HOUSE ENTERS FINAL WEEK OF THE 2017 LEGISLATIVE SESSION
May 1, 2017
Contact: Katherine Levasseur (802) 828-2245 or KLevasseur@leg.state.vt.us
Ethics Legislation, Medical Marijuana, and Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Debated
Montpelier, VT - Among other critical legislation today, the House passed a resolution calling on Vermonters to denounce hatred and to support and respect marginalized communities. Vermont has a proud motto of “freedom and unity.” The resolution is designed to uphold this tradition and encouraged the General Assembly to protect and preserve laws that foster equality among all persons. The resolution passed on a vote of 134-7.
The House gave preliminary approval to ethics legislation today as well. The bill debated on the floor establishes a State Ethics Commission and standards of governmental ethical conduct. “In a time of ethical uncertainty in government, it is critical that we increase transparency and ensure that Vermonters have a full picture of who represents them,” said House Government Operations Chair, Maida Townsend. “This bill is a step forward and will provide clear guidelines for legislators and executive officers.”
Today the House also preliminarily approved a bill expanding patient access to Vermont’s Medical Marijuana Registry. This bill eliminates the requirement that patients, when referred to a specialist by their health care provider, would have a three-month professional relationship with the specialist as well. Three additional diseases were added to the "qualifying conditions" and, subject to meeting the criteria will allow up to 8 more dispensaries in the State. "Many Vermonters benefit from the using cannabis in managing their symptoms. These carefully crafted changes will allow them to get the relief they need from their debilitating disease,” said House Human Services Chair, Ann Pugh.
The Legislature is moving forward with the goal of adjournment this week. “We are prioritizing legislation that ensures Vermonters are on the path forward to a healthy future and strong economy,” noted House Speaker Mitzi Johnson. “Tomorrow, we will be taking up paid family leave insurance and the economic development bill. Paid family leave is a crucial insurance plan for Vermonters. This bill will bridge the economic gap new parents and caretakers of elderly parents face when they are forced to choose between caring for a new child or a loved one and earning a paycheck. S.135, the economic development bill, contains important economic development legislation to build a strong future, including voluntary retirement savings mechanisms and downtown infrastructure and community development tools.”