By 28-2 vote, Senate OKs ‘Criminal threatening’ bill

Senate Judiciary approved S265 on Tuesday.

by Guy Page

The Vermont Senate yesterday gave preliminary approval to S265, the ‘criminal threatening’ bill that would impose prison sentences of up to two years for threatening public officials and others. 

The bill was approved by Senate Judiciary this week by a 4-1 vote. Sen. Joe Benning (R-Caledonia) was the dissenting vote. He and Sen. Russ Ingalls (R-Essex Orleans) were the only two senators to vote against it. The roll call was requested by Sen. Brian Collamore (R-Rutland), who voted yes. The third and “final reading” and vote on S265 is scheduled for today. If approved as expected, the bill will go to the House.

During committee discussions, Chair Dick Sears said the bill is necessary to protect (among others) store employees explicitly threatened by people angered at being asked to wear masks and school board, and other government officials faced with hostile threats. Earlier drafts of the bill had prison sentences of up to five years. 

The bill adds two clauses to a bill passed to protect social services workers, in the wake of the 2015 shooting of Lara Sobel in Barre:

“A person who [makes] a threat that places any person in reasonable apprehension that death or serious bodily injury will occur at a public or private school; postsecondary education institution; place of worship; polling place during election activities; the Vermont State House; or any federal, State, or municipal building shall be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than $2,000.00, or both.”


“A person who [acts] with the intent to terrify, intimidate, or unlawfully influence a person to prevent that person from complying with State laws or rules, State court or administrative orders, or State executive orders shall be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than $2,000.00, or both.”

14 replies »

  1. I am sure they will use this bill to the fullest extent to terrorize and intimate all opposing political views. I can only imagine how hypersensitive, progressive liberal snowflakes will use this bill to root out and penalize people for the slightest micro aggression or perceived threat. I haven’t felt safe in this state for a long time, equal protection under the law is almost non-existent.

  2. That figured! So what are these…….ahh….. fine, upstanding examples of democracy going to do next that will allow them to test their new authority ?

  3. Does anyone believe that this bill will be applied to the Antifa’s and other fascist/left wing political groups that routinely bully and threaten those that don’t subscribe to their charters? We’ve all seen this mob in Burlington , Middlebury and Bennington. Don’t think for a minute this bill address those violent prone mobs. At the very least one can note the hypocrisy that will routinely show up with this anyone-but-woke-groups bill.

  4. Does this mean that the marxists pushing their Ranked choice voting scam on TV ads will cease and desist that lie threatening Our Republic??

  5. A giant leap forward for progressivism and totalitarianism to firmly usurp Vermont’s Constitution.
    The ability to twist “reasonable apprehension” and “unlawfully influence” into a thought crime is now
    available. There is little doubt that the House will fall all over themselves to pass this, with a veto-proof majority. To rub a bit of salt into this open wound, those that would challenge this in the judicial system must pay tax dollars to the state to defend it as well.

  6. I can see our big government abusing this. Define “criminally threatening”. So when our governor threatens our freedom of choice with illegal mandates that’s ok?

  7. Ok, So, who gets to decide what is threatening to someone, or something, or not? Is, “I wish you would get hit by a train”, to a School Board Member, a violation of law, or not. Even if the S.B.Member is easily terrified by trains and may consider this very upsetting, a murderous promise of physical harm and possible death. Would it make a difference if the offender was a Locomotive Engineer? That if only two Senators could find fault with such a poorly written and suggested bill, is a disgrace and a statement to the supposed intelligence of our legislative representatives. If only we could flush them all down the toilet and start all over again! Opps, can I suggest that? Well, it is better, than something about a firing squad!

  8. Marie Antoinette (“Let them eat cake”); Justin Trudeau (arrest them all, we’ll stop this protest); the Vermont Legislature (the existing criminal laws against threatening a person are not strict enough for special people like us. We can now convict anyone who disagrees with us by saying we felt threatened.)

    • The current Canadian assertion of martial law (the invocation of the Emergencies Act) is an interesting precursor to what I expect will be similar actions occurring throughout the world in the near future. Canada’s parliamentary governance enables this kind of tyranny and makes it sustainable because the Canadian people have nowhere near the constitutional protections we have in the U.S. Parliamentary elections in Canada, for example, occur only at the whim of the Governor General, who represents the authority of the British Crown (Queen Elizabeth).

      But make no mistake. A tyranny of the majority can easily be initiated here in the U.S. too. And Vermont’s ‘criminal threatening’ bill, S265, is an example of how this kind of tyranny can supersede our individual constitutional Bill of Rights… at least temporarily. Which may be just long enough for the State to fulfill its nefarious intentions.

      We already know the IRS can attach our wages and bank accounts. And if a U.S. citizen is deemed to have broken a law (for example in the commission of selling illegal drugs), law enforcement has the authority to impound all of the assets owned by the perpetrator. Their car, their home, etc. And we also now know that constitutional due process can be circumvented… as witnessed by the incarceration of many January 6th ‘insurrectionists’ in Washington D.C. jails.

      I had always thought I needed to be prepared to protect myself from social anarchy – the collapse of governmental authority. But it’s now becoming more evident that Reagan was right – only in a different way than even he anticipated. Our government (especially our Vermont government) can’t protect us from tyranny. Our government is on the verge of embodying that tyranny. And as long as we have two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch, some of us are going to be on the menu, if for no other reason than that we may voice disagreement with our public officials. According to S265, even this missive can be deemed to be illegal.

      Praemonitus praemunitus.

  9. How do we enact a law against elected officials making a law against their electorate after they’ve been elected, to protect themselves from their electorate?
    Can we say: THIS IS NOT A FREE STATE that has legislators enacting laws against those electing them.
    I feel VERY unsafe in a State where this is allowed to go to even vote.
    Tyrannical fascists in situ.

  10. Here we go –> We have a group of Senators who take an oath to Vermonters – “I ____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will be true and faithful to the State of Vermont, and that I will not, directly or indirectly, do any act or thing injurious to the Constitution or Government thereof”. (If an oath) “So help me God”. (If an affirmation) “Under the pains and penalties of perjury”.

    Apparently, Vermont legislation (at least the Senators thus far) have decided we no longer need ‘Due Process’. This is why we already have laws on the books that protect people from threats. But it also protects people of wrongfully charges as being threatening. We go to court and if the Judge believes it is valid request a Restraining Order is written. Violation of that order can result in jail. That is how our civic society is setup, under the Constitution, with Due Process. But Vermont Senators are commiting purjury when they willfully activate a bill (law) that becomes injurious to the Constitution.

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