Brian Collamore

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Rutland Senate delegation introduces Scott education plan

Sen. Peg Flory

MONTPELIER — Rutland County’s three-person Senate delegation has introduced legislation that would codify into law the far-reaching education reforms Gov. Phil Scott proposed in his budget address Tuesday. The three Republican senators — Peg Flory, Kevin Mullin and Brian Collamore — were sought out by Scott ahead of his budget address, according to Flory. “Gov. Scott reached out to us … sometime last week and explained that he was going to be making a proposal that would need some legislation,” she said Wednesday. “So we had legislative counsel draft it and we agreed to sponsor it for him.”

Scott surprised many when he called Tuesday for lawmakers to pass legislation that would require teachers to pay at least 20 percent of their health care insurance premiums. That would put them on equal footing with state employees, and close to workers in the private sector. But health care costs are typically part of the collective bargaining process between local school boards and teachers’ unions. Continue Reading →

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Marijuana bill close to completion

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MONTPELIER — A Senate committee is completing its deliberations on a bill outlining how marijuana legalization would work, but at least two lawmakers say they will not add their names to the bill. The Senate Government Operations Committee has been studying the issue of marijuana legalization, forgoing the question of whether it should happen and instead asking how it would work. Now, lawmakers are putting their final touches on a bill that will come not from the committee itself, but will be sponsored by committee members who support the bill’s goals. “The bill will not be a committee bill but will be sponsored by some of us,” wrote committee Chairwoman Jeanette White, D-Windham, in an email, in which she said the bill must be completed to go to the printer by Friday. “At that time it is given a number and is an official bill,” White said. “It will be on the floor for first reading (introduction) when we come back. It will go directly to Judiciary.”

It will be the task of the Senate Judiciary Committee to review both this bill and the one offered during the last legislative session by Sen. David Zuckerman, P/D-Chittenden, which proposes the legalization and taxation of marijuana. Continue Reading →

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Toxins debate reignited in Senate

MONTPELIER — A host of industry representatives are pushing back against language inserted into a Senate health care bill late last week that would alter a 1-year-old law that looks to regulate toxic products in commercial products. The Senate Health and Welfare Committee heard testimony from several people Wednesday looking to scrap the language added to S.139 on Friday. It would make changes to Act 188, which was signed into law last year by Gov. Peter Shumlin following an arduous back-and-forth process that was finalized in the waning hours of the previous biennium. The law created a reporting mechanism for manufacturers that use certain chemicals in children’s products. Beginning in July of next year manufacturers that use chemicals designated by the state as “chemicals of high concern to children” must disclose information about those chemicals to the Department of Health. Continue Reading →

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