Race, drug bills get committee review this week

By Guy Page

It’s the time of year when bills are being pushed through the committee approval pipeline ahead of the mid-March “crossover” deadline. Legislation getting committee time this week stands a fair chance of committee approval. Bills on House Committee agendas this week:

In House General, Housing & Military Affairs:

H96, creating the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Development Task Force to “begin the process of dismantling institutional, structural, and systemic discrimination in Vermont, both past and present….voting members of the Task Force shall include representatives of historically disadvantaged and disenfranchised groups that have suffered from institutional, structural, and systemic discrimination in Vermont. The nonvoting members of the Task Force shall include legislative members.”

H329 to “amend the laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, education, public accommodations, and housing to provide that harassment need not be severe and pervasive to constitute unlawful discrimination and to establish a uniform six-year statute of limitations for claims of discrimination in employment, public accommodations, and housing.”

H273, promoting racial and social equity in land access and property ownership.

House Judiciary:

H505, reclassification of penalties for unlawfully possessing, dispensing, and selling a regulated drug, is up for discussion and a possible vote. Two weeks ago the Vermont State’s Attorneys office told the committee it couldn’t support a draft of H505 that considers 30 grams of cocaine – worth $3K on the street – as a ‘personal use’ low misdemeanor. A Feb. 17 draft does not appear to have changed that amount. 

H546, creating a Division of Racial Justice Statistics, is scheduled for a possible vote Wednesday. 

House Natural Resources, Fish & Wildlife:

H606, community resilience and biodiversity protection, would require 50% of total land area in Vermont to be protected or conserved from development by 2050, per the ‘50 by 50’ international advocacy effort. 

H. 492 would restructure the Natural Resources Board. 

House Transportation will work all week on its committee Transportation Bill, outlining all state transportation spending and programs, including Climate Change strategies. 

Bills passed recently by the House this week include:

H.491creation of the City of Essex Junction and the adoption of the City charter
H.515banking, insurance, and securities
H.708approval of an amendment to the charter of the City of Burlington
H.709miscellaneous agricultural subjects
H.411retrieval and use of covered animals
H.556exempting property owned by Vermont-recognized Native American tribes from property tax

Categories: Legislation

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6 replies »

  1. They now play 2 National Anthems at football and basketball games, The National Anthem and The Black National Anthem? Does this mean we have a policy of Apartheid? Are white people required to stand for The Black National Anthem?

  2. At some point race related legislation is going to have to establish some parameters. How much melanin does one need in their skin to be considered for one group or the other? It has to be quantified, otherwise its just hogwash. Many light colored skin people have had to get the short end of the stick their whole lives and for generations. Many darker skin folks have had a life of ease. One could argue these demographics constitute a smaller portion of the population but how will legislation account for this? Until some numbers are included in the writing of these bills, none of them can hold up in court.

  3. The Vermont Legislature is on a high virtue-signaling diet this year. It works a lot like too much fiber or metamucil…produces a lot of “throughput” but no real substance.

  4. We’re told above: “H96, creating the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Development Task Force to “begin the process of dismantling institutional, structural, and systemic discrimination in Vermont, both past and present.”

    What exactly will this Task Force be dismantling?…….During legislative testimony on social justice issues in the last session all video recorded, Mark Hughes, Executive Director of Justice for all Vermont and other witnesses were asked to name examples of systemic or structural discrimination or racism in Vermont.

    Neither Mark Hughes nor any of the other expert witnesses could cite a single example of systemic or structural discrimination or racism in Vermont…….So again, what will this task Force be dismantling?

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