and representatives, and have a right, in a legal way, to exact a due and constant regard to them, from their legislators and magistrates, in making and executing such laws as are necessary for the good government of the State.
    It seems the voters of Vermont have never seen or choose to disregard Article 18’s instructions to us.
    S.265, if codified represents a new low for Vermont politicians, comparable to Trudeau’s recent power grab to silence dissent, Maduro’s attacks on Venezuelan democracy and the turmoil in Western Europe.
    If a Vermont politician is actually threatened, there are current laws to handle that. If the same politician cannot tolerate criticism and mean tweets, this individual is in the wrong job and should resign.

  4. Ah, yes, Act S.265. The needless bill rushed forward by those stalwart, albeit timid, hand wringing and bed wetting progressive liberal legislators, who grandly pontificate that they know better than we do; who cringe at sudden noises, wilt at harsh language, and are absolutely terrified at different opinions voiced by the people they are suppose to represent. Aren’t we lucky to have them cowering under the Golden Doom in Montpelier for us?..

  5. Thanks for surfacing this discussion. It is a flagrant violation of our right to free speech, address our legislators, and cruel and unusual punishment. Time to stand up for our rights. Get to know the constitution – both the US and Vermont Constitutions.