Keith Flynn

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Story & Video: Shumlin and Sears outline bill to “cautiously and deliberately” legalize pot

https://youtu.be/Vx5grntvLI8

MONTPELIER — Gov. Peter Shumlin and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Sears announced legislation Tuesday to “cautiously and deliberately legalize marijuana in Vermont.”

Shumlin said the “war on drugs” had failed when it came to marijuana prohibition. “The black market is failing Vermont. When you have 80,000 Vermonters who admitted to buying pot … every single month in the last year, and you can assume that since it’s illegal that number is higher, you know we’ve got a problem to solve,” the governor said a State House news conference Tuesday, flanked by Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn and Sears, D-Bennington. Shumlin called for the legalization of marijuana in his State of the State address earlier this month, with some conditions, including:
— A legal market must keep marijuana and other drugs out of the hands of underage kids. With 83 percent of Vermont youth saying that marijuana is easy or somewhat easy to obtain, the current system doesn’t do this. Continue Reading →

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Lawmakers take on privacy issues

MONTPELIER — How much privacy should Vermonters expect in a world brimming with new technology? The Senate Judiciary Committee is trying to determine exactly that. The committee held the first of four pre-session hearings Tuesday to consider an omnibus privacy bill that addresses four major privacy concerns and could include more by the time lawmakers finish their work. The bill, S.18, looks to regulate the use of drones and license plate readers by law enforcement, and to require police to obtain warrants before a company can release electronic data. It also looks to establish “a private right of action” for people whose health care records are improperly released. Continue Reading →

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State officials address security of state workers

MONTPELIER — Threats against Department for Children and Families have spiked since the killing last month of a social worker, state officials told a legislative committee Friday, as the Agency of Human Services and DCF work to boost security measures for employees. DCF Commissioner Ken Schatz told the Joint Legislative Child Protection Oversight Committee Friday that 17 threats have been made against his staff since 48-year-old Lara Sobel was gunned down outside her office building in Barre on Aug. 7. The alleged killer, Jody Herring, 40, has also been charged with murdering three family members in the killing spree that law enforcement officials say was driven by a custody dispute Herring had with the state. Schatz said 16 of the threats since Sobel’s death have been made against family services workers while one was made to a worker in the department’s economic services division. Continue Reading →

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Dispatch centers get temporary reprieve

MONTPELIER — Emergency dispatch centers in Rutland and Derby will get a temporary reprieve from the chopping block in the state budget approved Monday by the House Appropriations Committee. Gov. Peter Shumlin proposed in his recommended budget that two of the state’s four public safety answering points be closed and operations consolidated with the remaining two in Williston and Rockingham. The plan, according to the administration, saves $1.7 million annually and would eliminate about 15 of the state’s 71 full-time and 33 temporary emergency dispatchers. Facing a $113 million gap in the 2016 fiscal year budget, the administration has insisted the consolidation is necessary to help reduce spending in the budget. But the House Appropriations Committee sought a way to keep all four dispatch centers open, even temporarily, following strong push back from the Vermont State Employees Association and first responders from around the state. Continue Reading →

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Vermont delegation heads to Colorado for pot fact-finding

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Senior Vermont law enforcement officials and others are planning a fact-finding trip to Colorado next week to look at that state’s experience with marijuana legalization. Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn, Chitttenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan and pro- and anti-legalization advocates will be among those traveling to the Rocky Mountains. “Colorado was the first state to legalize marijuana, and we want to see the impacts of that law.” Flynn said Friday. Continue Reading →

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