Roll call! S265, criminal threatening bill passes House

S 265, expanding criminal threatening to include threats to third persons, passed with an amendment in the State House of Representatives April 12, by a vote of 89-32.

Purpose: The underlying language of S.265 would allow for the legal punishment of citizens who threaten public officials.

A citizen prosecuted under S.265 could be sentenced to up to two years. A fine between $1000 and $2000 is also in play.

The key language in section 1.f of the bill states, “A person who violates subsection (a) of this section with the intent to terrify, intimidate, or unlawfully influence the conduct of a candidate for public office, public servant, election official, or public employee in any decision, opinion, recommendation, vote, or other exercise of discretion taken in capacity as a candidate for public office, public servant, election official, or public employee, or with the intent to retaliate against a … for any previous action taken in capacity as a candidate for public office, public servant, election official, or public employee, shall be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than $2,000.00, or both.” Additionally, S.265 makes it more difficult for a defendant’s legal defense to claim that the defendant was unable to carry out their threat.

The Notte Amendment adds sexual assault to the Senate’s list of illegal conduct, and reorders section of S.265 to make more logical sense.

Analysis: Those voting YES believe that the increased levels of conflict between citizens and school board members and other public official across the country, particularly in regard to Critical Race Theory (CRT) and controversial Covid policies, warrants increased protections for elected officials from threats of violence, above those of ordinary citizens. In Vermont, they point to recent allegations of threats to legislators, election officials, healthcare workers, neighbors of shooting ranges and women of color in Vermont. Protecting the ‘victim’ from further attacks could give the courts license to remove an individual’s firearms.

Those voting NO believe S.265 infringes on the Constitutional rights to free speech and to petition government for redress of grievances. S.265 could potentially result in citizens being punished for criticism (rather than actual threats) of certain groups, which is clearly protected speech under the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

The ACLU of Vermont chose not to endorse S.265, warning lawmakers that an earlier version of S.265 could be applied too broadly and chill “certain forms of political hyperbole.” Vermont law enforcement already has the authority to deal with truly violent threats. Officials chose not to prosecute recent threats under current, which suggests a conscious decision by officials, rather than a failure of Vermont law. S.265 could also give the courts more freedom to violate an individual’s 2nd Amendment rights by removing an individual’s firearms while the case is being processed.

As Recorded in the House Journal, Tuesday, April 12, 2022: “Pending the question, Shall the bill pass in concurrence with proposal of amendment?, Rep. LaClair of Barre Town demanded the Yeas and Nays, which demand was sustained by the Constitutional number. The Clerk proceeded to call the roll and the question, Shall the bill pass in concurrence with proposal of amendment?, was decided in the affirmative. Yeas, 89. Nays, 32.” (Read the Journal, p. 1023 – 24 ).

View the floor debate on YouTube, Part 1 and Part 2

House Judiciary Committee meeting outlining S.265

These roll call reports are designed to help citizens understand how their elected representatives vote on key issues. The bills may or may not eventually become law. Click on the link to the bill page at the top of this post for an up to date status on the bill.

Roll Call! Senate Limits Speech by Broadening ‘Threat’ Definition (28-2), 2022
ACLU written testimony on S.265
National Rifle Association statement on S.265

How They Voted
(Click on your Rep’s name to send an email)

