Dick Sears

Prospects for marijuana legalization dim

House lawmakers missed the deadline for a bill that would legalize pot possession. Now the future of the legislation is unclear.

‘Error’ in private school rules has some feeling déjà vu

“Those communities are not crazy to think it is part of a philosophical push that has been in the air for some years,” said one lawmaker, harking back to failed legislation on public money for private education.

Bills aim to do more to protect animals from cruelty

Some legislators and advocates are calling for tougher penalties and standards of care in the wake of a horse’s killing, while others say the issue is lax enforcement.

Lawmakers consider steeper penalties for fentanyl distribution

Heroin is increasingly laced with the synthetic opioid, said to be 50 to 100 times more potent. Fentanyl has been linked with the rise in overdose deaths.

Dick Sears: Setting the record straight on S.79

The president’s orders did little to solve the challenge of protecting us from terrorists and had many adverse consequences.

Anticipated increase in ICE detainees puts Vermont out of state inmates in limbo

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement demand for prison beds is impacting the search for a new placement for Vermont prisoners held out of state.

Senate committee advances bill challenging Trump immigration orders

The bill is expected to be on the Senate floor next week. It would require approval by the governor for state and local police to participate in federal immigration raids and ban formation of registries based on religion.

PFOA remediation bill clears Senate, heads to House

A House member said the bill has wide support in that chamber and is likely to pass soon. It requires payment from companies found to have released the chemical.

Lawmakers quickly address immigration bill

A joint hearing of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees began taking testimony one day after Gov. Scott laid out the proposal. Some Republicans felt the measure was unnecessary.

Lawmakers mull medical marijuana expansion

Many in the industry welcomed proposals to change the medical marijuana registry. Opinions on how it should be changed vary.

Senators hear from residents about life with PFOA

On a visit to Bennington, committee members were told of the financial and emotional fallout of dealing with contaminated water. “My home is not sellable. It has zero value,” one man said.

School sexual misconduct cases lead to scrutiny of legal loopholes

Sen. Dick Sears said he found it alarming that teachers charged with sexual misconduct could move from school to another.

Lawmakers mull tweaks to pretrial services

Many say the system, which seeks to redirect people from the courts to mental health or substance abuse programs when appropriate, isn’t reaching its potential.

Bill targets polluters for cost of solving PFOA contamination

An advocacy group says the legislation could be leverage in the state’s negotiations with a company believed to be responsible for PFOA in Vermont water supplies.