Diane Snelling

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Snelling resigns from Senate to head Natural Resources Board

MONTPELIER — Chittenden County Republican Sen. Diane Snelling is resigning from the body to become chairwoman of the Natural Resources Board, Gov. Peter Shumlin announced Tuesday morning. Snelling, who has served in the Senate since being appointed in 2002 to replace a seat vacated by her mother, will replace Jon Groveman on the board. “I am proud to appoint Senator Snelling to this position,” Shumlin said. “Her deep policy knowledge of Act 250 as well as her well-deserved reputation for being thoughtful and non-partisan make her an ideal candidate for this position.”

Snelling’s work in the Senate has involved work on clean water initiatives and shore land protection. She has served on the Senate Natural Resources Committee. Continue Reading →

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Senate approves marijuana legalization

MONTPELIER — Senators made it easier for the little guy to break into the cultivation business when they gave their final approval to marijuana legalization. By a vote of 17 to 12 Thursday afternoon, the Senate approved what has been arguably been the most debated bill of this legislative session, and in doing so, sends it on to House for further discussion. “It’s a relief for me to have it out of the Senate,” said Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and someone who became an unlikely advocate for legalization. Sears thanked his fellow lawmakers, including colleagues such as Sens. Jane Kitchel, D-Caledonia, and Diane Snelling, R-Chittenden, both of whom voted for the bill while in committee despite their opposition, which allowed the bill to come to the Senate floor for debate. Continue Reading →

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Marijuana bill limps out of committee

MONTPELIER — The Senate’s marijuana legalization bill limped out of its final committee and will come up for a full vote this week. By a 4 to 3 vote Monday afternoon, The Senate Appropriations Committee gave its approval to S.241, which would permit the legal sale of marijuana in 2018. Vermont is looking at becoming the fifth state to legalize marijuana — following Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington — and would be the first state to do so through the legislative process rather than though a ballot initiative. To even get out of the committee — the third Senate Committee to review the bill since the start of the legislative session — required the affirmative vote of a Senator who said she will oppose the bill when it comes to the floor Wednesday. “I will vote yes to bring it to the floor, with a clear vote of no on the floor,” said Sen. Diane Snelling, R-Chittenden. Continue Reading →

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ATV use on state land rejected by legislative panel

MONTPELIER — A legislative panel has rejected a rule that would have allowed the limited use of all-terrain vehicles on some state lands. The Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules voted 5 to 3 Thursday to oppose a rule submitted by the Agency of Natural Resources to establish a connector trail on state-owned land in the town of Stockbridge. A majority of the committee agreed that the proposed rule is contrary to legislative intent, that ANR lacks the statutory authority to implement it and did not offer a complete economic impact study. The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources wrote a letter to LCAR questioning ANR’s authority to propose the rule under existing statute. Sen. Mark MacDonald, D-Orange, said relevant legislative committees should clarify statute before LCAR acts. Continue Reading →

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Barbara Snelling remembered

MONTPELIER – She left Vermont a better place than she found it. This was the overarching message offered at the State House on Friday during a celebration of the life of lieutenant governor, state senator and first lady Barbara Snelling, whose impact on Vermont can be felt not just in the field of politics, but also in education and philanthropy. “Today, I’m filled more with gratitude than sadness,” said Sen. Diane Snelling, R-Chittenden, one of Barbara Snelling’s four children, all of whom were at the memorial service. “She demonstrated that living life to the fullest involves risk, courage and grace.”

Snelling, who died Nov. 2 at the age of 87 at her home in South Burlington, was the wife of Richard Snelling, who was Vermont’s governor from 1977 to 1985, and again in 1991. Continue Reading →

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Barbara Snelling, former lieutenant governor, dies at 87

MONTPELIER — Former Republican Lt. Gov. Barbara Snelling, who was also a state senator and first lady of Vermont, died at the age of 87 on Monday at her home in South Burlington, surrounded by her family, according to her son. Snelling, who served as lieutenant governor from 1993 to 1997, was the state’s 76th lieutenant governor. She was also elected twice to the Vermont Senate beginning in 1998. Snelling, born Barbara Tuttle Weil in Fall River, Mass., on March 22, 1928, was married to former Republican Gov. Richard Snelling, who died in 1991, making Snelling Vermont’s First Lady from 1977 to 1985, and again in 1991 until her husband died later that year. She is the mother of Chittenden County Sen. Diane Snelling, and Mark Snelling, who ran for lieutenant governor in 2010. Continue Reading →

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Lawmakers look to retirement bonuses to save the state money

MONTPELIER — The Shumlin administration has proposed a retirement incentive package for state employees that could save the state $2.5 million, providing most of the retirees are not replaced. Monday morning, the Senate Appropriations Committee reviewed a proposal that would offer financial bonus to as many as 300 employees who are already eligible to retire, with the goal of leaving 75 percent of those positions vacant after the employees retire. The offer would be open to employees who are at least 62 years old and have put in at least 5 years of service; employees with at least 30 years of service; and employees whose age and years of service totals 87 or more. The proposal would pay employees who have worked at least 5 years and less than 15 years a bonus of $750 for every year worked. Employees who have 15 or more years would receive $1,000 for every year worked. Continue Reading →

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Senate passes Election Day registration, defeats ID requirement

MONTPELIER — The Senate passed an election day registration bill Wednesday after defeating an amendment that would have required voters using the provision to provide voter identification. The legislation, which passed on a voice vote, would allow residents to register to vote on the day of an election. Under current law, a person who wants to cast a vote on Election Day must be registered to vote by the previous Wednesday. Proponents said the bill will provide greater access to voting booths for Vermonters. “I am extremely grateful to the Senate for taking up and passing Election Day voter registration with overwhelming support. Continue Reading →

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Campbell wins uncontested race for pro tem

John Campbell’s biggest adversary just turned into his best friend. In a surprise move moments ago, Chittenden County Republican Diane Snelling withdrew her candidacy for Senate President Pro Tem and instead nominated her would-be rival John Campbell. “This may seem surprising to some, however I have been promised nothing more and nothing less than a fair and accountable process and productive Senate,” Snelling said on the floor of a packed Senate chamber. Snelling last year made little effort to veil her contempt for the chaotic scheduling and procedure blamed for casting the body into disarray. Campbell has apparently convinced her it won’t happen again. Continue Reading →

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House, Senate getting ready to kick off 2013

This year will feature plenty of contentious debates over things like the budget, health care, renewable energy and drug policy. But today will be more style than substance as lawmakers settle in for the rituals of the new biennium. The House chamber is already beginning to fill up in anticipation of the election of Shap Smith to a third term as Speaker of the House. Smith will then deliver a speech to the 150-person body before presiding over the swearing in of new members. The Senate ceremonies will go down in much the same way, though Senate President John Campbell faces a challenge for pro tem in the form of Republican Diane Snelling. Continue Reading →

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