HOUSE PASSES TWO BILLS THAT PROVIDE PROTECTIONS FOR VULNERABLE VERMONTERS

23 March 2017

March 22, 2017

Contact: Katherine Levasseur (802) 828-2245 or klevasseur@leg.state.vt.us

Montpelier, VT - This week, the House approved legislation that establishes critical protections for Vermonters. These two bills are an important step forward in ensuring our state has healthy communities and a prosperous future.

H.422 passed on a vote of 78-60. This domestic violence prevention bill requires law enforcement officers to confiscate dangerous or deadly weapons from persons arrested or cited for domestic assault.

Victims of domestic violence are most vulnerable to abuse during the period following arrest or citation. The bill addresses these critical safety concerns in order to decrease the possibility of harm or fatality to a victim.

“This bill is designed to provide immediate relief to victims of domestic violence” said Representative Chip Conquest, Vice Chair of the House Judiciary Committee. “It is a safety measure for the officer and victims. This is a strong step toward ensuring victims of domestic violence are safe.” By restricting abusers’ access to weapons, the passage of H.422 sends a clear message that the House is committed to protecting victims of domestic assault and reducing domestic violence related homicides.

The House passed H.136 on Wednesday with a vote of 97-44. The bill requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on employers. These accommodations may be as small as allowing an employee to sit during a long shift or providing an extra bathroom break, but they will have a huge impact on the employee’s well-being.

Representative Tommy Walz, a member of the House Committee on General, Housing, and Military Affairs, explained: “This bill is a common sense proposal that protects Vermonters at their workplaces. It is designed to ensure employees are healthy and safe as they engage in their jobs.”

These actions by the House support the security and safety of some of Vermont’s most vulnerable individuals. “Both of these bills will protect Vermonters and ensure that Vermonters maintain a high quality of life. By protecting workers and victims of domestic violence, we are working to strengthen our communities and build a healthy future for Vermonters” said House Speaker Mitzi Johnson.

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