Pat Brennan

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House advances pot legalization

MONTPELIER — The Vermont House narrowly passed a marijuana legalization bill late Tuesday night after hours of debate, but the legislation is not expected to advance further this year. The bill. H.170, passed around 11:30 p.m. on a 74 to 68 vote, after two attempts to send it back to committee and several amendments aimed at weakening or delaying it. The bill allows for the legal possession of up to 1 ounce of dry marijuana and the cultivation of up to two mature marijuana plants and four immature plants. The vote was a victory for proponents of legalization, but the legislation is not expected to advance beyond the House this year. Continue Reading →

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Shumlin administration proposes new gas tax, says it’s open to suggestions

Saying it’s still open to other options, the Shumlin administration this afternoon unveiled its plan to raise $36.5 million in new revenue for upkeep of roads and bridges. It’s a little complicated, but the proposal calls for an increase in one gas tax, a decrease in another, and a $9 million bond that would be paid for by an existing revenue stream. A new, 4-percent tax on the retail price of gasoline would raise about $43.5 million in new revenue. The administration then would cut the existing 19-cent per gallon gas tax down to 14.3 cents, which would cost the state about $15.5 million in revenue. The $28 million in net new revenue, when combined with the $9 million bond, would raise the money that Transportation Secretary Brian Searles says is needed to maximize federal matching funds. Continue Reading →

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