Peg Flory

Recent Posts

Senate passes marijuana legalization bill with tax-and-regulate language

MONTPELIER — The Vermont Senate, frustrated by inaction in the House and hoping to apply pressure on the chamber down the hall, advanced a seed-to-sale marijuana legalization bill Friday by a veto-proof margin. The action in the Senate Friday was no surprise — members of the Senate Judiciary Committee announced Wednesday a plan to amend a House bill to include language creating a tax-and-regulate legal marijuana market in Vermont. After clearing procedural hurdles, the effort prevailed on a 21 to 9 vote — large enough to override a potential veto by Republican Gov. Phil Scott. Sen. Jeanette White, D-Windham, was the lead sponsor of the amendment that mimics legislation passed last year by the Senate, but failed spectacularly in the House. Members of the Senate were expecting the House to pass its own version of marijuana legalization this year, but that effort stalled when the bill made it to the House only to be jettisoned by Democratic leaders in the House back to committee because it lacked the votes to pass. Continue Reading →

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Rutland Senate delegation introduces Scott education plan

MONTPELIER — Rutland County’s three-person Senate delegation has introduced legislation that would codify into law the far-reaching education reforms Gov. Phil Scott proposed in his budget address Tuesday. The three Republican senators — Peg Flory, Kevin Mullin and Brian Collamore — were sought out by Scott ahead of his budget address, according to Flory. “Gov. Scott reached out to us … sometime last week and explained that he was going to be making a proposal that would need some legislation,” she said Wednesday. “So we had legislative counsel draft it and we agreed to sponsor it for him.”

Scott surprised many when he called Tuesday for lawmakers to pass legislation that would require teachers to pay at least 20 percent of their health care insurance premiums. That would put them on equal footing with state employees, and close to workers in the private sector. But health care costs are typically part of the collective bargaining process between local school boards and teachers’ unions. Continue Reading →

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Senate votes to suspend McAllister

MONTPELIER — The Vermont Senate voted 20 to 10 Wednesday afternoon in an unprecedented vote to suspend Sen. Norm McAllister until criminal charges pending against him for sexual assault are resolved. “Nobody knows more than me the seriousness of these charges, these allegations. I’ve got people who want to put me in prison for the rest of my life. I’m very much aware what is at stake,” McAllister told his colleagues on the Senate floor before they voted to oust him. The historic vote came after more than an hour of discussion on the Senate floor, mostly by Senate Majority Leader Philip Baruth, D-Chittenden, and Republican Rutland County Sen. Peg Flory, a close friend and ally of McAllister. Continue Reading →

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Story +Video: Rules Committee advances resolution to suspend McAllister

https://youtu.be/p-nMag-n0K0

MONTPELIER — The Senate Rules Committee voted Wednesday in favor of sending a resolution seeking the suspension of Franklin County Sen. Norm McAllister, who is charged with several sex crimes, to the full Senate next month. The 3 to 2 vote on the suspension resolution offered by Sen. Philip Baruth, D-Chittenden, came after the panel rejected another resolution from Sen. Peg Flory, R-Rutland, on a 4 to 1 vote, that would have amended the Senate’s rules to prevent it from acting in any manner until any pending felony charges are settled in court. McAllister, if suspended under the resolution, would continue to receive his pay because it is constitutionally protected unless he is expelled, Baruth said. Sens. Baruth, Joe Benning, R-Caledonia, and John Campbell, D-Windsor, voted in favor of the suspension resolution. Continue Reading →

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Senate crafts plan to oust McAllister

MONTPELIER — State Senate officials are developing a process to oust embattled Franklin County Republican Sen. Norm McAllister in case he does not resign before the legislative session starts in January. McAllister, 64, was arrested at the State House in May and stands accused of sexually assaulting three women, including a legislative intern who was allegedly as young as 16 at the time. He has pleaded not guilty to three felony and three misdemeanor charges, and his criminal case is pending. In an interview published last week in Seven Days, McAllister adamantly denied the charges and indicated he will not resign. That entrenched position is not sitting well with Senate Minority Leader Joe Benning. Continue Reading →

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Lt. gov casts vote, helps kill changes to law regulating chemicals

MONTPELIER — Lt. Gov. Phil Scott cast a rare vote in the Senate Thursday to break a tie and kill off proposed changes to legislation passed last year that allows the state to regulate “chemicals of concern to children.”

Scott, a Republican, said he has cast fewer than six votes in the Senate since taking office in 2010. The state’s constitution requires the lieutenant governor, the presiding officer of the Senate, to vote when there is a tie. The Senate Health and Welfare Committee was proposing to make changes to Act 188, which passed last year. The law created a reporting mechanism for manufacturers that use certain chemicals in children’s products. Beginning in July of next year, manufacturers that use chemicals designated by the state as “chemicals of high concern to children” must disclose information about those chemicals to the Department of Health. Continue Reading →

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Senate fends off effort to repeal aid-in-dying law

MONTPELIER — The Senate gave preliminary approval Wednesday to legislation that prevents safeguards in the state’s aid-in-dying law from expiring after fending off a spirited attempt to repeal the 2013 law that allows terminal patients to obtain lethal medication to end their lives. Under the current law, patients who want to obtain lethal medication must be a Vermont resident and have a terminal diagnosis with a prognosis, according to two doctors, of less than six months to live. A doctor must also find that the patient has the capacity to make the decision to obtain the medication voluntarily. And, the patient must make two oral requests at least 15 days apart followed by a written request with two witnesses attesting that the request was made voluntarily. But those steps, based on a landmark Oregon law, are set to expire in July 2016 if the law is not amended. Continue Reading →

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Towns receive millions in federal community development money

 MONTPELIER — Thirteen municipalities in Vermont will share in more than $4 million in federal dollars to provide economic development, low-income housing and recovery from Tropical Storm Irene. Wednesday, Gov. Peter Shumlin announced nearly $4.3 million in grants ranging from $19,000 to $850,000 from the state’s Agency of Commerce and Community Development. The grants are funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant Program. “Spring is coming and soon these grants will lead to construction projects across state that will help improve communities, grow jobs and spur economic growth,” Shumlin said. “From Lyndon to Wilmington, these projects will help our small towns complete disaster recovery projects, create more affordable housing and further develop their communities.”

“While targeted to the needs of lower income Vermonters, these projects will benefit their towns in many ways and for years to come,” said Patricia Moulton, secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. Continue Reading →

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Republicans react to budget address

MONTPELIER – Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin’s budget address Thursday drew both praise and criticism from lawmakers on the other side of the aisle. Republican legislators praised initiatives that they claimed to be their own, while continuing to hammer Shumlin on the budget and the nearly $100 million shortfall. Senate Minority Leader Joe Benning, R-Caledonia, took issue with raising the payroll tax as a method to leverage more money for Medicaid. “We’re in a really tough budget year. Everybody knows that, so when you hear a budget that is still relying on federal money, is still relying on another tax, that becomes problematic to me,” Benning said. Continue Reading →

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