Here is a sample of some of last week’s bills proposed in the Vermont Legislature:
H.70: “An act relating to prohibiting smoking in a motor vehicle when a child is present”
Sponsors: Frank, Bill; Burditt, Tom; Cheney, Margaret; French, Patsy; Koch, Thomas F. “Tom”; Krowinski, Jill; McFaun, Francis “Topper”; Trieber, Matthew; Wilson, Jeff
Summary: This bill prohibits smoking in a car when children are inside. There’s a $100 fine for violations.
My thoughts: This one’s easy to support — it’s short, simple, and kids get some protection from secondhand smoke.
H.83: “An act relating to green burials”
Sponsors: Yantachka, Mike; McCullough, Jim
Summary: This adds a definition of “natural burial ground” and permits the burial of human remains in such places.
My thoughts: Burial without embalming and pricey coffins? Sign me up!
S.48: “An act relating to decriminalization of possession of one ounce or less of marijuana”
Sponsors: Benning, Joe; Baruth, Philip; Ashe, Tim; Cummings, Ann; Fox, Sally; McCormack, Dick; Pollina, Anthony; White, Jeanette K.; Zuckerman, David
Summary: Possession by an adult at least 21 years of age of less than one ounce of marijuana becomes a civil penalty with a $100 fine.
My thoughts: This obviously doesn’t trump federal law, but it sure does free up local and state law enforcement to deal with stuff that really matters.
S.55: “An act relating to increasing efficiency in state government finance and lending operations”
Sponsors: Pollina, Anthony; Ayer, Claire; French, Eldred; McAllister, Norm; White, Jeanette K.
Summary: This creates a committee to study the feasibility of a state bank which will produce a report by January 2014.
My thoughts: With a lot of moving parts, a state bank (like any bank) is a complicated beast, but in my eyes, a worthwhile effort to keep the interest that the state pays in the state, rather than having it siphoned off to a big bank. The savings can be reflected in lower taxes or low-interest loans to in-state projects. This committee would be able to explain exactly how much savings we should expect, and could also explore various ways to provide the startup capital necessary to get the bank going.
S.58: “An act relating to Act 250 and oil pipelines”
Sponsors: Lyons, Virginia “Ginny”; Ashe, Tim; Baruth, Philip; Cummings, Ann; Fox, Sally; Galbraith, Peter W.; MacDonald, Mark A.; McAllister, Norm; McCormack, Dick; Pollina, Anthony; Rodgers, John; White, Jeanette K.; Zuckerman, David
Summary: This is the Senate version of H.27, which I covered last week.