Dick Sears

Sen. Dick Sears, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, backs bill to expand domestic terrorism law to deal with cases like the alleged incident at Fair Haven Union High School
Angela Evancie / VPR

The Vermont Senate has given unanimous approval to legislation that updates the state's domestic terrorism laws as a way to help thwart future mass shootings.

Senate Judiciary chairman Dick Sears is looking to modify Vermont's domestic terrorism laws as a way to deal with future cases of violence
Angela Evancie / VPR File

After a Vermont Supreme Court ruling last week said Jack Sawyer could not be held without bail because his actions did not constitute "an attempt" to commit a crime, the Senate Judiciary Committee is exploring the state's domestic terrorism law as a way to charge similar crimes in the future.

Essex Orleans Democratic Sen. John Rodgers is running a write-in campaign to be the Democratic nominee for governor.
Bob Kinzel / VPR

Opponents of a comprehensive gun control bill are making a last-minute effort to encourage Gov. Phil Scott to veto the legislation.

Bennington County Sen. Dick Sears says he believes the gun bills on which lawmakers generally agree will do more for public safety than the gun legislation that has been more divisive.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

S.55, a piece of firearms legislation, has quickly become the most divisive issue in Montpelier. But not all the proposed gun measures under consideration this year are proving so controversial.

A bump stock next to a disassembled .22-caliber rifle, shown in 2013. While the House passed a ban on bump stocks Friday, the Senate version of S.55 did not include such a provision.
Allen Breed / Associated Press File

On Friday evening, after 10 full hours of debate, House lawmakers voted 85-59 to approve sweeping changes to Vermont’s gun laws. But the bill, called S.55, still has some hurdles to clear in Montpelier. Here’s what’s next for S.55.

Sen. Dick Sears, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, backs bill to expand domestic terrorism law to deal with cases like the alleged incident at Fair Haven Union High School
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Times Argus

During the course of the week, the House is scheduled to review a Senate bill that raises the age to purchase a gun from 18 to 21.

Bennington County Sen. Dick Sears, seen here on the Senate floor in a 2016 file photo.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

As lawmakers nationwide consider new ways to get guns out of the hands of dangerous people, the Vermont Senate has advanced a bill that would make it easier for police to seize firearms from people who pose an "extreme risk" to themselves or others.

In foreground, House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, left, and Bennington County Sen. Dick Sears, right , talk after a meeting on gun legislation Tuesday.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Vermont’s top elected officials have vowed to move ahead with new restrictions on gun ownership, but a debate between the House and Senate this week shows that finding consensus on firearms legislation will be easier said than done.

Nearly 1,000 people showed up at the Statehouse Tuesday evening to argue for and against proposed legislation that would allow police to temporarily remove guns from someone arrested or cited for domestic violence.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

In the latest testament to the enduring salience of the politics of firearms in Vermont, nearly 1,000 people turned out at a public hearing in the Statehouse Tuesday evening to offer impassioned arguments for — and against — proposed gun legislation.

The Vermont House has voted to prohibit the holding of "coyote killing" tournaments
Toby Talbot / Associated Press File

A plan to legalize the personal possession of small amounts of marijuana cleared an important hurdle Thursday evening when the Vermont House gave its approval to the legislation by a vote of 81 to 63.

A marijuana plant.
La_Corivo / iStock.com

Gov. Phil Scott says he’s about to convene a “blue ribbon commission” to study issues related to the legalization of marijuana.

Sen. Patrick Leahy is backing efforts to release long held documents relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Sen. Patrick Leahy is leading an effort in the U.S. Senate to prevent the Trump Administration from cracking down on states that have legalized the use of medical marijuana.

Ladybug crawls on a marijuana plant in Seattle on June 25, 2014.
Ted S. Warren / Associated Press File

Backers of a new marijuana legalization bill say they’re very disappointed that many members of the House Republican caucus and a number of Democrats voted to block consideration of the legislation in Wednesday’s veto session.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

Backers of a compromise plan to legalize the recreational use of marijuana to have a proposal ready for lawmakers to consider when a special veto session begins on June 21. But they're concerned that no action will take place.

Brennan Linsley / AP

The Vermont Senate has resurrected a bill that would legalize possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana, but it’s unclear whether the late-session compromise measure has the support needed to pass in the House.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

In a unanimous 30-0 vote, the Vermont Senate has advanced legislation that's designed to blunt part of the impact of new immigration policies of the Trump Administration. 

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Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

A push by the State Board of Education to expand the special-education obligations of independent schools across Vermont has earned it some new enemies in Montpelier, and proposed legislation that would strip the 11-person panel of its century-old role in setting education policy.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

A renewed effort to require universal background checks for all gun sales in Vermont is beginning to encounter some of the same resistance that thwarted a similar push two years ago.

JJRD / iStock.com

More than 2,000 people in Vermont are enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana registry, but some lawmakers say many eligible patients still have trouble obtaining medical cannabis.

Proposed legislation would lower some of the barriers to access.

Trevor Smith / iStock.com

Two key lawmakers say they plan to resume the push to legalize cannabis in Vermont, but Governor-elect Phil Scott is urging them not to waste their time on the measure.

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