Sally Achey (R – Middletown Springs) – NO
Janet Ancel (D – Calais) – YES
Peter Anthony (D – Barre City) – YES
Norman Arrison (D – Weathersfield) – YES
Sarita Austin (D – Colchester) – YES
John Bartholomew (D – Hartland) – YES
Scott Beck (R – St. Johnsbury) – NO
Matthew Birong (D – Vergennes) – ABSENT
Alyssa Black (D – Essex) – YES
Tiffany Bluemle (D – Burlington) – YES
Thomas Bock (D – Chester) – YES
Seth Bongartz (D – Manchester) – YES
Michelle Bos-Lun (D – Westminster) – YES
Erin Brady (D – Williston) – YES
Patrick Brennan (R – Colchester) – ABSENT
Timothy Briglin (D – Thetford) – YES
Jana Brown (D – Richmond) – YES
Nelson Brownell (D – Pownal) – YES
Jessica Brumsted (D – Shelburne) – YES
Thomas Burditt (R – West Rutland) – YES
Mollie Burke (P/D – Brattleboro) – YES
Elizabeth Burrows (P/D – West Windsor) – YES
Scott Campbell (D – St. Johnsbury) – YES
Bill Canfield (R – Fair Haven) – NO
Seth Chase (D – Colchester) –  YES
Kevin “Coach” Christie (D – Hartford) – YES
Brian Cina (P/D – Burlington) – ABSENT
Sara Coffey (D – Guilford) – YES
Selene Colburn (P/D – Burlington) – YES
Hal Colston (D – Winooski) – YES
Peter Conlon (D – Cornwall) – YES
Sarah Copeland-Hanzas (D – Bradford) – YES
Timothy Corcoran (D – Bennington) – YES
Mari Cordes (D/P – Lincoln) – YES
Lawrence Cupoli (R – Rutland City) – NO
Lynn Dickinson (R – St. Albans Town) – ABSENT
Karen Dolan (D – Essex) –  YES
Kari Dolan (D – Waitsfield) – YES
Anne Donahue (R – Northfield) – NO
Kate Donnally (D – Hyde Park) – ABSENT
David Durfee (D – Shaftsbury) – YES
Caleb Elder (D – Starksboro) – YES
Alice Emmons (D – Springfield) – ABSENT
Peter Fagan (R – Rutland City) – NO
Martha Feltus (R – Lyndon) – YES
John Gannon (D – Wilmington) –  YES
Rey Garofano (D – Essex) – YES
Leslie Goldman (D – Bellows Falls) – YES
Kenneth Goslant (R – Northfield) – NO
Maxine Grad (D – Moretown) – YES
Rodney Graham (R – Williamstown) – NO
James Gregoire (R – Fairfield) –  NO
Lisa Hango (R – Berkshire) – NO
James Harrison (R – Chittenden) – NO
Robert Helm (R – Fair Haven) – NO
Mark Higley (R – Lowell) – NO
Robert Hooper (D – Burlington) – ABSENT
Mary Hooper (D – Montpelier) – YES
Philip Hooper (D – Randolph) – ABSENT
Lori Houghton (D – Essex) – YES
Mary Howard (D – Rutland) – ABSENT
Kathleen James (D – Manchester) –  ABSENT
Stephanie Jerome (D – Brandon) – ABSENT
Kimberly Jessup (D – Middlesex) – YES
John Kascenska (R – Burke) – ABSENT
John Killacky (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Charles Kimbell (D – Woodstock) – ABSENT
Warren Kitzmiller (D – Montpelier) – ABSENT
Emilie Kornheiser (D – Brattleboro) – YES
Jill Krowinski (D – Burlington) – PRESIDING
Larry Labor (R – Morgan) – ABSENT
Robert LaClair (R – Barre) – NO
Martin LaLonde (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Diane Lanpher (D – Vergennes) –YES
Wayne LaRoche (R – Franklin) – ABSENT

