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home : news : regional April 17, 2015

As Statehouse Starts, A Brief Bill Review
Nat Rudarakanchana

Only two days after the start of the legislative session, more than 40 draft bills have been filed, awaiting the next step -- introduction on the floor before passage to a committee -- in their arduous journey toward becoming law.

Some of the more substantive proposals include:

? A proposal by Sen. Tim Ashe, D/P-Burlington, mandating judges to consider the financial costs of sentences, via an expressly created database from the Corrections Department holding that information:

? Another Ashe proposal would create a database to track those convicted of abusing animals:

? A joint effort to regulate the use of automatic license plate readers, deployed by state police this summer and protested by the ACLU over privacy concerns:

? A bill proposing free school lunches for poor eligible Vermonters, rather than reduced price lunches, a measure specifically proposed by Gov. Peter Shumlin in his inaugural speech on Thursday:

? A bill introduced by Rep. Tony Klein, D-East Montpelier, requiring the Natural Resources Board to develop a statewide land use plan:

? A House effort to enforce harsher penalties on texting while driving, in the form of higher fines and increased driving record points:, which comes after the sentencing of 20-year-old Emma Vieria in a texting and driving court case.

Legislation on the quirkier end of the spectrum ranges from "an Act relating to the Governor's Snowmobile Council" to "an Act related to docking the tail of the bovine." The former adds an extra member to the governor's 14-member Snowmobile Council, while the latter bans cutting the tails of cows and other bovines, subject to a $2,000 fine or two years in jail.

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