Gun legislation bills have topped the Senate
It would seem that over the past couple weeks the Senate has done nothing but deal with the issue of guns. While we have indeed passed some gun legislation bills we have done other things as well.
Here are the gun bills that have passed. H.422 allows firearms to be seized at the site of domestic violence with a required arraignment within 24 hours. This both protects the victim and honors due process. S.221 is referred to as an extreme risk order. It allows seizure of weapons for up to 14 days if the person is considered at harm to self or others. Then there is the controversial S55. This creates a procedure for the disposition of firearms currently stored by the state treasurer. It also mandates background checks for all sales and prohibits sales to those under 21 with exemptions for military, law enforcement, and hunters. It also prohibits bump stocks and magazines with rounds over 30. This was very controversial. I voted for the bill and am happy to talk with anyone who would like.
But we have also been doing a lot that has received very little attention. Here are just a few issues that have been addressed over the last week or so. The licensing and enforcement of professional standards of law enforcement officers has been transferred to Office of Professional Regulation, thus dealing with law enforcement as we do with all other professionals.
We have created a child fatality review team that will review all child fatalities, not with judgement in mind but rather to consider what might have been handled differently to avoid this tragedy. We have a similar one for adult fatalities, domestic violence fatalities, and major issues at hospitals.
Along with 29 other states we have adopted the Honor and Remember Flag which is meant to honor all those who have served in the armed forces over the years. It is similar to the POW/MIA flag and will be flown according to protocol adopted by the Department of Buildings and General Services.
We have prohibited the flying of drones within a certain distance of correctional facilities. Lately there have been a number of incidents over prisons. They could involve contraband, surveillance, etc. Each time this happens it requires a lockdown and countless staff hours. This is done for the safety of the prisons and the prisoners.
We have also made it easier and safer to get an after-hours relief-from-abuse order. This usually happens in a domestic assault case and we need to make sure the victim can have a safe place to meet with an advocate and law enforcement.
Another issue that has been brought up over the years is the “lost nickels.” Every time you put down a nickel deposit on a bottle, that nickel sits there waiting for you to come retrieve it. But many people never retrieve them so they are considered “lost.” Of course they are not lost and just revert to the distributors or manufacturers. Now they will be considered abandoned property and will revert to the state. It may seem like a small thing, after all we are talking about nickels, but it amounts to a couple million dollars a year. This is much revenue for the state and really belongs to each of us anyway.
We have tried to address the issue of remote workers. Those are folks whose jobs are elsewhere but could be done from here in Vermont. The bill passed would give tax credits for certain people who actually locate here to work, thus increasing the revenue to the state by income tax, sales tax, investment in our communities, and adding to our population with much needed people in the work age category.
There are more issues that we have been dealing with that seem to receive no attention but are nevertheless important. And those that have been mentioned are much more complex than I have reported here. But I felt that it is important to inform you that, despite what you read and hear, we have been busy doing other things than guns.
Remember to continue to contact us. I read all the messages I get. It sometimes takes me a long time to respond because of limited time but I do read them and take them into account. The same with phone messages. And if you want to come to the Statehouse for a visit let me know. I love seeing folks up there. If I know ahead of time I can try to make time to visit. Sometimes it just doesn’t work because of our schedules but I will try.
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org (this address is the same for all legislators - first initial and last name) or (802) 387-4379.