Paul Lefebvre (R – Newark) – ABSENT
Samantha Lefebvre (R – Orange) – NO
Felisha Leffler (R – Enosburgh) – YES
William Lippert (D – Hinesburg) – YES
Emily Long (D – Newfane) – YES
Michael Marcotte (R – Coventry) – ABSENT
Marcia Martel (R – Waterford) – ABSENT
James Masland (D – Thetford) – YES
Christopher Mattos (R – Milton) – NO
Michael McCarthy (D – St. Albans City) – YES
Curtis McCormack (D – Burlington) – YES
Patricia McCoy (R – Poultney) – NO
James McCullough (D – Williston) – NO
Francis McFaun (R – Barre Town) – NO
Leland Morgan (R – Milton) – NO
Michael Morgan (R – Milton) – NO
Kristi Morris (D – Springfield) – YES
Mary Morrissey (R – Bennington) – NO
Michael Mrowicki (D – Putney) – YES
Emma Mulvaney-Stanak (D – Burlington) – ABSENT
Barbara Murphy (I – Fairfax) – YES
Logan Nicoll (D – Ludlow) – ABSENT
Michael Nigro (D – Bennington) – ABSENT
Robert Norris (R – Sheldon) – NO
Terry Norris (I – Shoreham) – YES
William Notte (D – Rutland) – YES
Daniel Noyes (D – Wolcott) – YES
John O’Brien (D – Tunbridge) – YES
Carol Ode (D – Burlington) – YES
“Woody” Page (R – Newport City) – ABSENT
Kelly Pajala (I – Londonderry) – YES
John Palasik (R – Milton) – ABSENT
Joseph Parsons (R – Newbury) – NO
Carolyn Partridge (D – Windham) – YES
Avram Patt (D – Worcester) – YES
Henry Pearl (D – Danville) – YES
Arthur Peterson (R – Clarendon) – NO
Ann Pugh (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Barbara Rachelson (D/P – Burlington) – YES
Lucy Rogers (D – Waterville) – YES
Carl Rosenquist (R – Georgia) – NO
Larry Satcowitz (D – Randolph) –  YES
Robin Scheu (D – Middlebury) – YES
Heidi Scheuermann (R – Stowe) – NO
Charles “Butch” Shaw (R – Pittsford) – NO
Amy Sheldon (D – Middlebury) – YES
Laura Sibilia (I – Dover) – YES
Katherine Sims (D – Craftsbury) – YES
Taylor Small (P/D – Winooski) – YES
Brian Smith (R – Derby) – NO
Harvey Smith (R – New Haven) – ABSENT
Trevor Squirrell (D – Underhill) – YES
Gabrielle Stebbins (D – Burlington) – YES
Thomas Stevens (D – Waterbury) – YES
Vicki Strong (R – Albany) – NO
Linda Joy Sullivan (D – Dorset) – YES
Heather Suprenant (D – Barnard) – YES
Curt Taylor (D – Colchester) – YES
Thomas Terenzini (R – Rutland Town) – ABSENT
George Till (D – Jericho) – YES
Tristan Toleno (D – Brattleboro) – ABSENT
Casey Toof (R – St. Albans Town) – NO
Maida Townsend (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Joseph “Chip” Troiano (D – Stannard) – YES
Tanya Vyhovsky (P/D – Essex) – YES
Matt Walker (R – Swanton) – NO
Tommy Walz (D – Barre City) – YES
Kathryn Webb (D – Shelburne) – YES
Kirk White (P/D – Bethel) – ABSENT
Rebecca White (D – Hartford) – YES
Dane Whitman (D – Bennington) – YES
Terri Lynn Williams (R – Granby) – NO
Theresa Wood (D – Waterbury) – YES
David Yacovone (D – Morristown) – YES
Michael Yantachka (D – Charlotte) – YES

Categories: Legislation

10 replies »

  1. Why are these people so afraid of their own constituency, if they are truly acting with our best interests in mind ? Could it be that year after year they have proven that they listen to the squeakiest wheel with the most money ?

  2. Roll Call! Again: You people who voted “yes” are idiot morons! “Threatened” YET? You know my number…come & git’ me! You shall N-E-V-E-R silence my voice, Marxists!!!

    Went to elementary school with your nemesis – Sean Hannity. Looking forward to my arrest today.

  3. …..And look at all the Republican RINO’s who were “absent”. Pathetic. Thanks for nothing, as always cowards.

  4. Perhaps the next step should be building a wall around the Capitol complex for their protection from their constituents. Perhaps it’s time for taxpayers to stop funding them for our protection. Boston Tea Party 2.0. Instead of tossing tea into the harbor – erect burn barrels to set tax bills ablaze or maybe a Cominsky Park 1979 – blow up them up to smithereens. They will not stop this madness until their fuel is gone….our money is their fuel.

  5. This is so nefarious. These low lives in the legislature saw a multitude of constituents contacting them right after the 2020 Presidential election justifiably angry as they believed there was some degree of election fraud. There was. (Whoops! Now I’ll be followed by DHS too!) Hooray!

    Aggrieved by their constituent’s reactions & by the reality that so many were and are conservative/libertarian/republican – the legislators sent ALL of their constituent’s letters & identities to the State Police claiming that this reaction to the election results was: “Threatening”.

    When the police read them & came to the (obvious) determination that NONE were, in fact, “threatening” and thereby NO action could be taken under the law – these BIRD BRAINS commenced to figure out some other manner in which to keep the voters silent & suppressed: Disallow them their Right to Free Speech!!!

    Pretty ingenious, huh? Ummmmm…….NO.


    It’s now just after 3PM, and I remain a free citizen. Come & get me, Commies!

    I’ll be around until Mass time. You can drag me down the church isles then.

  6. If you feel your county prosecutor is negligent in failing to respond to your concerns as it relates to laws that are repugnant or “where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrobate them.” – Miranda vs. Arizona, 384 US 436 p. 491.

  7. It’s critically important that these narcissist’s have more ways to inflate their head sizes to be in proportion to their ego’s.

  8. Why did Republican Tom Burditt vote in favor of silencing the constituents in his district?

    Rinos are destroying the Republican party..

    Maybe every one of these people should receive a copy of our constitution and read it until they understand it..

    I hope people are paying attention and adjust their voting accordingly

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