by Guy Page
Hunting rifle suppressors up for House vote today – S281, the coyote hunting restriction bill, will go to the House floor today with a hunting rifle noise suppressor amendment recommended by Reps. George Till and Pat Brennan. The amendment, intended to protect hunters’ hearing, had been sent into potential oblivion to a House committee last week. But it emerged by an 8-0-3 vote after a gun control lobbyist reportedly expressed ‘concern’ about noise suppressors but did not or could not cite any concrete objections.
Speaking of the coyote part of S281, the Vermont Traditions Coalition red-flagged potential unconstitutional language about posting land. “We find ourselves concerned about the section of S.281 that directs the board to create some language around a need for permission in general to hunt with dogs on unposted lands,” VTC spokesman Mike Covey said. “Under interrogation, Representative [Jim, of Williston] McCullough indicated that provisions of this bill regarding ‘the release of dogs” means anywhere the dogs go, and the bill specifically calls for actions regarding unposted lands. Commissioner Herrick has testified regularly in both bodies that legislating access to unposted land is unconstitutional based on our constitutionally enshrined right to hunt, and that the Department of Fish and Wildlife could not support any language that did so.”
The Senate will vote today on expanding the deposit-required Bottle Bill to include all of the following: beer or other malt beverages, mineral waters, mixed wine drink drinks, wine, soda water, carbonated and noncarbonated soft drinks, carbonated and noncarbonated water, and all other nonalcoholic carbonated and noncarbonated drinks in liquid form and intended for human consumption, except for milk, dairy products, plant-based beverages, and nonalcoholic cider.
Eight senators not seeking re-election – Sens. Anthony Pollina (P-Washington), Windham County Sens. Becca Balint and Jeanette White, Alice Nitka (D-Windsor), and Cheryl Hooker (D) and Josh Terrenzini ( R) of Rutland County, Joe Benning (R-Caledonia) and Kesha Ram Hinsdale (D/P Chittenden) will not be running for re-election. Balint, Benning, and Ram-Hinsdale are seeking higher office, while others cite Zoom Fatigue and the Senate’s growing preference for doing what advocacy groups want rather than do the hard work of writing thoughtful policy.
According to a recent article in Stateline, Vermont and New Hampshire lead the nation in student to social worker ratio – one to 250 students, as compared to West Virginia, which is one to more than 15,000 students. Source: 802 Ed Newsletter.
Tax committee no-shows – It’s a beautiful Monday morning, and a scheduled House Ways & Means Committee meeting at 10:30 AM was not held due to lack of a quorum. Many of the lawmakers sending their regrets cited car trouble. Another was having stitches taken out. The House generally does not meet on Mondays, but leaders have scheduled committee and floor meetings in an effort to do the work needed to adjourn this week.
Gov. Phil Scott today signed into law these bills: H635, a study on racial criminal justice in motor vehicle violations; H655, telehealth licensure and registration; H741, City of St. Albans charter change changing clerk/treasurer positions from elected to appointed.