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Author Topic: News from Montpelier 2018 week 9  (Read 386 times)
Barbara
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« on: March 02, 2018, 08:58:53 PM »


The floor session on Friday opened with Jon Gailmor’s presentation of his song written in celebration of Town Meeting. It was a fitting way to bring the week to a close in advance of our break.
Two bills dominated the House floor Thursday and Friday. H. 237 an act relating to saliva testing was introduced by the Transportation committee. The committee took testimony on this bill over the last few years from many experts. Law enforcement officials and the doctor from the State Lab gave evidence as to the need and value of the saliva testing tool in determining the presence of a substance in an impaired driver stop. A representative from the ACLU spoke of the concern that individuals may be selectively targeted for suspicion of substance abuse. The committee had addressed the concern that an individual who legally uses a medication that is discerned by the test could be deemed impaired and have to prove they were not, by ensuring there was no evidence of impairment connected to the results. The saliva test would only give information as to the presence of a substance. Considered with other evidence from the stop it can be used to indicate impairment.
H. 675 was the second bill that drew heated and lengthy debate on the House Floor. As with H. 511 that morphed from an act about highway safety to the marijuana bill H. 675 was presented as an act relating to conditions of release prior to trial, but with a strike all amendment became a bill to offer nearly the same language as S. 221, the gun bill that was voted out of the Senate Wednesday. The Senate were able to achieve a unanimous vote on their version as well as have it endorsed by several gun enthusiast representatives. The language of H. 675 made a few adjustments to the level of burden of proof as well as the duration that an extreme risk protection order may be applied and also added language that pertains to domestic violence situations. The intent of this section was derived from H. 422, passed by the House last year. Two changes made to respond to concerns raised by H.422 as the House passed it were the clarification of the judicial process for the removal of any firearms  as well as the possible release of them at arraignment. The House was divided over making the changes to what had been passed by the Senate and a desire to pass cleanly what had already received the approval of the other chamber. An amendment that would have returned the original language to the bill failed and the House version passed on roll call.
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