‘Criminal threatening’ bill gives politicians, gov workers more protection than general public

by Guy Page

S265, the ‘criminal threatening’ bill, passed the Vermont Senate 28-2 on Feb. 17 and is now in the House Judiciary Committee.

In his cartoon above, Vermonter Dan Jeffries does what political cartoonists do: use hyperbole for humor and to make a point. No, the bill as passed by the Senate does not explicitly allow incumbent politicians to toss challengers into jail.

But it does treat criminal threats against them – and almost all other government workers – as twice as bad in terms of sentencing.

S265 doubles the existing one-year maximum prison sentence for criminal theatening to two years when committed against a government person or on government property. The first paragraph of S265 is existing law (with a tweak or two) covering everyone, with no distinction between government and general public:

“A person shall not by words or conduct knowingly: (1) threaten another person or a group of particular persons; and (2) as a result of the threat, place the other person in reasonable apprehension of death or serious bodily injury to the other person, a person in the group of particular persons, or any other person. A person who violates this section shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.”

Then the added penalty for threatening government officials kicks in:

“A person who violates subsection (a) of this section by making a threat that places any person in reasonable apprehension that death or serious bodily injury will occur at a public or private school; post-secondary 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, or both.”

Supporters of the bill say the alleged rise in threats from the general public against public officials (Jan. 6 in Washington D.C., angry school board meetings, an angry caller to the Vermont Secretary of State) make the legislation necessary. Critics say it turns public servants into a privileged, protected class of elites, and that existing law already offers protection against criminal threatening.

In the Senate, only Sens. Joe Benning (R-Caledonia) and Russ Ingalls (R-Essex/Orleans) voted no. S265 is not on the House Judiciary agenda this week. Party and contact information about the members of House Judiciary are available on the Vermont Legislature website, and appear below:

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18 replies »

  1. Does this bill give them “protection” or immunity to do as they will without fear of contradiction ? (absolute power) “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power, corrupts absolutely.” Vote them out !

  2. Another means of SILENCING the people they are intended, as per the Constitution, to SERVE. Actually limiting free speech doesn’t seem to be moving forward as they hoped, so this is but another way to have the public silenced! These lunatics are frightening! They need to be KICKED OUT!

    Uh oh……I used the word “kicked”! A “bodily threat”! Come & get me, you Marxist spineless WEENIES!

  3. Just more special treatment for the people who are supposed to represent us. These people have done nothing but take away our rights. Never give up a freedom in the name of freedom! This is more encroachment on our freedoms.

    What makes these people special anyway?

    And: God bless you Guy Page.

  4. Special laws for protected classes? What if one is a BIPOC/Trans/Muslim? Would THAT now merit a life sentence? When laws are not applied equally then they are unconstitutional, period. Too bad we don’t have any Harry Truman’s nowadays, “if you can’t stand the heat then get out of the kitchen”, do what we all must do when threatened, ARM yourselves, fools! Think calling 9-11 will do ANYTHING? It might help if they bother to investigate, IF..

  5. When oh when are Vermonters going to learn? These so call legislators are Statists who wish to Rule citizens. They continue to feather their ruling nest with idiotic legislations such as this bill. Why do Vermonters continue to take the bait from these destructionists? George Carlin said it best “Never underestimate the stupidity of people in large groups”. Regrettably, This is what Vermont is up against.

  6. So, if I were attending a rally and everyone was handling Ukraine flags and signage and my sign stated “Putin Rocks”, does that make me a double harm to society? Lordy, Lordy, we have a 4.5 Billion dollar state deficit and a housing crisis and they’re curious as to why the electorate are edgy. The “bill” reeks of unconstitutionality, and our “representatives” are once again wasting taxpayer time for personal affronts. November doesn’t come soon enough.

  7. Guess we know who really matters in this state…….and its not joe or jill the taxpayer

  8. Sorry for being off topic here but I got something from NRA saying that a gun bill S4 in Senate Judiciary Committee will be discussed TOMORROW and it’s some kind of run around the S30 gun bill to make changes to it or something by incorporating that (S30) language into S4! Does anyone know anything about this? It sounds like sneaky business. There are other issues I’d like to have time to focus on but this anti 2A keeps coming back like a bad penny.

    • This is a ‘strike all’ amendment that allows them to gut the original bill, s4, and replace it with a version of s30. if at first you don’t succeed….. also, senate scheduled to vote on s30 veto. more in tomorrow’s Vermont Daily Chronicle.

  9. GOP members – Please support Jim Sexton’s Rule Change at the March 19th GOP meeting. It adds the change:

    1. The state committee will not support or promote any candidate for elective office who:

    “(d) does not fully support the current VTGOP Platform ”

    If State GOP stops supporting RINOs, then we’ll have less people angry at elected officials who often behave and vote as if they are democrats.

  10. When I see laws like this one, it makes me wonder if these people are afraid their policies are going to bring on a revolt of the masses — that will start with statements of people who are fed up with the king.

  11. More proof of how the Legislators believe they are far more important than you are.
    When this passes the House of Representatives, ( not if ) it will ensure that the punishment for a crime, ( already addressed by our Laws ) will carry twice the punishment than it would for anyone not working in Government.
    In effect, another step to putting a fence around our Statehouse. Because just like in DC, they no longer believe it is ” The Peoples House. ” It is their Kingdom and if you dare to question anything they say or do you will pay dearly.
    There only needs to be one reason this should never be approved ;
    The same reason that penalties for killing a Police Officer or Law Enforcement Official should not carry a harsher sentence than killing anyone else.
    Before the Pro Nouns hurt any feelings understand this, my Father was a career Police Officer and Deputy Sheriff. His life was as valuable as yours, no more, no less.
    A few years ago State Police Sergeant Walter Johnson was struck and killed while putting down Stop Strips by a man trying to evade the Police.
    There was an immediate push by many in the Legislature, including Governor Douglas to make this a Capitol Offense, something which Vermont did not have at the time and still doesn’t.
    My Fathers Life was precious to everyone that knew him, but it was no more valuable than yours, no less valuable than yours.
    To put oneself above others is the epitome of self indulgence.
    Just like other Bills this Legislature have passed recently, we have Laws that already cover it.
    Just stop it and do something productive for a change.

  12. how come our legislators didn’t raise this concern when all the antifa and blm protests were destroying private business, people would get threaten an they would harass politicians while dining out or out in pubic? double standard an as a typical politician not taking any responsibility for causing all this unrest with their policies. please vote them out of office

  13. Another way for the elite rulers to distinguish themselves as more important than the plebes over whom they rule.

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